Theater photo shooting: Syna ci dceru?
My first ever theather play photo shoot

Theater photo shooting: Syna ci dceru?

Embark on a journey where photography meets theater! πŸ“ΈπŸŽ­ Discover the challenges and joys of capturing a play through my lens. A tale of growth, passion, and unexpected lessons.

Well, where do I start? This whole event was very spontaneous and I didn't know what to expect when I agreed to come and do the photo shoot. I wasn't very confident neither, but I knew that this was the opportunity that I've been waiting for, so I just went with the flow.

But let's go to the beginning of the story. I have mentioned few times to one of my colleague at work that I do photography as a hobby and that I would like to focus on portrait photography, what I didn't expect is that he also has a very interesting hobby, he's an actor and his group needs portrait headshots taken for one of their upcoming plays. What else would I want? Of course, I have accepted without asking for further details. We have agreed on the date and time and it was set.

Not really, after few days I realised what I agreed to and as I don't like to tackle things unprepared I started to study at least basics of portrait photography, I asked my co-worker, what kind of portraits they would need, but at the time he was not very specific, so I didn't know what to expect. Anyhow, this was also a good excuse to get a new toy. I went ahead and bought one missing piece of gear, a wide angle lens, well I didn't want anything crazy wide, but wide enough, so I opted for 35mm F1.4 Sony G Master lens.

Sony GM 35mm / F1.4

Fast forward to the day of photo shoot, I picked up the director at the train station on my way to the theater as it would save him some travel time. This was actually a very good opportunity and coincidence as I could talk to him, ask what they are looking for in the photos and most importantly I wanted to know what the play is about so I could also match that to the style of portraits they would expect.

Upon arrival to the theater, I get introduced to all the actors, I walk around the main stage, check the area and lightning it's your standard cultural center that almost every village in Slovakia has. The director shows me an example of poritrait photo that they would like to achieve, it's one of those old school portraits that used to be taken from the chest up at 45 degree angle. They want to have those photos in sepia to be as old school as possible for their posters. Without further ado we pick a place with nice backdrop and lighting and I begin to shoot.

After I finished all the headshots, it was actually very quick for the amount of actors that were there, I got asked, if I want to watch them as they perform the whole play. Obviously I was very interested as the play was exactly about what I love; females and good times and as I bonus I could take some nice candid pictures of the actors while gaining more and more experience with my camera.

break in between the play

I am very happy and grateful for the experience as it made me to start writing down photography problems I face during different types of photo shoots. I knew I would run into the white balance issue as there were multiple different types of lights lighting the stage, we had fluorescent lights which were casting cold blueish light, then we had those warm tungsten lights, I don't really know how to deal with this on set yet, so I just set the white balance to auto, but this creates too orange skin tones imho. Tho I know how to deal with that in the post processing, it's just adds more time to the post processing unfortunately.

Another observation or problem that I ran into was the shutter noise, I have never realised this as most of the time I shoot triathlon events where nobody cares about loud shutter sounds, but in the theater when the actors are acting, I can imagine it can be annoying or even disturbing. However there is easy fix to this, just switch to electronic shooter and be done with the problem.

Well I guess things are not so easy, because when I switched to electronic shutter, I have noticed that some of the photographs have these black horizontal lines, which are there because of LED lights lighting the stage, I have tried everything, anti-flicker setting on my camera, bumping up the shutter speed to over 1/60, lowering it down under 1/60, going back to mechanical shutter, yet still some of the photos have those lines. I am still not sure how to get rid of them

Overall I think I stayed there until late evening, watching the whole play, I liked how at the end of the play the director gave feedback to all the actors, regarding their performance, he really picked up things which I wouldn't even notice like the speed of how actors speak, how loud they speak and many other things.

I have managed to capture a lot of cool moments from the play, here are few of the pictures.