Take a Photo at The Bar
There’s something about the faint bar that stunned me. The old men leaned over their beer, talking about the weather. Dudes in a confident tattoo hat working on a pool table. Colorful women, often trapped and their most eye-catching makeup … For people who are, this is the peak of their week.
Whether they’re kicking back, cutting with friends, or dancing the night away, everyone wants to have fun, and everyone has a story.
But shooting in bars and nightclubs is tricky.
Some clubs should not flash photography. There are many people “distractions”, who may spill their cosmo on your DSLR. Not to mention, you are less with a light, moving, and unsure subject photographing a stranger who may be under the influence of alcohol (or other drugs).
And who can blame someone for not wanting their photo taken after they have some. I definitely have to “rant” myself from some Facebook photos after friends take your photo with a flash of sweat on my forehead and a confused look in my eyes.
But some of my favorite photos I took were taken in the bar. You can also take beautiful pictures in the bar, without fighting with the tough guy who wannabe or bring your camera tied up by a DSLR pickup bag.
Over the years, I have brought my precious Nikon into many unmarried submarines in rugged cities like Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans … as well as upscale places in Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco … and in that adventure, I’ve learned a few things about how to take great photos in bars and nightclubs.
1. Bring and Use the Correct Equipment
If you come out to overcome your favorite DJ, and he comes up with one of those little boom boxes and mixes he made in the early 2000s, the show might not be as hot as if he had all the great, cool turntable and monster headphones you need to request good show
Well, the same applies to club photographers.
But you do not need much. Here are two things I use:
DSLR Camera: DSLR cameras can work with magic in low light. There are various settings to help you with good pictures without having to carry a heavy tripod or flashgun. If you have a non-DSLR camera with the option “slow flash”, it also works. This is just your choice just by photographing photography. Plus, the phone on your camera can also work (if you read this in 2020 :)), but you will get a ton by using a high quality camera.
Wide-angle lens: There are many low-light lenses that are affordable. Look for low focal length (roughly between 10mm to 28mm) and low aperture (that’s the F-number). For example, I use a zoom fish eye lens, 10-17mm Tokino lens, F3.5 – 4.5. Eye effect is very fun in a party situation. Also, wide angle (10-17mm). Plus, it enables a decent amount of light. But there are many options depending on the type of photo you want to take.
A flashgun is another tool to consider. Many photographers swear by it because you can do more shots. But you can also always use the flash in your camera, and without a flash gun you will blend more and have less equipment to worry about.
2. Learn the Shooting Secrets of Low-Light for the Next Post.
Before that, watch my favourite video of nightclub photography below: