As previously discussed, I do a lot of shooting for a local community theater. As I become more familiar and comfortable in the environment one of the things that I have an interest in doing – beyond simply documenting productions for the venue and doing their publicity shots – is to try to “capture the essence” of The Stage, even if this is small-time in a backwater Podunk.
For the theater’s current production (Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers”) the director asked me to take some shots of him that he could then use personally in a Facebook/web-page/portfolio. Therefore, prior to a dress-rehearsal I followed him around for a while to try to get some portraits and “directorial action” pictures featuring him. There were several that turned out and that I submitted for his use, but this is my personal favorite.
This is from a Canon 5DmkIII camera with a 50mm f1.4 lens (a nice lens for not too much money). Although I don’t usually use flash in the show run-throughs, I did put a Canon 580EX on the camera for this exercise. The flash was (uncharacteristically) set for ETTL/auto and a -1f flash ratio. I did this because I only wanted a little fill light and I wanted to avoid the harsh shadows that are so common with on-camera flash. The flash also used a small attached bounce-card rather than being bare and direct. The use of the fill-flash also allowed the tungsten stage-lights to show off their characteristic hue.
Another thing that I often do is to set my AF to use a single center AF-point. This lets me decide exactly where I want to focus to be; half-press and lock it in; and then re-compose and shoot. The problem with multi-point AF is that half the time the camera makes the wrong decision (usually selecting whatever is closest). This way I have complete control over what is happening.
Here also – for once – I have at least been able to “use” that goddamn stage scaffolding as a compositional element rather than have to shoot around it like I usually do in rehearsals.