Dance Recitals

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by ChiSoxKeith, May 3, 2011.

  1. ChiSoxKeith

    ChiSoxKeith DIS Veteran

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    Anybody around here ever shoot dance recitals?

    DD4 is just starting into Ballet / Tap and has a recital in about a month. Obviously it will be indoors, and I can imagine that the lighting is going to be bad. Which means I'm going to need some faster glass than what I have.

    Canon 70-200 f/2.8 sound about right? I would have to rent it, as I'm in no position to purchase a $1500 (non IS) or $2300 (IS) lens right now.
     
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  3. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

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    Is it going to have stage lighting? I know some dance schools do and some don't. Ours does and since it's generally lit very well it lets me get away with slower lenses. I've found that I tend to use my 28-105 a lot at recitals. But then I'm a backstage mom and end up in the first row to catch my DD's dances. The first row, BTW, isn't as great as it sounds. At the auditorium we use the stage ends up cutting off the dancers feet if you're in the first couple of rows.

    The 70-200 f/2.8 should work very well. I've used my 75-300 elephant and made it work (with a Rebel XT) but it wasn't pretty.

    I've found that a lot of how fast a shutter speed you need depends on the dance. For a 4 year old in ballet and tap she'll be doing a whole lot of standing there while they shuffle step ball change or go though the ballet positions so you won't need as fast of a shutter speed as I do when my 10 year old dances all over the place.
     
  4. goopysolelady

    goopysolelady DIS Veteran

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    Shooting dance recitals is a "pain in the bu**"! :lmao: Lighting is always a problem as well as "movement"...especially those little 4 yr. olds! :rotfl2: Then you have the problem of "getting into position", without making a fool of yourself by standing right smack dab at the front of the stage and trying to not block other parents from viewing/shooting their children. Been through 2 DD's and 1 DGD and now, with the last DGD, am still not having much luck! I just take lots of shots and hope some of them turn out. :rotfl: Good luck! :tink:
     
  5. ChiSoxKeith

    ChiSoxKeith DIS Veteran

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    The recital is going to be at the local high school auditorium, so I have no idea what the lighting is going to be like. I imagine I will wind up stationed off to the side or the back.

    Thanks for the tips.
     
  6. Gianna'sPapa

    Gianna'sPapa DIS Veteran

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    This was a dance recital at Hemmens. They didn't allow the use of flash. This was taken with my kit 50-200mm at f5.6, ISO 1600, 1/90sec. It is slightly cropped and some minor PP including noise reduction. While not the best image ever, I think its usable. This was taken prior to my purchase of my 70-200 f2.8. With the extra stops I think you would be fine. If they allow flash then even a kit lens would work.

    [​IMG]
    Gianna Dance Recital by Gianna'sPapa, on Flickr

    Terry
     
  7. goopysolelady

    goopysolelady DIS Veteran

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    Ours is held in the high school auditorium also. Lighting is usually pretty harsh. Our auditorium has 2 aisles...usually try to find out which side most of "the action" is on and/or which side "my kid" is on and then try to get an aisle seat as close to front as possible. This gives me the opportunity to kneel in aisle or, if necessary, "sneak" closer to stage if another "obnoxious/pushy" :rotfl2: parent gets in my way! :lmao: I'm sure you have much better equipment than I do, so back may be your best bet...if you'll be able to zoom in on your "baby" without to much of a problem. Recitals are soooooooo much fun :yay:; those little girls/sometimes boys are so, so cute! But...can be very frustrating/sometimes disappointing for photographers. :tink:
     
  8. Bstanley

    Bstanley DisNoid

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    The 70-200 f4L IS ($1200, $650 non-IS) might work depending on how high you are willing to go with your ISO. It is really excellent at f4.

    It's also as massive as I am willing to go :-)
     
  9. Villainess

    Villainess Fantasy and reality often overlap - Walt Disney

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    Will the dance school allow photography at all? DD's school brings in a pro photographer and videographer so there is absolutely no photo or video during the performance. We are allowed, however, to take pictures and video at the dress rehearsal a few days prior.
     
