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Photography Question 
Susan Plowe

How to Shoot at Plays and Recitals without a flash

One of my students have recently used Kodak 800 speed film in my Minolta Freedon Zoom 90 35mm camera to shoot a play, during the event and without a flash.
ALL of the photos came out blurry to the point of non-use.

Another of my students used his camera to take photos of a concert again with out a flash during the event. (Im not sure what the camera is....its pretty new-fangled and looks like a video camera on the outside. Again all of these photos came out blurry. He did take some other photos of a different situation that did come out ok.

What would cause this. We have to take pictures without flashes at productions for the yearbook. I am not sure if the film was old? or the students were not steady? or the camera settings were not correct - Im sure they wre on auto except for no flash. Please advise how we can take better photos with the correct filem and setting as we dont have the money to buy a new camera.


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11/6/2004 2:45:47 PM

Alex Cabrall   Well, for one thing, I would REALLY advise on NOT using that Kodak 800. If you really think you need ISO 800 (I wouldn't know how dark it is there), go with the Fuji equivilent (Even as a relative Kodak die-hard, I HATE their 800). What will really save the pics, however, is some form of support. A tripod WOULD be best, but they can be expensive and there may not be enough room to set it up. I would recomend a Monopod to solve your problem, along with getting as close as possible and using the lowest focal distace your camera offers (as in: zoomed ALL the way back, with the preformers filling the frame). The combination of a non-kodak 800, using some form of support, and not zooming in should give you extremely better photos for your yearbook. Hope this helps!

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11/6/2004 3:08:33 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Personally, I think Kodak 800 is pretty good, but the brand of film has nothing to do with the blurry pictures.

Basically, the problem is that the performers are brightly lit by the spot light, but the background is very dark, leading the camera's automatic exposure to choose shutter speeds slower than necessary. So even if you securely brace the camera you'll still get blurring from subject movement. You'll need to use a camera that can either spot meter on the well lit performers, or one that you can set exposure manually.

See for a good tutorial on photographing concerts and stage events.

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11/8/2004 7:42:18 AM

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