A few weeks ago I was asked to do a photo shoot for a smaller fashion show being held in a venue downtown.I had known one of the designers presenting there and was all for it. People and low light, hey it's good practice for weddings and almost none of the stress so I get a chance to play around and experiment with the freedom.
The night went a little differently than anticipated. I had my flash with me but I try and avoid using it, partially due to wanting to become more comfortable with it (yeah I know, that's kind of counter intuitive) and the other is because I'm still trying to improve on balancing it with ambient to my liking. Regardless I did not want to use on camera flash at that particular venue. I had brought with me a strobe to set up in a corner specifically for the fashion show. Unfortunately I had left the house forgetting to bring along the light modifier. Bare bulb wasn't exactly what I was going for.
In the end I decided to have some fun, push my camera a bit and shoot it all high ISO. Aside from the main stage with the performer for the evening, most of the venue was lit really sporadically with bright tungsten pot light. It was definitely a challenge, more so when the fashion show started. Aside from the sporadic lighting the venue was sold out and really packed. So much so that there was no real good vantage point. More so, the fashion show did not begin till a good hour past it's original intended start time. It was also not announced that it was starting till about a minute before it did. Needless to say I was still running around getting shots of the crowd and not in position (not that there really even was a good one).
I've seen photos from some amazing photographers who have shot certain weddings all on available light. I don't kid myself into thinking it's as easy as just snapping away. You really have to be aware of what you have to work with and how to twist it to work for you. You end up having to pay a lot more attention to your foreground and background as well as the surrounding light sources and modifiers Easier said than done of course but there are some beautiful examples of it around the internet.