Photographing the performance

Course Dates: 12/06/20 - 10/07/20
Time: 18:30 - 21:30
Location: PS - Photography Studio
Conrad Blakemore

Curtain up: discover the secrets of photographing live action on stage, whether it's a West End blockbuster or the school play. Learn from the experts about equipment requirements, exposure, under-stage lighting and composition, get useful tips for working with performers, and try out your new skills photographing performers in action.

See what you could create – view a selection of work made on our photography courses



What is the course about?

This practical course is for those who have a real interest in photographing performance whether for their professional portfolio or to pursue a passion. Different performances bring different challenges requiring a range of processes and techniques. On this course you will learn the techniques to meet these challenges including the effective use of available light, photographing movement and composition skills. You will learn how to evaluate the specific photographic opportunities and challenges of a performance, understand its essence, and the purposes for which the photographs will be used. You will also have the opportunity on the course to work with performers in a studio setting." target=“_blank”>view a selection of work made on this course.

What previous students liked most about their course:

“I have a better understanding of studio lighting.“
“Better ability to shoot portraits and also in low light settings.“
“I liked the quality of the teaching and the equipment that was available.”


What will we cover?

- the role and positioning of the photographer when shooting a performance
- Identifying the essence of a performance
- Creative composition using angles and framing
- Contextualising the performance within the image
- Making the most of available light
- Photographing movement
- Publishing and exhibiting work.

See what you could create – view a selection of work made on this course


What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- produce a set of photographs capturing a performance using the available light
- identify the different elements of a production
- choose the appropriate equipment and materials for a given performance situation
- Identify publishing or exhibition opportunities for your work.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Ideal for those who have completed our 'Beginner's photography: stage 1' course, but all are welcome, as long as you have a basic understanding of ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance and how to change these on your digital SLR, bridge or film camera (i.e. not a point-and-shoot camera). You will need to have manual functions on your camera (i.e. be able to change the aperture and shutter speed settings), and some knowledge of Photoshop would be useful.
You'll need to be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be happy using numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught using a range of techniques including illustrated short lectures, discussions, demonstrations, practical exercises, tutorials, group and individual assistance and hand-outs..

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring your camera (if you have one) to the classes and you may wish to bring a notebook and pen. The City Lit has a range of Digital SLR cameras, tripods, speedlights (flash guns) and lenses which you are welcome to use during the hours of the class. It would be useful to bring a memory stick (or portable hard drive – please note: PC formatted hard drives can be read by Apple mac computers, but not written to.)
If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might want to take your interest in practical photography further by enrolling on other specialised photographic courses at City Lit such as 'Photographing people', 'Food and drink photography', or 'Documentary photography'.
To find out more about these or other photography courses just enter the name in the search box at

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 3 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Really worthwhile. Great fun - helps give you a sense of how to manage your photographs and how to select photos that can work well for productions or portrait shots.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 12/07/2019)
The course is interesting, helpful and worth being a part of
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 20/06/2019)
Great opportunity to work with actors and dancers, especially in challenging light conditions, and where the movement is often quick. I learnt a huge amount.
Course Rating
Review by Joe / (Posted on 08/07/2017)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: VY759

Fri, eve, 12 Jun - 10 Jul '20

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £199.00
Concession: £121.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.