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By challicew
We were asked to photograph a massive dance group last night. The lighting was horrific both for me and the videographer, although we were told the lighting guy was an expert!
I have put together a rather messy before and after. I tried playing around with saturations, hues, contrasts, colours etc etc and I am beyond myself! Thank goodness we have to photograph the same group (same lighting!!!!!!!) on Sunday night.
I desperately need some advice with settings maybe??? and/or processing????.
I was shooting from the gallery approx 20 meters from the stage (I could not get any closer due to the dance group + hundreds of spectators.
Lens - Canon 100-400
Camera set to "P", Auto WB, ISO 400
Flash - Canon 430ex speedlight -1/3

Other lenses I have are 28-300mm + 70-300mm. Also have a Sigma EF-500 DG super Flash. I use Paint shop pro X2

Much appreciated

Tags: General

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NickParry 15 1.0k 79 Wales
5 Sep 2008 11:28AM
Hi Challice,

I have shot many stage acts, and its not the easiest job. It does depend on the lighting technician as to what your end results will look like.

A few pointers,

1) Avoid flash at all times when photographing stage acts/performers. Reason being as the flash will kill the atmosphere created by the lighting that exists already

2) I always shoot at 800 -1600 ISO for the stage (particularly when photographing live acts)

3) Shutter speed needs to be 125 or more up to 250 possibly.

4) Where possible use f2.8 or f1.8 if you can.

Its trial and error really, but those are just a few pointers that may help.

challicew 13 1 1 South Africa
5 Sep 2008 12:00PM
Thanks Nick, will try this on Sunday!
StuartAt 16 1.1k 8 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2008 12:54PM
Something Nick hasn't mentioned there is white balance. You used auto, which can often be thrown by artificial lights. If you shoot RAW, you can change the WB in post processing and often this will sort out the colour cast from the lights.
challicew 13 1 1 South Africa
5 Sep 2008 1:06PM
Thanks Stuart, I'll check that out as well
woolybill1 Plus
14 38 78 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2008 1:34PM
I can't add to the above as I have no experience of using Paintshop; however, I would urge the use of RAW wherever possible due to the sheer amount of usable detail lost by jpegs - you can only manipulate evidence that is there and in-camera processing junks far too much useful data. Also using the fastest lens possible is tip-top advice.
Best of luck,
georg 16 4 South Africa
5 Sep 2008 3:15PM
saved some of the picture you did.
challicew 13 1 1 South Africa
5 Sep 2008 3:43PM
Thanks Bill,
chuckspics 14 14 United States
6 Sep 2008 12:47AM
worked it in psp x2 , tough working in dark stages,(ive also got a 40d) Chuck
banehawi Plus
17 2.5k 4253 Canada
7 Sep 2008 3:55PM
There are a few questions that need to be asked/answered first:

Are the subjects moving quickly?

How far from the stage are you?

What focal length will you use mostly?

Firstly, - you are using the Canon 100-400mm lens (I assume) which limits you to apertures of f/4.5 - f/5.6 at 400mm.

This pretty much means you have to use the max aperture all of the time, which for me, suggests you set the camera to Av, aperture priority, set to f/5.6, then set the ISO at 1600 and check how fast the shutter speed is, - it will be set by the camera according to the available light.

For a decent shot, at 100mm, it should be at least 1/150, and for 400mm it should be at least 1/600, otherwise the results may show movement wither by the subjects, or camera shake.
If your outside of this range then it would normally dictate a faster lens (f/2.8 for example), but that not an option.

If you are well inside this, try lowering the ISO to 800.

As above, shoot in RAW mode only, - it will allow you to adjust the White Balance afterward, so leave it at auto WB. You can also use a good noise reduction programme such as Noise Ninja to clean up.

Hope this is useful



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