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Thread: How do you shoot a nightclub?

  1. #1

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    Ife.

    How do you shoot a nightclub?

    Hello friends, teachers and bosses!

    Quick update: With more tutorials read and advice weighed and taken, I am pleased to tell that I am making progress. Thank you too.

    Just when you have a certain area under your belt, you wake up to find yourself in Strangers-ville when it comes to certain aspects of photography. An older friend of mine has requested i come take pictures of the club which he runs. I will be shooting on a friday night which means a mixed light disaster.

    Now, i wont be taking pictures of people partying, just pictures of several areas, the DJs, the bar men and the girls dancing on poles

    This fellow is someone who really encourages my photo journey and was also asking if i will be needing a lamp/light(that bright lamp one sees in studio) as he could help rent one from his own pocket. In a nutshell, how do i do the following:

    1. Shoot manual?
    2. How best do I focus as my 18-55 will not autofocus...? I'm guessing my sigma 70-300mm will be completely useless in there.
    3. Raw or JPEG?
    4. Tripod?
    5. Ideal ISO?
    6. Flash? Bounce? Popup?

    Now i know many of these things may be described as subjective but it will be helpful to know how you would handle them if you were the photographer.
    (Canon 1000D, 18-55mm kit lens, Sigma 70-300mm).
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Phil Page

    Re: How do you shoot a nightclub?

    Here goes!

    Other people's opinion my vary, sometimes considerably


    1. Shoot manual?
    Depends on if you're shooting with flash or ambient. For flash, I'd say manual or aperture priority, TTL or Manual Flash - whatever you're comfortable with. In a fast paced environment, TTL with a dragged shutter and rear curtain flash is possibly the best way to go.

    2. How best do I focus as my 18-55 will not autofocus...? I'm guessing my sigma 70-300mm will be completely useless in there.
    Manual focus, using your viewfinder's focus assist green dot. 70-300 may not be useless, but it'll probably be slow to focus and you'll be needing a lot of flash power

    3. Raw or JPEG?
    Personally I'd shoot RAW, but up to you. If you're shooting Auto White Balance, it's a lot easier for consistency later to shoot in RAW and standardise your White Balance

    4. Tripod?
    I very much doubt that you'd be allowed. Nigeria may be different and with approval from the management, maybe

    5. Ideal ISO?
    You'll be using flash a lot. Therefore you'll be wanting to conserve battery power as much as possible. Stick with you highest comfortable ISO setting - 800? 1600? Up to you

    6. Flash? Bounce? Popup?
    Flash, yes. You'll want to try to balance your ambient exposure with your flash. Google 'dragging the shutter' and you'll get an idea. Your flash will freeze the subject at a far lower shutter speed than you can hope for without flash. Rear curtain flash would be good, and you can try some funky effects like zooming during the exposure, wiggling your lens around during the shot, things like that to get some different effects. The rear curtain flash will then freeze the subject and the background will look like a bad acid trip/fantastic, depending on your point of view.

    Personally I'd want to get my flash off the camera as much as possible. Bouncing against a very high ceiling ain't necessarily a good idea. Bouncing against a coloured ceiling/wall will introduce a colour cast. Off camera, up close, softened with a small softbox, would be ideal.

  3. #3

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    Remco

    Re: How do you shoot a nightclub?

    Another point:
    I'd try and go to the club at least once beforehand, even without the camera, to look over the situation, and see what might be good angles and unexpected gotchas.
    Perhaps also meet (some of) the personnel so they know why you are there with the big gear.

    Tripod might be difficult for another reason: you'll be moving around, and dragging a tripod around is not comfortable. A monopod could be very useful though.

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How do you shoot a nightclub?

    One more thing to consider Ife;

    We have a member here whose sensor may have been damaged by a fast scanning laser beam, probably the sort that blats about the room so fast the eye doesn't really register where it has been, but a sensor may get burned if the shutter is open or you have a mirrorless digicam where it is exposed most/all of the time. It should only be a problem when the beam goes right down the lens and the laser is at the focused distance, so shooting wide angle is the most risky time. Taking a shot of the beams illuminating smoke or projected on to a wall won't be dangerous to your camera.

    If you know the owner, you may be able to get any facing you switched off while you are shooting.

    Perhaps someone has first hand club shooting experience, I don't.

    Good luck,

  5. #5
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Paul Melkus

    Re: How do you shoot a nightclub?

    I shoot with a 9mm if things are getting to rough

  6. #6

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    Re: How do you shoot a nightclub?

    Hmmmm, thank you Phil, thank you Remco, thank you Dave and thank you Paul.
    By running the place, my friend owns the place so i can make wishes and have them fulfilled

    Another quick one, if i am to photograph a family with their newborn baby...will some studio light help or i should just rely on my flash and tripod?

    Thanks so much.

  7. #7
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: How do you shoot a nightclub?

    I own a nightclub and agree, don't shoot pictures in the club with the lasers running unless they can be setup not to move.
    This was shot with the lasers set to a stationary position.
    How do you shoot a nightclub?
    I can't help you on the question of using flash because I don't use flash in the club.
    All my work has been available light.When I do dancer photos they are posed on the stage.
    One question to ask your friend.Are the patrons okay with the idea they may be in some photos?

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