Feeling festive with another dress rehearsal. This time at the Palace Theatre, Paignton.

I hope you’re all ready for this big day! For me, the Theatre is a magical part of Christmas. Two weeks ago I was asked to photograph the Dress rehearsal for a local dance school. How could I refuse this close to Christmas 🙂

I was contacted by the Torbay School of Dance who asked if I was available to photograph their dress rehearsal at the Palace Theatre in Paignton.

I have a soft spot for this theatre, especially the staff. They all have a passion that shines through when you talk to them. With 130+ years of history, you can feel the history when you stand on the stage and look out towards the stalls.

Dress rehearsals are great because they usually allow me access to all areas, including the sides of the stage. For this one, I spent pretty much the whole time in front of the stage. Let’s take a look at some examples from the 480 photos I delivered…

Theatre Photography is one of the most challenging types of photography you will come across. The lights are constantly changing and there are usually multiple coloured lights on the stage. Scenes where someone is bathed in dark blue, another in deep purple, another in bright red and the person in the centre in white, are common.

This performance was no exception. You have to mentally make a note of which lights cause the most problems and either wait for a performer to move out of it, or accept you sometimes just can’t do anything about it.

A dress rehearsal usually just keeps on going and they work out the issues after the routine, or at the end of the performance. Microphone issues seem to be the most common problem I see, especially when there are a LOT of people wearing them.

For me as a photographer, the most common problems are banding, cross colour lighting and scenes with crazy dynamic range. I know I’ve said it before but you can’t trust your camera to auto anything for a stage performance. Each scene can often have very different lighting so you can never settle down with a single setting and shoot away.

If you need a theatre photographer please let me know!

Photography Equipment Used

As no flash is allowed, my set-up this time was pretty simple and basic:

  • 2 x Sony A9
  • Sony 85mm F1.4 GM
  • Sony 24mm F1.4 GM


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