Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Tips on Live Concert Photography
#1
This guy has some really great tips and insights into concert photography (and not to mention, some pretty cool and dramatic pics). Some of the stuff is pretty common sense - i.e. fast lenses, no flash, but there are also a lot of gems there such as how to get into the venues and so forth.

Personally I think this type of photography is extremely challenging, but I guess some people thrive on that sort of stuff. One I know of is our very own StudioJ...

http://www.photocritic.org/2006/live-ban...otography/
Reply

#2
That was a good link with the basics pretty well covered.

I do a lot of club and concert photography, and the lighting is always worse than it looked, once you get home and see the results.
For example, I start with aperture wide open (f2--f2.4 for me) at 1/40 second and ISO200-400, and adjust from there.
Without NeatImage to clean up the noise I'd be in trouble, and motion blur is a constant companion at this setting so timing is critical.

Flash ruins concert photos, so forget about it.
Beyond being ugly, it destroys the 'mood' being set by the artist and lighting director.

For clarification, the 'first three songs only' rule is all about perspiration, smeared makeup, messed-up hair, torn costumes and runny noses.
The talent usually wants to look their best, but in the heavier genres of music this isn't always a rule.

Here is a barely acceptable example from a show with much less than the usual minimum light, so it's possible to get decent results in many cases, but you have to work fast and smart and take exposure after exposure after exposure to bring home any keepers.
Maybe one photo in 50 is worth showing to anyone.
[Image: ST1248.jpg]
Reply
#3
Hmmm, bored tonight and checking up on some neglected boards, catching up on some old threads Smile

I do a fair bit of shooting in nightclubs, mostly showcase acts in smaller places with really poor lighting. Flash is often a necessary evil, especially when you're limited to f/4-f/5.6 lenses (it's all about money).

The trick, for me, is often to try to balance the flash with stage lighting - I'll either dial down the FEC, or aim the flash away from the subject, usually at the ceiling (Canon Speedlite 420EX, adjustable head, very handy), sometimes with a bounce reflector. Cranking the ISO up to 800 (or 1600 if the lighting is REALLY poor, which gets pretty noisy on my 300D), then shooting 1/30-1/50 with the lens wide open usually does the trick. If done properly, flash can really help the shot. For example:

[Image: 698667368_m.jpg]
This is using the bounce reflector. Little bright on his hand, and I didn't fiddle too much with fixing it.

[Image: 1356835198_m.jpg]
Flash aimed at the ceiling using the swivel head... a little fog helps reduce the distraction of the background.

[Image: 697863894_m.jpg]
Again with the bounce reflector.

Of course, these bands typically don't even have a single roadie, let alone a light operator or lighting director, so there's not a lot of concern about "ruining the mood".

The sinlge thing that helps the most, I find, is fog. Not a lot, usually - just enough to cover up the generally bland or ugly background and provide a little more "depth" to the scene. I picked up a small fogger for about $35 that many craft stores sell around Halloween and take it along when I'm planning on shooting a band - nobody yet has turned down my request to use it, as bands tend to really like fog as well Smile

A few examples:
[Image: 697864320_m.jpg]
This is also using flash with the reflector; fog helps provide a more interesting backdrop with the light beams..

[Image: 775670426_m.jpg] [Image: 1356834086_m.jpg] [Image: 1356838446_m.jpg]
These last three are all just a strong backlight with fog.

(Larger versions are available on my page at http://www.myspace.com/moltenimage)
"I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them. So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."
-Marcus Cole
Reply
#4
Thanks for the tips, Soundy.
You're so right about smoke machines being a photographer's best friend.
I'm lucky in that my F717 has a fast lens (f2-f2.4) but it stinks at high iso.
400 is the limit and I need to use noise reduction even then.

Clubs are a bitch for band photos, especially since so many musicians hate bright lights for some reason.
Reply
#5
Interesting... I don't think I've run into a band yet that DOESN'T like lots of light. Then again, most of them are pretty active onstage, and it really helps when you can see where you're going while running around like a lunatic. Smile They ALL love to get some live pics too, and understand that more light = better pics.

It sometimes helps to chat with the guy running the lights (usually the soundman) and ask him to keep things as bright as possible, short of just turning them all on for the whole show. Now and then, I'll even run into a guy who's willing to reprogram his scenes to keep things a little brigher (usually when the band or club has a dedicated lighting guy, and changing the scenes is generally a quick and painless process).

I'm guessing the F717 has a relatively small sensor, compared to my 300D's (Digital Rebel) APS-C sensor, which really doesn't help your noise problem. Fast lens is a big bonus though - I have the kit lens that came with the camera (Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/3.5-5.6) and an EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6. Couple stops slower than yours, but I can get away with at least one more stop of ISO boost.

Having the dedicated flash that works with the camera's FEC (flash exposure compensation) is a help as well, as it allows the camera to control the flash output automatically to match the aperture. I don't know if you have a separate flash for your camera, but something you can try is taping a couple layers of tissue or toilet paper over the built-in flash's lens, to cut down and soften its output, in those instances you really need the flash.
"I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them. So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."
-Marcus Cole
Reply
#6
I have a few examples that I'll pull out of the archives. Anyone remember my Tom Chocrane images?Smile
Sit, stay, ok, hold it! Awww, no drooling! :O
My flickr images
Reply

#7
Soundy Wrote:Flash is often a necessary evil
I have to agree with Soundy on this one...

I do understand that it is *preferable* not to use flash, and why it ruins the mood of the shots - but if you are shooting in a dimly lit club with no control over the lights and the band is all over the stage at high speed, no amount of high ISO or available light is going to do the trick. The 1 in 50 guideline is about right - and that drops dramatically if the band is really active. You can wait for the still shots that work with low light - but that doesn't really show what the band is about in some cases.

Soundy and I probably shoot in the same Vancouver venues from what I know about the bands he shoots. Heavy metal bands with budget light systems in dark low-end clubs. I often think how nice it would be to shoot relatively stationary bands with decent light - but that doesn't seem to be my lot.

Lately my favorite trick is to trigger my Nikon SB800 flash in wireless mode. Being able to set the flash up at a completely different angle than you are shooting from greatly reduces the dreaded flash burn look...
Reply
#8
Toad Wrote:Soundy and I probably shoot in the same Vancouver venues from what I know about the bands he shoots. Heavy metal bands with budget light systems in dark low-end clubs.
Heheh, could well be!

Quote:Lately my favorite trick is to trigger my Nikon SB800 flash in wireless mode. Being able to set the flash up at a completely different angle than you are shooting from greatly reduces the dreaded flash burn look...
Hmmm, I've seen only one guy using a remote flash so far, at the Lamplighter a month or two back... Social Disease, Pin Dolls... someone else I don't recall?
"I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them. So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."
-Marcus Cole
Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Street Photography Freeman 115 35,154 Jul 30, 2019, 00:03
Last Post: jogesh12345
  What's your dream photography job/project? Kuntujin 1 211 Jul 25, 2019, 02:28
Last Post: jogesh12345
  Great free photography documentaries on Youtube GerbenG 5 2,742 Jul 23, 2019, 01:15
Last Post: jogesh12345

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)