Experiences: School Sponsored “Nightclub”

Hello everybody, I’m here to tell you about a new thing that we will be testing out on the site! To mix up our posts a bit, I (Connor) will be posting about the photo shoots I go on and talking about what went right, what went wrong, and what I learned. If you like this post, please like it or comment so I will know to do more like this!

As some of you may know if you have read my bio page (that can be found right under the site banner), I am a photographer for my school’s daily paper. As such, I get sent out every week to take pictures of some pretty cool stuff! This week, I was instructed to go and take pictures at the student-union-turned-night-club to document the university efforts to provide healthy weekend alternatives to drinking.

Right off the bat, I knew that I needed to bring some fast glass with me and a flash so I grabbed my 35mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.4, and my SB-700. I can tell you now: if you are ever in a position where you need to shoot a low lighting event like this where there is dancing and you need a fast(ish) shutter speed (think weddings!!!) a flash is essential. The biggest challenge of this shoot was to find the right balance of flash power, ISO, and ambient light. The flash has a really unnatural tone of light (because I wasn’t using my filters), and I didn’t want to lose the “clubby” ambiance of the scene. In other words, I wanted blue or green or red lights and not only the light of my flash. Therefore, I used my flash as only a very weak fill light by bouncing it off of the walls with my white balance set to fluorescent (to make the tones more blue). It is important to know how to bounce lighting in a situation like this because direct lighting can result in pictures with blown out faces and dark backgrounds. After a little bit (think two and a half hours), more people finally started to show up and I could switch to a wide angle kit lens without having it look like I was taking a picture of an empty room. However, I hope you recognize the problem with using a kit lens: its low maximum aperture. I was not in the biggest of rooms but I didn’t want to use my flash, so I had to resort to good timing. For the shot below, I just waited behind the DJ for some strobe lights to flash and then started snapping pictures. For pictures like these, I highly recommend using live view and reaching your camera up places to get some cool perspectives. One final tip: always ask around to get to special places (i.e. – in the DJ booth). If people see your camera, they will often think you know what you’re doing and let you. Press passes help too. Now… if only there were more people!

Remember, like or comment if you want more of these! PS – I shoot sporting events a lot too if that would be better.

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