Photography is about compromise

Compromise means embracing the constraints.

Do you use a wide aperture, a small one, set a high ISO, or a low ISO, what shutter speed should you use?  Its all very complicated and there are so many constraints, your damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Recently I was asked to photograph Brunswick Accordion Band being recorded for their new CD.  Watch out for its release!  The hall was illuminated by low energy sodium light bulbs which gave quite a harsh white light and the band were seated in rows so the question was what compromises did I have to make to get usable images?

On arrival I decided not to use a flash, it can be distracting to others, it causes shadows where you don’t want them if your not careful, it has a limited distance range and I would not be using light modifiers.  So that decision was simple, I would not be using flash.

I came equipped with two fast f2.8 zoom lenses but quickly disregarded these for faster prime lenses which proved to be a wise decision.  So the issue was what f-stop would I use?  This would be determined by the shutter speed and ISO selected.

Not wanting to set the ISO too high so as to avoid unacceptable digital noise I opted for 640 ISO and with a shutter speed of 1/80 second this gave me an aperture of f2.  In order to decrease the aperture I would have needed to reduce the shutter speed and introduce the danger of camera shake, or increase the ISO and introduce digital noise, neither option was a choice.

The outcome was f2 with its shallow depth of field.  This dictated that I shoot tight shots and to play with the shallow depth of field to produce creative images – looking for those glances, expressions and other moments of interaction.  The vast majority of exposures were taken with a 50mm and an 85mm lens, both f1.4.  The series of images were characterised by selective use of focus.

Here are a couple of examples:

Brunswick Accordion Band Recording Session

Brunswick Accordion Band Recording Session

Brunswick Accordion Band Recording Session

Compromise means embracing the constraints, this can also help you to be more creative. Who would have thought that constraints improves your photography?!

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.


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