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Tips on photographing a choir?

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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tips on photographing a choir?
    Posted: 20 April 2017 at 16:07
A friend of a friend asked me to photograph her choir during a performance. I did a search on here, Pentaxforums.com and FredMiranda.com but came up with close to nothing. I know I can do this (did three weddings, survived those) but would like some examples and advices. Anybody have any tips or good choir pictures?

It is a bigger (60-75 members) choir singing pop classics.
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
 



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Kilkry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kilkry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 17:38
If you've done weddings this is probably a platypus offering advice to Skynet but I'll chime in nevertheless.

I've done it only once and the most interesting shots were from rehearsal, where I could step on to the stage and among the choir members. Showtime had me confined to one side of the big stage. Indoors is probably going to be "dark" so I'd use two primes or a fast/stabilized zoom, "many people" shots (wide, close); "whole choir shots" (from range), individual performances (close, tele).

There was of course the other photographer, a Canon girl, who walked in, took an empty seat near the front, middle and shot for a few minutes with her 70-200, then walked out.

Mine turned out less than super but I liked the experience:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/39677670@N06/albums/72157677996979525





Edited by Kilkry - 20 April 2017 at 17:42
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 17:56
Thank you!

The venue has huge windows and the concert will be during the day - so, plenty of light thankfully. But less nice is that the choir will be in front of those windows. At least, that is what I expect from the few pictures I can find online.

It will be less formal then your concert, so, I hope I can move around easier.
A 70-200/2.8 would be nice, but alas, I don't have one - either the Beercan (stopped down to f/5.6), the 70-400G or a fast prime (85/100mm) - oh, did I mention that I have way too much cameras and lenses? That just makes it more complicated

"many people" shots (wide, close); "whole choir shots" (from range), individual performances (close, tele) sounds right, thank you.

Nothing wrong with your pictures and the pictures of the soloists are really good!
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
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pakodominguez View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pakodominguez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 18:46
Get the brand new A9 and use it in "silent mode"
;-)

Actually, look for a way to reduce the noise of the camera's shutter.
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www.pakodominguez.photo/blog
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 19:24
Unfortunately my A9 won't be delivered in time

Timing is everything, I'll trip the shutter when they're singing somewhat louder. Good point, didn't think about that - maybe I would've done that instinctively anyway, but it is good to be aware of it!
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
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Aavo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aavo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 19:55
Your friend is probably waithing from you great story recorded, so

- it is mandatory to get programme/scedule before perfomance and make acquaintanse with music and way it will be done, so find out the best can happen on the stage;
- to be ready for changes in programme, as/if maestro can do so;
- to visit rehearsal and hall before perfomance;
- to find positions for shooting higher than stage floor too, as 65-70 members means singing probably in 4 rows, min in 3 rows;
- to be ready for shooting the very last minutes choir is on the stage, as these can be the best moments of this day; probably from the corner of the stage.
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 20:40
Oh Aavo, you're so right about the rehearsal - but it is not gonna happen, so I have to improvise. I will ask for the program and inquire which songs will have soloists.

I think I'm able to photograph from higher up, so I will surely do that.
With your last sentence, you mean they will be (more) emotional at the end. Good point, really didn't think about that. I will be prepared when it happens!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aavo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 21:00
Originally posted by addy landzaat addy landzaat wrote:

With your last sentence, you mean they will be (more) emotional at the end. Good point, really didn't think about that. I will be prepared when it happens!

It is "common" that the last peaces and sometimes the very last peaces, not in the programme, are the best of the perfomance, and of course, the end of the great concert is always full of emotions, flowers, some "from funny to nice stupid presents and comments" and so on    
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nervus_opticus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 22:07
As you allued to a topic which is quite familiar to me - being a choir-singer myself for many years and having had the same duty of shooting a 'non-classical' choir just a few weeks ago - maybe here are some (hopefully) useful hints:

