Last night I was asked to take the trade photo at the Death Cab for Cutie show. The trade shot, for those that are wondering is a photo of the band with the promoters and staff working the show. You usually have about 15 seconds to get the shot. The band comes out and meets and greets with the staff. Handshakes and introductions and a little chit chat, then its time to pose, quick shot and the band is off to play.
The key to getting even a semi successful shot is to be ready when the band is. They are not going to stand around and wait for you to get the lighting right or change lenses. This really is a matter of it all set up to go before hand.
Since I knew that i was going to be taking the shot I packed along my Sb-900 with fresh batteries and a Sb-800 with fresh batteries because if i only had one flash, then Alans Law of Photography would kick in and the flash would mysteriously stop working just long enough to miss the shot.
Since I had just finished shooting Cold War Kids I needed to quickly reset my cameras from concert mode to portrait mode. The Nikon D700 first. Set the ISO to 200, change to Aperture Priority from Manual mode and make sure that there were enough shots remaining on the card. I then broke out the Sb-900 and mounted it on the camera set to TTL mode with the flash aimed straight up and the built in bounce card extended. I also set the light distribution pattern to even, which is better for wider shots and this was going to be a wider shot. I used a 28mm f/2.8 lens to make sure I got the whole group in the shot. Did I mention that with the band, there would be 14 people in the shot and I had less than 30 seconds to take the photograph.
I also mounted the Sb-800 on my second body, the Nikon DX2, with a 17-55mm lens just in case something bad happened with the D700. Better to be safe than sorry.
In then took a test shot with the D700 and the light bounced off the ceilings and wall of the back stage area nicely. The rest was just a matter of placing the band in the middle of the crowd, making sure I could see everyones face and then just firing off a quick 5 shots before it was time for the band to leave. Love the recycle time on the Sb-900.