7 April 2020
This is how you build a superhuman theatre photographer, says Beatrice Debney
- Super strength: A typical theatre production lasts 2 hours, a Canon 5D MK III weighs 950 grams, a 70-200mm lens weighs 1490 grams, so that’s you carrying two and a half bags of sugar at arm’s length for 2 hours – time to get those reps in.
- Super knees: Theatre photography positions include squatting for extended periods of time, climbing up onto platforms, chairs and unstable ledges, and leaping across to the other side of the stage.
- Super speed: The actor has just walked down stage left to deliver their big heart-wrenched speech. You are upstage right – RUN.
- Super agility: Theatres are full of obstacles to fall over, causing a large disturbance and distracting the actors, this will always happen during the quiet and tender moments – always.
- Super eyes: The stage may be lit, the auditorium is not, please refer to above point.
- Super selective: By the end of a shoot you will have hundreds of pictures. Marketing managers DO NOT WANT HUNDREDS. Your super selection skill will help you narrow this down to a cool twenty.
- Super divination: A theatre photographer must be able to predict the future if they are to be in the right place and on the right camera settings in the next three seconds.
- Super stealth: A theatre photographer is a fly on the wall, the actors should forget you are there – until, that is, it is time to go home, then you really hope they remember you because super escapology is not one of your special skills.
Photograph: Beatrice Debney