One of my daughters decided to pick the activity that is most difficult for mom to photograph…seriously I thank her daily. She is on Varsity Cheer and Dance Company. Both, may I remind you are indoors, with weird sometimes non existent lighting, limited seating, and have rules about flash photography. Just lovely. Even though I am a professional photographer I sometimes just want to be a mom and not worry about my ISO or shutter speed. I just want to shoot the picture without thinking. That basically cannot happen when shooting cheer competitions or dance recitals. I still want quality photographs. I have some tricks up my sleeve for getting quality pictures when these events come up.
1. Always offer to work the dress rehearsals, chances are you just basically sit around and watch the whole show. I use this time to try to get as many pictures as I can while not having to worry about obstructing the view of the person behind me. You can move around wherever you need to go. All of the above pictures were taken during a tech rehearsal.
2. Capture candid moments. Now is your chance to get real life memories. The dance teacher giving out instructions, the kids getting ready, tired, goofy, is this almost over with? faces.
3. Practice now, so the night of the show you are ready! Best advice ever! Now you will know when the big leap is coming. You will now know what the best seat is for you to capture your pictures. You know what the lighting will be so you can practice your aperture and shutter speed. You will know what lenses you will need. You will be prepared!
4. Completely stuck? Now is the time to put your camera on auto snap a picture and look at the settings. Now you have a starting place to put your settings on and adjust from there. Really low light?? Bump up your ISO really high, check your shutter speed it has to be fast to capture the movement, adjust to the lowest aperture you can to allow the most light in.
5. Editing the pictures. If they are not in full costume, don’t worry! You can always edit your pictures to black and white or a sepia tone to give them a more classic look and feel.
You can take this concept and apply it to anything… Want to know why your child’s awards assemblies suck? Go check in during lunch and practice taking pictures in the MPR, worst case is you are going to have a lot of pictures of your child eating lunch! That’s not a bad thing! Wonder why you always miss your daughters soccer goal? Take your camera to her practice and practice taking pictures… you will get the hang of it soon! Practice makes perfect and that is no lie!