On the Set: Photographing Shows and Performances

No Boundaries - Group Shot. Photo by Alina Oswald.

On the Set of Ron B’s Show, No Boundaries: Up Close and Personal

The other day I found myself, yet again, at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), on the set of No Boundaries: Up Close and Personal, a show hosted by no other than actor, activist and Tina Turner impersonator, Ron B [Ron B. appeared, among others, in Angels in America, one of my favorite movies]. I’ve been honored to be a guest on Ron B’s show several times no, and got to photograph related performances, in studio, at MNN. Through it all, I’ve met many talented performers, outspoken activists, and, in general, kindred souls.

Ron B No Boundaries MNN
Ron B. performing at MNN, No Boundaries show.

You can watch the No Boundaries show on certain TV channels, as well as online, on vimeo.

How does one photograph this kind of in-studio show and related performances Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Bring warm and comfortable clothes! It’s usually very cold in the studio. If you only photograph (a.k.a. work behind the scenes), bring comfortable (warm) black clothes. If you get to be on the panel, part of the show, bring makeup (especially ladies) and some color other than black for your outfit. It can be something as simple as a scarf or a hat, maybe even jewelry.
  • Be on time. Even better, arrive before the taping begins. Give yourself time to familiarize yourself with the new surroundings–become aware of the scene, the studio. It will be unfamiliar at first glance. Observe what everybody else is doing. Watch your step and stay out of the way.

    Behind the scenes at MNN. Photo by Alina Oswald.
  • If you get to shoot the show on a more or less regular basis and get to know the people that make it all happen, don’t hesitate to ask if they need a hand, and help–move chairs, pull curtains, and so on. Do listen and do whatever they say. A fun thing to do, I found out, is help them test the stage lights. You actually just get to stand wherever they tell you. They do all the work. You get to see the magic happen.
  • During the performances you can move around the studio to photograph, but make sure you don’t trip over cables. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • When photographing, watch the performance and performer(s), anticipate their moves, if possible, and capture poignant moments. Zoom in and out. Shoot from different angles. If possible, use some of the equipment and/or furniture in the studio as props or when composing your images.
  • Tell the whole story through your lens. Don’t capture only the performers, but also if possible, capture a few behind-the-scenes types of images–the camera person, the producer, and so on.
  • Do photograph all of the performances and performers. At the end, get a group shot, or several. Don’t forget to write down the names of each performer, and, if needed, the names of the songs they performed. Make sure you got all your “Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?” questions answered. Follow up and double check your notes, including correct spelling of people’s names and their titles. Make sure you get everything right.
  • When photographing the performances in studio, flash is not allowed. The lights already in the studio will do. Adjust your camera settings accordingly–taking into consideration lighting conditions, subject (moving or not moving subjects), and so on.
  • Turn off the volume on your camera. The “beep” should be silent. [Several years ago, I went to an Anderson Cooper show (it ran for only three seasons, I believe). Photographers covering the show had their cameras placed in soundproof cases.]

Here are a few images from Ron B’s No Boundaries show:


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PepC performance:

The Dancers, Nick and Eddie Garcia:

“Fire and Fireman” (my title), the dancers performed a special kind of salsa dancing, in studio, as part of Ron B’s No Boundaries: Up Close and Personal show.

Nick and Eddie Garcia dancing. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Dancers Nick and Eddie Garcia, performing during Ron B’s No Boundaries show, at MNN, in NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Producer Gloria Messer, behind the lens:

Gloria iaMesser. NoBoundaries. MNN. Photo by Alina Oswald.
No Boundaries producer, Gloria Messer, behind the lens. Photo by Alina Oswald


Group shots:

The Panel

No Boundaries - Group Shot. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Ron B. and group shot. No Boundaries Show. MNN. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Group shot:

No Boundaries - Group Shot. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Ron B. No Boundaries 2017 opening show at MNN.


Here are a few more images from past No Boundaries shows:

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For more about Ron B’s No Boundaries: Up Close and Personal show, as well as other MNN shows, check out the Manhattan Neighborhood Network . Support your neighborhood network.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Alina Oswald

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