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Help with Nightclub photography!

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Tenthplanet, May 5, 2012.

  1. Tenthplanet

    Tenthplanet Active Member

    I work at a nightclub and our photographer quit, his photos were pretty standard pictures of people in the club nothing special, i am taking over the role for the weekend and would quite like my pictures to stand out. any tips i can use that would make a different photo?

    I will be using a Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lens and i have a speedlite if i need it but will have to be mounted on the hotshoe.

    Ive seen people use a technique which drags the light trails around in the background but keeps the subject sharp, im guessing by having a long shutter time but how do they keep the subject from not being blurred?

    Any tips will be awsome! thanks
  2. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member

    The main exposure for the subject comes from the flash, and this can be a very short exposure although the camera shutter is open for a longer time. The backgorund receives a lot less flash light and so it is realtively dark except for any light. Hence the light trails in the background. If you set the camera to "rear curtain flash" and a relatively slow shutter speed (in "S" Mode) (i.e. ~1/30 second) you should record those light trails and a blur to the subject superimposed on a sharp flash photo.

    You do need to experiment and take lots of photos to gain experience!
  3. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    WHS^. You will likely find that the autofocus will struggle in the conditions inside the club.
  4. LesleySM

    LesleySM Well-Known Member

    I'm basing my advice on gig shooting but I imagine nightclubs have certain similarities- your one bonus is no one will mind you using flash so red lights won't cause you to scream quite so much although flash under bright artificial lights can end up making the shot look almost as if it were taken under ordinary electric lights or just give it a weird look.

    I don't quite know what your position will be but if you're trying to shoot in a moving crowd here's one bit of advice that I very nearly learnt the hard way (but for a tough lens hood.....) it's nothing technical and I am probably telling you something you already know but....keep your neck strap on! Expect to get jogged at gigs if I don't have the protection of a shooting pit (and most of the bands I do I0 don't have that luxury) then I do a lot of high ISO/fast shutter shots because I expect to be bumped. If you see something you like then just keep firing (I forget the technical term but on a D3100 switch from the single shot position on the dial to the next along so as long as your finger is on the shutter it keeps taking shots) because people will move and you'll end up with what looks like an animated sequence of shots and one or two will have got it right.

    If you are working with people prepared to stand still then Bob's tip sounds good and I am going to give it a try although not at a gig unless I can find a musician or two prepared to stand still for more than a nanosecond (No one told me a tranquillizer gun was an essential part of a gig photo shooting kit)

    And from practical experience of a D3100 with that lens you will have to watch distance- I found it was a little short in range again I am not sure what the technical term is but within a month of getting my D3100 with that lens I got a 55-200 secondhand AF-S (At which point I thought "Now I have all the lens' I'll need" and some forumites reading this will now collapse in hysterical laughter)
  5. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    If you get to do the gig again, ditch the zoom and get a fast prime - it doesn't need to be super high quality F/0.95 or anything, just a compact equivalent of 28mm (in 35mm film terms), and a compact flashgun (don't have something like an SB900) with a diffuser - this means that you can carry it around all night, and when you do take a shot ther eis less chance of someoen bumping into a large flashgun and hearing that horrible crack as either the hotshoe or hotshoe adaptor gives up the ghost....

    Cropping to give portraits etc when using a short focal length in this situation is perfectly acceptable, so don't sweat the megapixies/magnification here - it is all about capturing the moment.
  6. LesleySM

    LesleySM Well-Known Member

    My main gig lens (as suggested by Jack) is a 50mm f1.8 Nikkor-although for gig work where I know distance will be a problem is a Tamron 90-105mm F2.8 macro- I've had some amazing shots using that since I got it and still haven't got to grips with the macro side of things (Guess I have to this month to get something for the competition)
  7. Tenthplanet

    Tenthplanet Active Member

    cheers for the advice guys ive literally just got in its quarter past 4 in the morning and im really happy with how the night went. I mainly used full auto for when people wanted there group photos done and played about in manual mode for crowd shots and podium stuff. ill post some pics when i get a chance but as you can understand sleep is what im going to do now.

    i even used the on camera flash which actually performed really well and just lit the subjects not the whole surroundings so you do get that they are in a nightclub.

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