It’s a very common question in photography, “How do I photograph this subject?” A show, a flower, a sunset… This is sort of the wrong question though; or, at least, not the deeper question: “What do you want to say about your subject.”
If you are handed a map and asked for directions, you would, of course, need to know where you were going. It is the same here. If you take someone else’s advice on how to shoot a show then you’re going to be saying (visually) what they want to say about shows, not what you want to say about them. Not what moves you about a show.
Consider the difference in the photos that I took of Bollywood and the photos that Holly made. Mine carry a sense of motion while Holly’s communicate the emotion of the performance. Very different images communicating very different things. We do quite a bit of this already, I think.
We choose a perspective and composition that feels right but unconsciously though. I think that if we get to the heart of what we want to communicate we can be much more precise about what we’re trying to say. Our images will be much more refined and hopefully easier to read.
(Parenthetically: I’ve been slowly working through the Bollywood photographs, so much of my free time has been spent in Lightroom and Photoshop. I didn’t want to let this slip though: Last weekend I had the chance to get together for a “lesson” with a couple from New Jersey who were in town for a wedding. I put lesson in quotes because Richard and Linda really did not need help in getting around their equipment; Richard has been into photography for years. We had a fantastic time though; talking about all the fun deeper things, the why of photography rather than the how. Huge thanks to Richard and Linda for getting together, and for the black gaffer’s tape. :)