I'm thinking of trying something different for a change, and since summer is coming and that means lots of outdoor concerts. Anyone have any tips on shooting , gear ect. also if anyone knows the secret of obtaining a press pass would be helpful.
For sure you would want to rent (buy) a telephoto type lens and preferably a prime lens like a 105mm or a 200mm fixed prime lens for awesome photographs taken from a distance with the perfect background blur and bokeh shots.
Great tips so far, thanks to all, I was also wondering if shooting at a max or high ISO a good thing or will grain become an issue because of the constant light changes
Hi I am a Front of stage photographer and have been since 2003. I cannot add anything that The Photography School article hasn't already said. All I can say is there is not a lot of photographic finesse in shooting stage shots, The continually changing light plays havoc with your shots plus keeping up with a cavorting lead singer who is all over the stage is challenging to say the least. Your choice of lenses is very important and you need to use as fast a lens as your budget will allow. the other consideration is having sufficient memory cards with you. This is not as big a problem now as it used to be, as card memory has increased significantly over the last few years. but at some point you may have to download to your computer and the larger the card the longer the download time. You will be surprised as to the number of shots you take at an all day festival so downloading is a distinct possibility. Some photographers tend to use smaller memory cards and carry a lot of them and some use extremely large cards so hopefully they last all day. This depends on your rate of shots per artist and the length of the gig. If you have to download then try and carry it out in a change over, as it takes a while to orginise the stage for the next artist. The other consideration is foul weather do not rely on the weather sealing of your brand new DSLR find a solution that works for you. There are various ways of weather sealing your gear from cheap transparent bags similar to zipped freezer bags to very bulky and expensive wrap over proofing. If using a zipped bag be it a freezer bag or a dedicated weather proof camera bag you must be careful of Condensation, a few strategically placed small holes should help with this problem but it is not a cure. Clothing is also very important on outside festivals it can get very cold at some gigs and the last thing you need, is to be trying to take shots while shivering due to being cold and wet. A good weather proof coat is essential with lots of water proof pockets try and avoid wearing jeans as they retain huge amounts of water and cling to you like glue, a pair of wool based slacks are the best bet and a pair of waterproof over trousers are a good idea as is stout footwear. Also wear several thin layers of clothing rather than one thick pullover the layers trap warm air so you wont feel the cold so much. You wont win any fashion shows but you and your gear will be fairly water resistant. As to getting a press pass this is more difficult, you could always approach the organizers of the Fest/Gig at an early stage in their planning offering to supply pictures of the event directly to them. Or if you can get in with you local Newspapers and magazines or if you have a local community radio station they may employ you to supply pictures for their website. Contact all of these organisations early in the planning stage of the gig and you may be lucky. I hope this has been of some help to you.
Always remember that a grainy shot is better then a motion blurred one. At least in most of the cases. Go as high as you need to get decent sharp images. And if light is highly variable, use continuous shooting mode.
High ISO, Telephoto or Fixed Prime Lenses are a must. With the lights from the stage directly into your camera, it might be a challenge to get focus especially since the performers would be moving around most of the time. So a higher ISO / faster shutter speed will definitely help.
Nice! Great idea on talking to them and offering to send them so photos!