A&P tips on shooting dance competition in low light?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by xenon supra, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. xenon supra

    xenon supra OT Supporter

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    My girlfriends little sister is going to be in a big dance competition this coming weekend and I want to go out and take some pictures.

    I took some last year but they didn't turn out all that great. Mainly because I had bought my D50 about 2 weeks before the competition and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Below are some pics from last year. What would you guys recommend I change (settings wise) to shoot it this year?

    The main thing I kept noticing was a problem was if I made the shutter speed faster the pic would be too dark. I didn't have an external flash last year, but I have one this year so that should help. Also, I'll be shooting with a 80-200 f2.8 (my dad is letting me borrow his) this year where as last year I was using the 18-55 kit lens.

    Also, even though the pics aren't big they are pretty noisy at full size.


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    EXIF was the same for all 3 pics:
    Exposure Time: 1/60 sec
    F-Number: f/5.6
    Exposure Program: Shutter Priority
    ISO Speed Rating: 800
    Lens Aperture: f/5.6
    Exposure Bias: 0 EV
    Metering Mode: Pattern
    Light Source: Unknown
    Flash: No Flash
    Focal Length: 55.00 mm
     
  2. wizeguy4

    wizeguy4 New Member

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    they let you use flash? When my daughter was in dance, flash was unacceptable.
     
  3. aCab

    aCab New Member

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    f/2.8 on that 80-200 will make a huge difference.
     
  4. aCab

    aCab New Member

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    Use manual mode too. Set the aperture to f/2.8 and meter for your shutter speed. If there are stage lights (which I assume there won't be) meter for the subject only, not the whole scene.
     
  5. IntheWorks

    IntheWorks windin film.. takin pics Moderator

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    shoot wide open... and try to get your SS up around 1/200 to freeze the action. Shoot @ ISO 1600 if you have to. Don't even think about using the flash.

    Here are a bunch of pics I took of my cousin playing annie in her school play last year(1st time shooting anything like this)... all w/ 10D 70-200 f/2.8IS and a 50 f/1.8 ISO varied between 800-1600

    http://www.evolvedphotography.com/annie/
     
  6. isaac86hatch

    isaac86hatch This thread sucks

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    sit right in the middle, those angles are terrible.
     
  7. xenon supra

    xenon supra OT Supporter

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    I don't remember them telling me I couldn't use it. Would a flash help or not? I thought it would even though I'm a good distance back from the stage.

    I'll definitely give that a try. Thanks.

    Its tough to shoot under these conditions. :hs:

    They don't let you, then you're blocking everyone else from watching it. I'll do my best to shoot as straight on as possible.

    Rent? No thanks, I'm just doing it for fun. the 200 f2.8 should be more than enough to get me the results I want.
     
  8. OlafBeserka

    OlafBeserka girls pee pee when they see me OT Supporter

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  9. phoenixTX

    phoenixTX New Member

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    You can't, the judges are usually right in front of the stage so you have to be up in the stands behind them, or off to one side or the other if you want to get close.
     
  10. phoenixTX

    phoenixTX New Member

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    My daughter is a competitive cheerleader (she's only 11, but there's no way in hell this could be discussed in the main forum :rolleyes: ) and I have to shoot her competitions in situations very similar to what xenon supra is describing.

    They usually restrict people from being down on the competition floor (except for coaches/trainers), so I'm stuck in the stands. The competitions are usually held in convention centers/basketball arenas, but with only a 1/4 of the lights that are used for basketball games.

    In an effort to garner more revenue for the event photography company, they ban video recording and they have started banning the use of tripods/monopods on still cameras. One competition had a sign stating "no telephoto lenses". WTF?

    I usually shoot at 1600 ISO in order to get my shutter speeds high enough to freeze any action. I'm too far away to use a flash and unfortunately I'm off at a not-so-optimal angle as in xenon's pics. I shoot plenty of pictures, but most (if not all) will suck. The wife wants pictures and she seems to like the few decent ones I capture, so I'll keep shooting.
     
