Night Club Photography

Being inspired.

A while back I watched a video tutorial from christian with regards night photography, and how to go about it what equipment to have and how to pitch to the club as  all clubs would expect something in return or for you to make a deal with the club.

So now I put it to the test with a twist…

My twist was that my business partner knows a night club owner who wanted to promote his club especially saturday nights, so this was our ticket in.

having never done a night club shoot before everything was a learning curve, however basic night shooting i was familiar with so I had a heads up on what to expect, however with my recently purchased lighting kit from Bowens

of which I had not tested as yet it was a all time first, But i wasn’t going to let the inexperience of having not used the lighting put me off.

We arrived about a hour before the doors open in order to have a good set up and to test the lighting on site, the set up took about 20 minutes which comprised of two strobe lamps, with light stands and silver umbrellas, and not forgetting the all important Duct tape to tie down the cable to the floor to prevent a trip hazard, We found a great location which was prior to the main doors of the internal night club which was great as everyone could see us clearly before going in.

Once i had the set up as I wanted it and the wireless triggers set in place and tested the lighting with the assistance of my business partner I found the settings quite quickly

1/125 and 200 sec in manual mode between f/5 and f/11 the light strobe setting was between 3 and 4 seemed to work well for me, I was using a 24-105 f/4 lens on a canon 5D mk2 with another canon as back up and for something else I had in mind, which I will go into shortly

Be prepared,and some things to consider.

remember business cards i found we handed out almost a whole box of business cards to all the poeple we shot that night so you can imagine it is several hundred people.

even though you tape your cables down with duct tape it’s also worth noting that it’s good practice to tie your cables around your lightstands as well as they can get caught with hand bags and people though become a little unsteady on there feet a little later on, Fortunately I had with me a good supply of think tank red whips, which are elasticated cords that are like tie backs perfect for tying your cables to lightstands.

Make sure you pick a good spot somewhere where people will easily seen you before going into the club or just inside the entrance, as once they have had a few drinks they will remember you and come back to you later.

I was considering a backdrop but was advised that this would be trashed so I opted out and went for shooting against the night club walled which works well as it’s less equipment to bring along and set up.

give yourself enough room to have a good set up.

the night club shoot we did was a themed one as you will see below, so a little sales trick is to ask people passing in costume if they would like they photo taken as they are much more likely to agree as they either hired the costume or chances are they wont do this particular theme again for a while, so to have the chance of seeing themselves and friends in the full gear is a good chance to grab them.

What to expect at the start.

Be prepared to wait around for the first hour or so as people will be slow at arriving and will not be fully in the mood for having there photos taken straight away, however saying that some will.

It goes without saying that once they have a few drinks washing around they will be back and at a couple of points they were queuing to have there picture taken, it helps as other people see whats going on and want to get involved.

Sometimes you may even be approached by staff who also want there photo taken which is great as you can ask them to encourage people to come along to you for there photos.

I normally two approx: two images sometimes three of each party they all loved looking at the back of the camera to see there results which impresses them straight away.

the sales pitch was simple we instructed the people involved that we would give them a business card and that there images would be placed on our facebook the following day for them to check out, tag themselves and have the opportunity to purchase, as most people asked straight away how much it was, so you can see that it is always a money issue for lots of people, but once we instructed them they were much more relaxed with that.

So the backup camera i mentioned earlier as well as being a backup, i also wanted to get in on the floor action, even though this is not every photographer cup of tea, however the night club lighting was something to be scene so I wanted to capture that while i had the chance, I brought a flash speedlight along with me as well just in case even though I did not use it much in the main floor area, I set my camera to manual mode and shutter speed of approx: 1/4 sec iso between 100-500 F/stop between 4-8 hand held i knew I would expect some camera shake but just a little, this was enough to capture the entire mood of the floor and as you we see was a large area to cover but worked out very well. composition was capturing the circular shape of the entire hall and lighting, after this I moved around quite freely even though there was several hundred people around capturing various floor shots and people having a good time, again this will catch peoples eye and again remind them that you are there photographing so they will be reminded to hopefully stop by a little later.

Once the night really got going we photographed many many people, everyone has a great time. It is definitely an experience to remember and I am looking forward to the next one.

I would not have considered this type of photography a few months ago until I watched Christian’s tutorial about it with great advise in mind, and the will power and passion of photography behind you, anyone of you can do this, is does involve equipment and some know how, however I went into this not knowing a great deal about strobe lighting other than what I had read and seen on video’s as we all know in practice can be a little nerve racking, but if this is something you want to do, then go for it, it is so rewarding once your there people can see you they feel special as they feel the club is laying on a good show, you feel even better when people are lining up for there pictures to be taken believe me.

Good luck and let us know how you get on

thanks for reading.


Simon Everett Photography

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About Simon Everett

Simon Everett Photographer. I was Born in the midlands the Heart of England amongst the peace & tranquil surroundings of open fields and the sounds of the natural countryside, I moved to the southeast some years later and started and though still in the countryside of Kent I cannot be to far from nature, & the changing seasons Simon Everett Photography Kent – I offer professional Wedding, Events, Parties, & Commercial photography in Kent, as well as portrait and newborn photography across The whole of Kent area including Some London Boroughs. Wedding photography is my passion and my style is contemporary, modern, reportage, Dramatic, classic vintage and natural as well. We provide a mixture of styles to suit various tastes and we can adapt to your requirements