My sister Lisa, of Lisa’s Eye View, shoots a lot of events. When the Centurylink Arena has an event, she’s usually the photographer. When the Dennis Miller show came up at the arena, she happened to already be booked at the Boise Music Festival. Wanting to not deny a great customer, she offered to let me take the photos for Lisa’s Eye View. I loved the opportunity and learned a bunch about shooting a stage event like that.
Bring a small flashlight. Once they kill the room lights for the show, it’s really hard to find your gear to change lenses or a fresh battery.
Shoot manual. I know how to shoot in manual, but I typically put faith in the camera’s brain to expose well. I had anticipated shooting in manual and letting Auto ISO choose the ISO for me. That wasn’t ideal either. With as dark as the environment was, the camera almost always jacked up the ISO and overexposed the subject.
You can’t properly expose the stage and the audience in one shot. Shooting raw allowed me to lighten the audience when they were dark, but the difference between the bright spotlights and dark audience was impossible to balance within a normal exposure.
My Canon 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II was perfectly capable for capturing the well lit stage. I stuck to the 50mm f/1.8 for most of the time to ensure I would get plenty of light, but I pulled out the longer lens at the end. I was pleasantly surprised how well it did at just 1600 ISO which is plenty clean on my T3i, and I was able to get much tighter shots of the subject.
On another note, I got a chance to talk to the opener, Heath Harmison. It’s awesome to see someone from Boise doing so well, and he killed it last night. His act was pretty clean, and I still had a hard time holding the camera still while laughing. Be sure to see him next time he’s playing here in town.
Thanks to Lisa for the opportunity and if you need an experienced event shooter, check out Lisa’s Eye View, if I’m not available that is. 🙂