  10. disneyboy2003

    disneyboy2003 DIS Veteran

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    Yes, you could spend the $$$$$ on a nice 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (after all, isn't your daughter worth it?). :)

    The other lenses you can consider are prime lenses (the ones that don't zoom). The advantage of some of the prime lenses are that many of them have larger apertures (smaller f-numbers), which will let more light into your camera.

    This is especially important for low-light situations (like the dance recital) so that you can use faster shutter speeds, too, to capture the action.

    Some primes to consider would be the 50mm f/1.4 lens, the 85mm f/1.8 lens, and/or the 100mm f/2 lens. Which lens you choose will depend on how far you think you'll be from "the action." All of these lenses have larger maximum aperture than the 70-200mm lens.
     
  11. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk DIS Veteran

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    I say buy the big lens. College is YEARS away, right? :rotfl2: And it's your money, not mine, so much easier to spend! :thumbsup2

    Just imagine all the different things you'll need it for through the years.

    I'm about to start the hunt for a lens to rent for high school graduation in 3 weeks. Man, if only I'd bought one when he was 4! See? I'd be all set!
     
  12. Daisy14'sDH

    Daisy14'sDH DIS Veteran

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    Ours is at a theatre, last year I shot solely with my 50 f1.4, after some trial and error, I found the sweetspot to be f2.8, ISO 800-1600, shutter speeds between 1/180 and 1/250. This gave me decent shots to work with in LR3, this year I have a 50-135 f2.8 to use and expect to use the same settings...
     
  13. Frantasmic

    Frantasmic *crickets* 2.0

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    location, location, location

    At recitals, just plan to get there 45 minutes early to stake out your picture taking spot.

    Then, go buy the 85mm or 100mm mentioned above. My 85mm is one of my fav lenses.
     
  14. MomToPirate&Princess

    MomToPirate&Princess Mouseketeer

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    Any tips for photographing recitals with a 35mm point and shoot. It is a good camera, but not DSLR good. It has a lot of settings that I have never taken advantage of because I'm never sure when to use them. I usually always just use the AUTO section. Since they won't allow flash photography all my pictures last year were too dark.
     
  15. tlhbdm

    tlhbdm 1354.40 miles away from the mouse

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    I normally shoot on the sports mode and tend to get pretty good shots, I'm going to try the 50mm f1.4 this year and see what happens.
     
  16. ChiSoxKeith

    ChiSoxKeith DIS Veteran

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    Thank you one and all for the tips!

    I will have to give a look at the 70-200 f/4 as another choice as well.
     
  17. pjacobi

    pjacobi DIS Veteran

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    In addition to the cash, you need lots of practice and skills to use such a lens in a challenging light situation. This is not something that can be accomplished 5 minutes before the event!


    -Paul
     
  18. ChiSoxKeith

    ChiSoxKeith DIS Veteran

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    Oh I know that. I've rented lenses before. I grabbed a 400mm f/2.8 to shoot HS football. Rented it for 10 days - went to practices during the week, shot the freshman, JV and Varsity games (2 each) during the 10 day period. It was a nice experience. Sure if I owned that lens and had it for the entire 4 year HS football career of my stepson, I think the shots would have been great, but it was a very fun experience and worth the treat to myself. The rental cost about $400 whereas buying the lens outright would have been close to $10k.
     
  19. Frantasmic

    Frantasmic *crickets* 2.0

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    Here are some ideas:

    Learn manual control. You will need to learn how to adjust your shutter, your aperture, and your iso. If you have decent ambient lighting, you should be able to get away with ISO 400-800. Just about any point and shoot is going to be very grainy above that.
     
  20. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk DIS Veteran

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    I'm just curious what suggestions anyone would have on using a lens like this. My son graduates from High School in a few weeks and we'll be in a pretty large venue. I have no idea where we will be sitting in relation to the stage. I was considering renting something like this.
     
  21. Gianna'sPapa

    Gianna'sPapa DIS Veteran

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    I own a 70-200 f2.8 and 100-300 f4. I didn't find the learning curve to be that steep. Just remember the photographic triangle and DOF you want to achieve. Do all lenses have their sweet spot, of course, but in a challenging light situation I'm not worried about that. You should already know which ISO's are best for your camera. If you have to push it further, oh well, better to have a noisy image than no image. You can always reduce noise through PP.
     

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