Here’s the assignment: photograph in total darkness, stop action and don’t use a flash. By the way, you may only have one chance to get the photos. Welcome to the world of high school stage productions!
Even with the limitations, you can get incredible photos by following a few guidelines:
Do your homework. Talk to the director and student director and get permission to shoot during dress rehearsal. (Ask about the “house rules.”) To plan your shoot, attend two or three rehearsals prior to the final run-through and decide on different shooting locations.
Shoot before during and after the event: auditions, rehearsals, make-up, costume fittings, set construction, pit orchestra, tech (lighting, sound), striking the set, cast celebrations, etc.
Watch your aperture. Fast glass (a lens with a wide aperture) is best. Also, shoot using aperture priority with your ISO on max (this can be 5000 or more on DSLR cameras).
Vary the number of subjects in photos. Look for one-person, two-people, small group, large group moments.
Theater, dance and music productions are a fun to shoot. Enjoy the show and get some fabulous images.