Well yesterdays non dress rehearsal (as it eventually turned out) has been and gone, and it was a disaster - well not totally but here's what happened:
1) The stage was completely unlit as the theatre company charge them to use the main lights so I learnt nothing with regards the lighting that will be used on the night.
2) The lighting that was in use, was so bad that the actual shot I went to take (group shot for the back page of the Programme) was not really possible inside, although having said that as I was so nervous I forgot to bump the ISO up and may have actually been able to get the shot had I done so.
3) I suggested we take the shot outside which was agreed (in the meantime I had realised my mistake about the ISO and bumped it up to 800 and was taking some reasonable test shots and making notes), about an hour or so later we went outside for the shot and found the best place to take it, it was a narrow wall with a fairly good background (a bit too narrow to get all the group in front of though
), the sun was very high and bright and like a complete idiot I forgot to put my ISO back down (I had 3 minutes to organise the group and take the shot as they were paying for the Theatre by the quarter hour and I really felt nervous about capturing the shot, I checked the histogram to ensure I got a reasonable image to work with - or at least hoped to get at least one).
4) I ended up working for hours on the background as the shot I managed to salvage had a Blue commercial bin in the background right, and the edge of the wall with a distracting window background left - it really was the best place to take the shot though and with the way they wanted the shot to look I couldn't think of another way to compose it in the short time frame I had to work with.
5) I was asked to get the image prepared for today so they can get it to the publishers for tomorrow! I had no idea it was such a tight deadline and was literally asked this as I was leaving.
6) It turns out there is practically nowhere for me to stand other than the central isle that leads up to all the seats, the seating goes all the way to the walls, so I am going back through the week to see about positioning myself as best I can behind the curtains to see if that will work, over the 3 shows I should be able to get enough variety to cover myself.
Upshot of all this is that I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED MYSELF, learned more about taking images in that short 3 hours than I ever thought possible, have some great notes and new knowledge for future similar situations. But I can definitely recommend to anyone thinking of taking on a job for the first time to go and have a good chat with the organisers and do everything you can to get a good look at the place you will be shooting before the actual day...
Image as it was after cropping:
In hindsight I wish I had cropped the arm of the girl on the right and bought the edge of the wall in so it balanced the image more and also removed the drainpipe, but it's too late now as I don't have time to put it right - have far too much work for my business to do today. But I am fairly happy with the pic and it will be on a page no larger than A5 so with any luck will look ok without too much grain