  11. OlafBeserka

    OlafBeserka girls pee pee when they see me OT Supporter

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    ^^ I think that is completely retarded. Some monopoly type shit
     
  12. xenon supra

    xenon supra OT Supporter

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    My feelings exactly. I can actually get pretty close to the stage though, so as long as flashes are allowed I think I'll be okay. I hate shooting at anything above ISO 400, too much noise. :o
     
  13. JordanClarkson

    JordanClarkson OT Supporter

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    The dance competition that I'm shooting next month allows video and cameras, but you have to pay $20. I think that is better than simply banning all recordings. At least they get paid. I get to shoot for free though since I'm a student :)

    I will have my 85mm 1.8. The light is so low that I'm not sure if even ISO 3200 is enough. I want to get SS of 1/500, so I might underexpose and bump it in post, then downsize for web.
     
  14. wizeguy4

    wizeguy4 New Member

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    my child who did do dance now does cheerleading competition and I have the same issues. but we can still videotape but they will not allow us on the floor, even during only her squad is cheering. It really sucks and many photos are very dark. It is this that has sparked my interest in learning more about photography in the first place.

    Oh and I just want to say that if you have never been to a cheering competition, you will see some the weirdest parents known to man. Never have I seen more grown men dressed like cheerleaders in my life.
     
  15. tetsuo

    tetsuo And shepherds we shall be...

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    my daughter does dance competitions too, and so far none of them have been that bad (she's only 3 though:o ). but she also does beauty pageants, and those people are damn nazi's about cameras of any type being in the ballrooms. but that is only because they have a professional photographer/videographer in there and you have to buy the pictures and/or video.
     
  16. tenplanescrashing

    tenplanescrashing Active Member

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    you should be able to keep the settings pretty much the same as you had them the year before but put the camera in aperture priority and set it to 2.8 and you'll be golden. Your shutter will shoot a little faster so you'll get less, if any, blurring.
     
  17. xenon supra

    xenon supra OT Supporter

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    cool. thanks :bigok:
     
  18. xenon supra

    xenon supra OT Supporter

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    moar tips?
     
  19. adamlewis88

    adamlewis88 New Member

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    Shoot at 1600 if you need to. Properly exposed high ISO is almost always better than underexposed low ISO.

    Underexposure lends itself to noise.
     
  20. PEnGUiN188

    PEnGUiN188 New Member

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    I shot some cheerleader/dance thing like this once. It was for the venue so they let me do whatever I needed. I sat on the back of me feet in the center aisle with a monopod.

    They wouldn't let me use my flash, but everybody with a point and shoot was going nuts. I guess the 580ex is too strong or something.
     
  21. phoenixTX

    phoenixTX New Member

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    Most of the event photographers I've seen at these competitions have some pretty nice setups...


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    Apologies for the noisy, crap pictures... these were shot with my point and shoot.

    His main camera (and possibly the secondary on the tripod) were wired to a laptop sitting next to him. Pretty much as soon as the cheer routine was over, they had the pics on display on LCD's out in the lobby area.

    He also had a remote trigger for strobes that were set up in the stands. Two directly to each side of the stage and two at the back corners over his left and right shoulders. He would shoot and the whole place would light up. Made most of my shots come out like crap because I'd catch his flash and my shot would be completely blown out. Of course, his flash wasn't the only thing making my shots look bad ... I was doing just fine on my own :sadwavey:
     
  22. Spurious

    Spurious New Member

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    He should show up wearing a pedo bear suit one day.
     
  23. N-Word-Jim

    N-Word-Jim Cure for boredom

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    I shot the UDA national college dance comp in disney this year.

    1d mkIII w/ 85 f1.2

    iso 1000, 1/800 f1.4

    Like for gymnastics I'd keep my shutter over 1/640 and IMO 2.8 isn't fast enough.

    70-200 2.8 IS never went on, nor did 50, 35 or 135 primes

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008

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