We all have them, whether from our own childhood or from the momentous occasions in our children’s lives – the blurry, the dark, the overexposed, the grainy, the awkward photos. The ones where you say with frustration and dejection, “Aw, man! I missed it.” Different from the quality, heirloom pieces, created by a professional, that you hang on your walls and make into albums, every day life photography is a skill that any parent needs. In this day and age just about everyone has some sort of camera and it is common to hear the click of a shutter when a photo is snapped. This everyday practice is probably most notable during those life events that parents all too familiar with – The Dance Recital, The Birthday Party and The Sporting Event. Each of these events has its own unique set of circumstances and each require just a few notes on what you can do as a parent to capture those memories just a tad bit more skillfully and successfully. Photography is a skill and art that everyone can improve at with just a few tips.
Part 2 : The Dance Recital
Spring time is a common time for all things recital. Anytime you are in a dark auditorium or theater, these tips can apply. First and foremost, ask your studio about any policies they may have regarding photography at their live shows. Often, studios do not allow photography at the performance but may not have restrictions for the dress rehearsal. Many studios also hire a videographer to record and sell videos for a reasonable cost. Check to see what your studio’s plans and policies are to make your life and planning easier. On the day of the performance, try to sit halfway or a a quarter of the way from the front. Sitting right on front is too close and too elevated in line of sight for pleasing images. Once you are positioned, stay put! Moving around and trying to reposition during the performance is distracting and disrespectful to the other patrons and dancers. Because the space is low lit, try to wait until your child is holding a pose. Otherwise, you will only capture blur and motion. Due to the nature of the conditions, compact cameras will not produce well. A DSLR (Digital single-lens reflex) camera that is manufactured to accommodate low light situations where speed is needed, will allow for you to set a Higher ISO (image sensitivity), faster speeds, and even possibly video, depending on the camera make and model. Use a tripod. This helps with image stabilization and limiting motion blur. Use Shutter Priority (Tv) mode or Manual. Start at 1/160 sec. for your shutter speed and ISO 1600. Go up on the ISO if needed. Going less than 1/160 sec. will result in blur and motion and much less crisp images. NO FLASH!!!! Flash during a recital is dangerous and not permitted. Keep this mind with cellphones, as well. The LCD screen acts like a flash even when your camera flash is turned off. Turn off the volume and turn on the dimmer. You can best anticipate and plan for those “wow” moments like jumps and leaps by watching for bent knees. Zoom in using a long zoom lens and capture details like feet, hands, the face of your STAR. Look for technique images that feature straight lines in the arms and legs, clean poses, and special poses. Finally, remember that every moment of the show is not crucial for capturing. Take a few key shots and then remember to sit back and enjoy the show!