Professional theatre companies employ professional photographers but amateur groups are often seeking the free services of a savvy, unobtrusive photographer.
Before you embark on your first theatre photography session its worth reflecting on what you actually want to convey with your images, and that should be what can they really tell us about the play?
Contextually, theatre photography semiotics relied heavily on a dynamic head shot or an upper body action shot…. and there is nothing wrong with that.
The problem the potential audience might have with these close-ups is that do they convey enough about the play?
A straight-on photograph of the entire busy set would possibly lack dynamism but this is where the challenge lies.
Technically, you will need to use a zoom lens with a focal length up to 200mm and high ISO to get a reasonable shutter speed. Take one photograph at a time; not hundreds like a weekend warrior wedding photographer – anticipate the right moment to press the shutter release. If you want to take your photography to a higher level go for quality, not quantity. Be quiet and don’t move.
Compose each image in the viewfinder – real photographers don’t crop. Watch for the lighting changes offering the opportunity to select a good close-up.