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Taking photographs at GamesDay and other shows

When I am usually taking photographs I like to control the conditions under which I am taking a photo, however when I am at a show such as GamesDay it is nigh on impossible to do this.

I have taken a few hundred photographs at GamesDay over the years and have been pleased with the results.


The key things to remember when taking photographs at shows, is you have virtually no control over lighting, you will be bustled and shaken about. Forget about trying to use a tripod, it is possible, but you won't have the space to take many photographs.

Also remember that when taking photographs of display games that hands will appear as if from nowhere. Where possible ask if it is okay to take photographs, not only is that polite, but generally the game organisers will often allow you to take a selection and stop playing to avoid unwanted hands.

I have taken quite a few photographs of models in display cabinets and luckily if these are well lit then you can get a reasonable result.


As you can't use a tripod or long exposures you are going to get a very short depth of field (in other words only a small part of the model will be in focus. In the Shadowsword example above, the front (left) tracks are out of focus as is the rear fuel tank. It is therefore vital to avoid using the auto-focus and to manually focus, otherwise you may find that the camera is focussing on the rear model or the glass in the display cabinet. Not using the auto-focus can also be faster.

Generally I use a Canon EOS 400D SLR (was using a Canon EOS 300D before) and use the standard automatic settings (in other words I don't use the macro setting). I would much prefer to use manual settings, but considering the busy environment this is generally not possible.

With digital I don't have to worry about film, so at the last few GamesDays I have taken in excess of three hundred photographs (and it still does surprise me about how many turn out okay).