Directed Activity 3 – Nightclub photography – A guide

Start with a keyring selling company
The easiest way to get into nightclub photography scene is starting with a keyring company, they hire pretty much anyone with a little bit of camera experience and they give you full training and usually provide the equipment. I started off with The photo project. I was able to earn money, build up some contacts and get experienced with nightclub camera settings.
After 2 years I left the company, bought my own camera and went freelance.

The photo project
The photo project

You will need a decent DSLR and a decent external flash. I am currently using a Nikon D7200 with a Nikon Speedlight SB-700 flashgun. You’re going to be shooting on an ISO over 1000 so whatever camera you get it needs to be capable of doing that.
Get your equipment insured – You’re going to be working in a nightclub, that means drunk people everywhere, alcohol everywhere and people doing windmill arm dancing. You’re going to get knocked, prodded, and someone WILL spill their drink all over you and your camera, better be safe then sorry and soggy (p.s you also need a lens filter).
Extra equipment that you might want to think about is some off-flash triggers, these are so you can put your flash gun at the other side of the club, take a photo at front of the club and get an amazing silhouette shot. I would suggest getting some triggers when you’ve built up a good understanding of basic nightclub photography and want to start being more creative with your photos.

My equipment
My equipment

So you’re in the club with your new camera, what now? I can’t tell you exactly what settings to use because each nightclub has different lighting and different layouts I can only tell you a rough guide, the rest is a case of a trial & error, don’t be afraid to take up to 20 shots to find the right setting!
Aperture – This depends on what kind of shot you want for instance if you want a shot focusing on the DJ, have your f/stop on 1.8/2.8 if you’re taking a photo of a crowd? 3-8
Shutter speed – It needs to fast enough to stop blur but slow enough to let in enough ambient light, I usually have mine anywhere between 1/20 and 1/80 again this depends on where you are and what shot you want.
ISO – Above 800 at least, if you get a lot of noise I edit out noise adjusting the luminescence in lightroom.
I could talk about focus and loads of other boring stuff, but just use auto focus and you’ll be fine.

I think I’ve covered the three main basics, nightclub photography is hard. I’m not sure if this is because I’m a female therefore less respected in the industry and constantly being harassed by drunk guys or just because it’s a tricky environment being surrounded by alcohol and drugs but if you want to talk industry with me you can find me on the following platforms!

You can find me and my work on the following;

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