Event photographer for a Murder Mystery Evening at the Stage One venue, in the Palace Theatre, Paignton

This is only the second Murder Mystery evening I’ve been to but I wish I’d been to more. This was a wonderful evening of fun, entertainment, food, and drink. Let’s take a look at how the evening went, and what to expect at a Murder Mystery Event. I also took my new Sony A7IV with me and pushed the limits to see what it was capable of.

Stage Left is a venue inside the Palace Theatre in Paignton. As you’ll see in the wide angle photo below, it’s a large room with plenty of space… and books 🙂

We were greeted with wine and a buffet, the food was AMAZING! Thank you Stage Left team for a wonderful spread!

On arrival, we quickly found our seats. Two of the actors were walking around the room, engaging with the tables. Small bits of information may or may not be revealed. Taking a careful note of what is said can be useful.

TOPS Torquay was hosting the event, a part of the Kinky Boots production coming to the Princess Theatre this September.

In this evening’s Murder Mystery, two Drag Queens were battling it out for the top spot. After some voting shenanigans, the obvious loser was crowned the winner, which caused some uproar. The runner-up stormed out and several people went looking for her… and that’s when she was found strangled.

Each person had a motive and it was thrilling to try to piece it all together to figure out the murderer.

The interaction, the questions we could ask, and the performance by the cast, made for an incredibly entertaining night. If you’ve never done one, I highly recommend it!


Usually, I can’t play around with new techniques or different ideas for settings. I also can’t usually push the limits of any new equipment on a paid shoot. This was not a paid job, rather a ‘take some photos if you get a chance’.

Because this was not an official, nor paid job, it allowed me to have some fun testing some ideas and to push my new Sony A7IV harder than I otherwise would.

For these jobs, I would always shoot in manual. I would usually lock in the settings because the light in the room doesn’t change. This time, the main things I wanted to test were:

  • What the ISO was doing in auto ISO.
  • What Matrix metering would do, especially with what it did to the ISO numbers.
  • How noisy were the photos in the various ISO ranges.
  • Had the eye-tracking really improved since the latest update.

So I ditched Manual mode and instead, set the camera to Aperture Priority, with a minimum shutter speed of 1/250, and Auto ISO.

Auto ISO is a dangerous idea at events, especially indoor or dark events. Although the venue was nicely lit, to my camera on matrix metering, the room needed an ISO of 12,800 (my upper limit). I didn’t want every photo to be so high, so I used exposure compensation and an on-camera flash (bounce lighting) to keep the ISO between 6,000 and 12,800 (at f2.8). That kept it high enough to push the camera, but not to have it on my max-limit of 12,800 the whole evening

Because of my Landscape beginnings, ISO above 1,600 still scares me. The crazy thing is at ISO 6,400, even ISO 8,000, the noise was minimal. It was only at 10,000+ that you could notice the noise in the shadows.

All the photos above were ISO 6,400 to 12,800. That’s insane quality for such a high ISO!


Something that the A7IV has that my A9’s don’t, is anti-flickering. This is another venue where flickering is present. On my A9 the white balance would be jumping around but the anti-flicker on the A7IV makes this issue irrelevant. I actually now prefer shooting with the A7IV because it gives me fewer editing hassles when I get home.


The new Sony A7IV has seriously impressed me. My main lens on a wedding day is my 85mm, which I now attach to the A7IV. It’s become my main camera body, comfortably replacing the Sony A9.

I thought the twisty, twirly back screen would annoy me, but I have to admit, my knees are grateful I’m not on them when I take photos in portrait mode. The extra space to pull the screen out makes it so easy to use, i.e., it isn’t fiddly at all.

The anti-flicker is just too useful for me as a wedding and event photographer. Neither the A9ii, nor the A1 has it, so, since writing this, I’ve already replaced my other A9 with another A7IV. My A9 is good with banding (not perfect, but very good). The flickering is a problem I am constantly facing with the A9, but never with the A7IV.

9/10 for the A7IV!

Event Photography Equipment

If you ever look at the gear I use in these blogs, you may be shocked to see that the 85mm was barely out, instead opting for zooms for a change. It is nice to mix things up from time to time.

  • Sony A7IV
  • Sony 85mm f1.4
  • Sony 24-70mm f2.8
  • Sony 70-200mm f2.8
  • Godox V1 (bounce light only)

If you need an event photographer for your event, please get in touch!

Simon Day

If you have a wedding, portrait, event or festival coming up please contact me. Likewise for portraits. Check out my social media channels: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter