A few weeks ago my old school class contacted me and asked me if I’d do some photos of their upcoming theater play called ‘May’. In this school (this is the Waldorf School in Kispest) every class does a play every year. I did it for eight years too, and it was awesome.
It was great to return, even though only as a photographer (I was kind of used to being a part of these plays as a main character). I wanted to move around the scene freely and use a flash, so I went to one of the practice sessions, not the actual show. Okay, I went there too, but without my camera…
The first problem came before even leaving for the shoot, the day before I had a very long party photography gig, so I slept for very long in the morning, which wouldn’t have been a problem, if I’d have checked my facebook in time, but no, I noticed that I should be in the school at half past eleven at eleven twenty and I was still wearing my pajamas! I somehow thought that I’d have to be there at half past twelve, but it wasn’t a huge problem, I jumped into the car and got there very fast.
For the most part of the show I went partyphoto style, one flash on camera or in my hand, walking around while the others were practicing for the show later on in the evening. I really tried not to disturb things, I had to anticipate where the actors would move, sit and always get out of the way in time, but also get the shot.
At the same time I tried to concentrate on following the story of the play, but quickly gave up, because they where only practicing some scenes, not all at once. That was when I decided that I would come back for the actual show later on in the evening.
The second part of the shoot was a very rushed one. The class wanted a group shot with everybody in it from the play, but by the time they finished practicing the other group was already waiting outside the door to come and practice for their show, so I just quickly threw two shoot-through umbrellas to either side of the camera and set up a hair light, quickly clicked away a few pictures and had to finish.
Three girls who plaid main characters in the play asked me to take a portrait of the three of them on the sofa in the middle of the stage, so I did the same setup as before, just with a little less flash power and moved the lights closer. Here I had even less time, the others already started taking everything off the stage by the time I managed to take three photos, then we had to leave. So it was really rushed, if I had five more minutes, it would have been so much better, but here the challenge was to work under pressure and in a strict time limit!
Settings for the shot with the three girls: