I’m in Indianapolis now, enjoying the time with my family at the last Regional ATI Conference of the year!

Indianapolis Group 

There’s a story to tell about this picture which I might as well tell while I’m at it. 🙂

I gripped the camera with sweaty hands as I watched Robert set up the ladder on the front stage. Climbing to the top, I looked out over the audience knowing that I had only a matter of minuets to get the group shot of this phenomenal event. Normally, I would have started taking pictures immediately, but this time, I decided to apply a few things I’ve learned from past experience. This shot was going to be the best it could be.

  1. Before getting on stage, check the camera and lens settings: white balance, exposure compensation, ISO, image quality, auto focus, and image stabilization, and the number of exposures left. Seriously, I could probably tell you an embarrassing story about forgetting to check every single one of these!
  2. Also before getting on stage, turn the camera on. Take the lens cap off beforehand too!
  3. Once on stage, check to make sure the front rows are full. If not, have ushers move people to fill them up! There’s nothing worse than big holes and empty chairs in the front few rows of the audience.
  4. Smile! You literally set the stage for the spirit of your audience.
  5. Have the audience do something beside listening to someone talking; singing a joyful hymn works most the time.
  6. Manually set the exposure (using “M” on the camera’s control dial). This might require one or two test shots, but if you set a manual shutter-speed and aperture, it will give uniform light over the entire audience; extremely helpful when stitching them together later.
  7. Shoot vertically from side to side two or three times, leaving plenty of room for overlap. Also, when shooting, do not hold the shutter button down in shooting continuous frames as you sweep across the audience. Instead, take each picture individually, pausing for each time you press the shutter button.

As far as I know, this has been the easiest group shot I’ve taken. I trusted God would make things run smoothly, and, though it took a while to fill up the front rows, I’m grateful it turned out as well as it did.

Behind stage, after the picture was taken, I was assured with these words of wisdom from one of the Conference speakers, a Vietnam veteran: “Don’t move forward until you are ready.”

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