- Aavo's hints are perfectly appropriate and IMHO should be observed
- what is the purpose, they want the pictures for?
- if they want something for their next brochure, you should arrange a     shooting shortly before or after the concert: 'cheeeese' on every face is quite important and much nicer, rather then the opened mouths when they are all singing out loud and emphatically.
- Is there any stage-light available? If the choir is in fact performing before a front of windows, I think, you'll have a try-out-shooting, before it all begins, and probably there should your notebook within reach, just to control the results. Using a flash during a concert? IMHO definitely impossible.
- The sound of pop-singing-choirs of today's is usually amplified, so the 'click-clack' of cameras doesn't rally matter.
- As I still do not have a 'flickr' or whatsoever account, I'm sorry not being able to show some results, but here is my setup for the event: Before the concert, I made the 'cheeeeese' shots from monopod and/or handheld with the ILCE-7 and the Voigtländer 15mm (new) and the Sony/Zeiss 55mm. Only the WA-shots are sharp from the front to the third row of the choir.
- For shooting during the concert I looked out for a place in the central corridor, where a 50mm (FF) lens would cover the whole stage. Using two cameras on two tripods, I came along with a Nikon D610 and 50mm and 85mm primes and a SLT99V with the (good old) Min 200mm/2.8 for details.
- As they sang no pianissimo-church-music and as I sat quietly on my chair, I am hopeful, that my efforts weren't too disturbing for the audience...

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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 23:01
Originally posted by nervus_opticus nervus_opticus wrote:

As you allued to a topic which is quite familiar to me - being a choir-singer myself for many years and having had the same duty of shooting a 'non-classical' choir just a few weeks ago - maybe here are some (hopefully) useful hints:
Great, recent first hand experience!

- what is the purpose, they want the pictures for?
To document the event, their facebook and maybe press.
- if they want something for their next brochure, you should arrange a     shooting shortly before or after the concert: 'cheeeese' on every face is quite important and much nicer, rather then the opened mouths when they are all singing out loud and emphatically.
I'll discuss this.
- Is there any stage-light available? If the choir is in fact performing before a front of windows, I think, you'll have a try-out-shooting, before it all begins, and probably there should your notebook within reach, just to control the results. Using a flash during a concert? IMHO definitely impossible.
Thought about a flash, I don't think it makes sense. It complicates things when some pictures are with and others without flash. Also, I think the ceiling is too high to bounce, making flash even more troublesome. The windows look out on a patio with some limited sky to the north, I expect it not too problematic and think I'll manage.
- The sound of pop-singing-choirs of today's is usually amplified, so the 'click-clack' of cameras doesn't rally matter.
That was what I was thinking, unless it is a very quiet part it will be no problem.
- As I still do not have a 'flickr' or whatsoever account, I'm sorry not being able to show some results, but here is my setup for the event: Before the concert, I made the 'cheeeeese' shots from monopod and/or handheld with the ILCE-7 and the Voigtländer 15mm (new) and the Sony/Zeiss 55mm. Only the WA-shots are sharp from the front to the third row of the choir.
I was thinking about my Minolta 17-35G on my A900 or my 10-18 on my A6000.
- For shooting during the concert I looked out for a place in the central corridor, where a 50mm (FF) lens would cover the whole stage. Using two cameras on two tripods, I came along with a Nikon D610 and 50mm and 85mm primes and a SLT99V with the (good old) Min 200mm/2.8 for details.
Maybe my Minolta 100/2 on my A77m2 could play the part your 200/2.8G did. I was thinking my Minolta 28-70G for general shooting (as my CZ24-70 has broken )
- As they sang no pianissimo-church-music and as I sat quietly on my chair, I am hopeful, that my efforts weren't too disturbing for the audience...
Maybe not for the person next to you, but beyond that, for sure. If it is at all possible I would like to be able to move around, trying to be as unobtrusive possible. But also able to get some other angles.

Too bad you don't have pictures on-line as there are not many examples floating around.... Thank you for giving these insights!
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aavo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2017 at 06:19
I visited few weeks ago a new hall, where behing the stage is huge window. It is actually opened to the South! In winter sunny midday audience can see only siluets on the stage, as the sun is shining behing the performers, directly to audience eyes. What a hall! But there can be made some interesting shots.
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2017 at 07:06
Indeed, it is not just us, but everybody who will notice backlight. If we are good enough, we can play with it - especially if we can move around - but if you have to sit there with that sunlight right in your eye it is no fun.....
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aavo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2017 at 07:12
It is great, that moving photographers are commonly accepted :)
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2017 at 07:49
Originally posted by Aavo Aavo wrote:

It is great, that moving photographers are commonly accepted :)
Yes, the weddings of friend I photographed I was allowed to standing everywhere right on the action

For those wondering about the venue, from Google pictures:
https://goo.gl/images/oOb89V
https://goo.gl/images/okBSTa
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
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