OLIVER! Dress Rehearsal Shoot 6/13/2018 / by Jeremy Mudd

Oliver! Cast - Nikon D750 w/18.0-35.0 mm f/3.5-4.5 lens at f/5, ISO 640, 1/80th second

Last week I was privileged to shoot the Dress Rehearsal for “Oliver!” at the Veteran’s Park Amphitheater in Springfield, Ohio. The musical was part of the Springfield Arts Council’s Summer Arts Festival. As usual the cast, crew, lighting, costumes, and stage were all excellent! And it was FREE to the general public. If you’ve never taken the time to watch a show there I highly recommend you give it a try. A thank-you shout-out goes to Troy Berry for having me back to shoot again.

Following are a few select images from the performance. For anyone looking for someone to shoot your play/musical/theatre event, please feel free to contact me. I love the energy and feeling from being around great groups of creative people.

For those of you who are interested in a few tricks I’ve learned from shooting theatrical performances, please read on after the images.

Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney - Nikon D750 w/80-200mm f/2.8 lens at f/3.5, ISO 1400, 1/250th

Oliver - Nikon D750 w/80-200mm f/2.8 lens at f/3.5, ISO 1800, 1/250th

Nancy - Nikon D750 w/80-200mm f/2.8 lens at f/3.5, ISO 500, 1/250th

Nikon D750 w/80-200mm f/2.8 lens at f/3.5, ISO 720, 1/250th

Bill Sykes makes an appearance - Nikon D3 w/24.0-85.0 mm f/3.5-4.5 lens at f/4.2, ISO 640, 1/640th

Oliver and the Artful Dodger - Nikon D750 w/80-200mm lens at f/35., ISO 160, 1/250th

Striking a Pose - Nikon D750 w/80-200mm f/2.8 lens at f/3.5, ISO 400, 1/250th

Food Glorious Food - Nikon D3 w/24.0-85.0 mm f/3.5-4.5 lens at f/4.5, ISO 450, 1/125th

Fagin and His Gang - Nikon D750 w/80-200mm f/2.8 lens at f/3.5, ISO 100, 1/250th

Here are a few things I’ve learned from shooting theatre/musicals the last few years.

1.       KNOW YOUR SUBJECT – Whatever it is you are shooting, take the time to learn the plotline. If you can watch a pre-recorded version or read the script, it makes you better prepared to know when the important moments are happening. Better yet, if you have the time, go to a prior rehearsal a day or two before and take notes.

2.       HAVE A SECOND SHOOTER IF POSSIBLE – You can’t be everywhere at once during a performance; often times action is happening stage right while you are stage left, two things are happening at the same time, maybe one angle is better than another, etc. If that second shooter knows the plotline, that’s even better still.

3.       BRING THE RIGHT GEAR – I’ve found that I generally shoot with two bodies on me – one with a 24-70mm equivalent focal length lens and another with a 70-200mm equivalent focal length. Provided that you are down near the stage that combined range should cover you for most everything from wides with the entire cast to close-up intimate images. My second shooter generally will have a body with a mid-range zoom. Also remember to bring spare batteries and memory cards and have them on your person – the last thing you want to deal with is running out of battery or memory and running back to your bag or car during the performance.

4.       SET YOUR CAMERAS CORRECTLY BEFOREHAND – I ensure that all bodies being used are set to the same date and time, that way when I sort images later by shot date/time, they are all in order of the action on stage regardless of the camera they were shot on. I also set the white-balance the same for all as well. This is a personal thing, but I like to shoot in Manual mode with Auto-ISO set to max of 6400. That way I can vary the aperture and shutter speed depending on the action and what I am trying to accomplish with the image, and I let the camera move the ISO up and down. The bodies I shoot with look good up to that range; for older cameras that ceiling may be (much) lower.

5.       GET SOME IMAGES EDITED AND BACK TO THE CLIENT THE NEXT DAY – often times these are small productions that are trying to draw a crowd to the venue. Taking the time the next morning to edit a few choice images and getting them to the client via Google Docs or FTP allows them the ability to use in social media to promote the event. This is something that is greatly appreciated. After that you can take the time to get images edited and then give them the full quantity. I usually try to turn that around in a week or less if possible.

6.       HAVE FUN! – You’re there to provide a service, that’s correct, but if you allow yourself to have fun and enjoy the show, your images will probably show that and be better for it.

That’s it for now! If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to contact me at Jeremy.mudd@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!