Theatre Photography for a dress rehearsal of ‘A Midsummer night’s Dream’ in Teignmouth, Devon

Every Theatre brings its own unique quirks and challenges. The Ice Factory Studio Theatre is no exception. Let’s take a look at my portrait and dress rehearsal photos from the smallest theatre I’ve so far been to.

Teignmouth Players are an active amateur dramatic society and the Ice Factory Studio Theatre is their home for many of their performances.

I was the theatre photographer for Peter Pan panto at Christmas. They were so happy with my work, they asked me to come back to help with their play, A Midsummer night’s dream.

Let’s take a look at the photos and then I’ll go into them a bit more…

The Portraits

When it comes to taking portraits for the programme, I tend to bring everything with me. On every occasion, something has happened where I’ve been glad I came with all my gear. This was no exception. I needed my own white backdrop, a 4 light set-up with strip-boxes and reflectors.

My lens of choice for the portraits was my 85mm at F6.3. I blew out the background enough that I could cut out the people and place them on a different backdrop. They wanted a white background which worked well with the moon backdrop I used.

The Dress Rehearsal

This Theatre is really unique, in that the audience is as close to the performance as you could possibly be. There is no raised stage. You literally have the 50 chairs for the audience and the performance area. The people in the front row can lean forward and touch the performers.

This makes it interesting for me because the space is compact. For the dress rehearsal, I asked for the side chairs to be removed so William and I (William is my second photographer and son) could move around freely.

I went with the 24mm F1.4 and the 85mm F1.4. William used the 24-70mm F2.8.

The Good

This theatre has a centre aisle, which made my job a lot easier. Because I use primes, I use my feet to zoom. I can’t do this in locations with no centre aisle.

The people were all SO helpful and welcoming. They are all a lovely bunch of people who care passionately about what they do.

Daniel went through the lighting beforehand so we knew exactly what we needed to do. That was super helpful as it was mixed lighting so that can throw up some real challenges sometimes.

Because we were so close to the performers, it meant we could get shots that we normally couldn’t. A couple of the photos above you’ll see that we were directly under them. From the front row, that is how close they actually are. It was an angle we couldn’t usually get.

The Bad

Because we were so close to the performance, the camera shutter sounded louder than it actually is. We couldn’t use silent shooting because some of the LED lighting was causing banding and flickering on mirrorless.

The play is a serious one so we couldn’t capture many smiles. I usually photograph pantos so this was an eye-opener.

The Ugly

Thankfully the purple beam of doom was not a major issue this time. I was very grateful for this.


This was another really unique experience and I really enjoyed it.

If you’re looking for a theatre photographer, 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