Casinos: A Great Place to Practice Your Photography
Practice composition and focus at a casino.
As photographers try to find their niche and determine their own style, it’s important to explore different scenarios and locations. After all, there’s no better teacher than experience, and photographers need to be able to adapt to different situations, and to the needs of a client.
Those just getting started on action photography may find themselves a bit overwhelmed if they jump straight to the race track. A good place to get some great portraits and practice composition is a casino gaming floor. Usually, casinos frown upon taking pictures in their gaming halls, so you may not be able to get photos from these. Luckily, however, there are hundreds of competitions that do allow photography, and these competition floors are often more action-packed that any other gaming hall on a regular day.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re heading to a competition to practice your photography:
It’s Still All About the Lighting Make sure you bring a lens with a wide aperture, as well as a flash that you can use to bounce light off the walls and the ceiling. The lighting in gaming halls isn’t always ideal, and it pays to be able to use your equipment to adjust the light in your photographs too. Here’s a tip from Improve Photography: “If you have a Speedlight flash available, or if you must shoot with the dreaded pop-up flash, modify the light in any way possible to avoid washed-out faces from the harsh light. For example, if you are shooting with a Speedlight, point the flash towards the ceiling or a nearby wall to bounce the flash onto your subjects! Doing this technique can be comparable to using a giant soft box such as those used for your school portraits, as it provides soft, even light.”
Get Up Close and Personal Just as in an actual casino game, details will be key to winning casino photography. Try and get as close to your subjects as possible (without distracting the players, of course). This is where mobile devices become more practical, as smartphones are too small to interfere with the players compared with the professional cameras. Gaming Realms, the developer of Free Bingo Hunter, mentioned that ownership and usage of mobile devices have surpassed all other computing devices. In fact, its mobile data usage has at a growth rate of 70% year-on-year. Now, while taking images at a casino, the intense looks on the faces of people playing at the tables will act as great practice for portraits, and if you get the lighting just right, you can even capture some moving shots, too. If the players let you, you can even shoot photos of their hands to show the development of the game.
Keep Your Composure It’s worth noting that while many casinos don’t allow for photographs in table games, they’re likely to be more relaxed about slot machines and video poker machines. This is a good opportunity for you to practice your composition as well, trying to fit the machine and the player together in a shot. Just remember some of Digital Camera World’s 10 Rules of Photo Composition: Avoid the Middle, Fill the Frame, and stay mindful of your Background.