I love photographing corporate events. Believe it or not, one of my key motivators is overcoming obstacles that come my way.
In the example below, I scoped out the stage in advance and the room lights were on full power, but there was no stage lighting. When I returned later, the room lights were turned down making the stage really dark. Trust me, it was far darker than what the images below make it appear.
Take a look at a few tips that may help you do a better job photographing a poorly lit stage:
1) Know the ISO range or your camera
I don't mean know that it goes from 100 to 25,600 or higher but know when the noise (grain) kicks in to an unacceptable level. Although I prefer lower ISO's, I feel like my Canon 5D Mark III is pretty solid at 1600 ISO and even acceptable at 3200ISO. However, I wouldn't want to enlarge an image to poster size which is usually not what corporate event clients do. Oh, I can tell you that images at this ISO range look fine on a large screen because this client projected my images during the conference.
2) Use a tripod or monopod
It's rare that I shoot stage shots like you see in this post without using either a tripod or monopod. It's not uncommon for me to shoot a 1/30th of a second with my 70-200mm lens which is not ideal for handheld shooting. A monopod is easier to maneuver than a tripod but unless you have super steady hands, it's possible that it will rock a little. That's a key reason why I love using my MeFOTO RoadTrip Travel Tripod. It's not as large as my Manfrotto 055 Tripod and is easy to use around the perimeter of the audience.
3) Use a wired or wireless trigger
To avoid extra movement from my finger pressing the shutter release button, I often use a wired shutter release trigger that helps me avoid camera shake.
I get it. You may be having a lot of thoughts right now about ISO and it being too high or that a tripod is too much trouble or that a 1/30th of a second that you'll get motion blur if the subject moves. I completely understand which is why you have to gain experience to make all this work.
I zeroed in on the primary subject with a single focus point, had the camera on a tripod, used a wired shutter release and took numerous frames. However, I can honestly say that there was minimal focus and blur issues.
You will have to go out and test this for yourself and determine what's right for you. For me, I have a system that I like and that works.
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