Concert photography tips?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Kittyy, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Kittyy
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    Kittyy New Member

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    Just got back from the Trans Siberian Orchestra in Ottawa with my girlfriend and I decided to bring along my Nikon D40 and my 55-200mm VR lens. Well... my pictures didn't turn out so great. A lot of the were blury and jagged. I didn't have much time to play with my settings because I was enjoying the concert.

    So, anyone have any good tips for future concerts? Going to see Sam Roberts soon.

    Edit:

    Picture down below.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  2. chrisburke
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    chrisburke New Member

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    man, i was gonna go see that, but my wife didnt think it would be smart to leave our newborn with a sitter this early in the game.. especially since we live 2 hours from ottawa... how was the show??? man i wish i was able to be there.. I love the TSO
  3. prodigy2k7
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    prodigy2k7 New Member

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    Tripod/Monopod, High ISO, VR (if no monopod), Fast Lens (Big aperture), flash, stage lights...
  4. chrisburke
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    chrisburke New Member

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    it would be a lot easier to tell you how to improve if we saw some of the shots, so we can tell you what was wrong
  5. Garbz
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    Garbz New Member

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    God I was about to say spot on till I saw the second last word. Nothing ruins stage photos more than blasting a big flash. The photo can only see the performance, so effectively blasting the show with a flash you kill the only remaining interest.

    Use fill flash at the most, use sparingly, and use artistically. Do not use as a primary light source as the result is rarely interesting. Embrace the noise. Interesting noisy pictures are better than pristine boring white ones.
  6. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    The most important thing for good exposures with night or indoor concert photography is a fast lens. Anything slower than f/2.8 will be hopeless, unless you like craploads of noise or grain in your photos.
  7. lockwood81
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    lockwood81 New Member

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    I use spot metering....to expose the subject I want the photo of properly.

    Example of a play in very low light.
    1/30
    f/3.5
    iso 800
    at 200mm IS

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  8. Village Idiot
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    Village Idiot Well-Known Member

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    But you would recommend a tripod?

    You want as fast shutter speed as possible. By the time you get to where a tripod would be any use, your subjects would be just a blur. Plus most venuew don't allow them.
  9. Kittyy
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    Kittyy New Member

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    Concert was great! Light show was fantastic too.

    I'm not really sure if I was actually allowed to bring my camera, so a tripod is out of the question. 1600 ISO, widest aperture with my 55-200mm zoom.

    I'm looking at a Sigma 105mm. Hopefully that'll be a little better.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  10. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    I retract my previous statement, because those aren't too bad!

    In fact, the second one looks like something I'd expect to see on an advertising poster! Very nice.

    Um... that can't be. The 55-200 is only f/4-5.6.
  11. lockwood81
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    lockwood81 New Member

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    Looking at the EXIF data...they vary from f/4.5 to 5
  12. FlyingFly
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    FlyingFly New Member

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    DO NOT use any flash at a classic concert. This would definitely anger the player and you may be driven away from the concert.

    DO NOT produce any noise at classic concert. The shutter noise may disturb those who sit by you.

    At a rock concert the shutter noise might be out of question. You need high ISO, faster VR lens. Monopod/tripod is not a good idea as it takes up too much space and may annoy other audience.

    BTW: Next time you shoot a concert with mainly red light, you'd better set your D40's color profile as Mode II (AdobeRGB). This helps reduce overflow in red channel. Thus you may no longer see red mess up. However you'd better later convert it to sRGB color space to produce correct saturation before you upload it to web, as most image viewers including Internet Explorer don't support AdobeRGB.
  13. Kittyy
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    Kittyy New Member

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    Ooops, sorry. Thanks for pointing that out. Little mistake on my part.
  14. Fiendish Astronaut
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    Fiendish Astronaut New Member

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    No flash (unless the venue is like a cave - in which case turn it right down and bounce off the ceiling), spot meter, if it's a large venue you might be able to get away with 1/125, f3.2, 800 or less ISO. But you might have to push to 1600ISO if it's a dark one. Remember to expose for and meter your subject's face - the rest will fall into place from there.
  15. Garbz
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    Garbz New Member

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    You're entering in a world of colour hassles that opens potential to go wrong. Really shoot RAW and adjust the saturation to prevent the red channel from clipping is all that's needed, and it will reduce the inevitable "Why do my images look crap in xxxxx viewer" thread. You even benefit from the fact that the camera sensor has a wider gamut than AdobeRGB so you end up with even more latitude to play with.

    Depends. The blur can be used for artistic effect as you well may know. But in most cases unless the band shoot is staged then it is unlikely you'll achieve much other than royally piss off the crowd if you take in a tripod.

    This could have been better but I had no tripod. Shutter wasn't slow enough.
    [​IMG]
  16. Village Idiot
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    Village Idiot Well-Known Member

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    I take it that it wasn't a crowded night? Most venues wouldn't let you setup a tripod. Pretty much all medium sized to large venues I've been to don't allow photography (unless you "sneak" in a P&S) unless you can get a photo pass. The only places I've been in in Baltimore that don't care about photography are small dive bars where very new local bands play.
  17. Garbz
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    Garbz New Member

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    It was small and crowded but shot handheld with 50mm AI f/1.8. I would have preferred a tripod and a slightly faster shutter but as it is the picture isn't very sharp.
    And this was a big gig 4-5 bands playing for a select set of fans. No large venue with photography banned.
  18. gsgary
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    gsgary Well-Known Member

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    Tripods and monopods are a total waste of time for shooting bands you need to be able to move fast
  19. Fiendish Astronaut
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    Fiendish Astronaut New Member

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    You can get well lit pictures using available light. I was pleased with this at the last gig I went to. No photo pit, and reasonably tough lighting condition. I shot this at 1/125, f.28, ISO1000. At a larger venue I might go for 1/160, f3.2, ISO800 for this sort of shot.

    [​IMG]

    I shot this in RAW, but actually didn't need to do any alteration. The light was very red, but if you choose tungsten WB then it will bring out any blues in the light which can set off the red quite nicely. And no, you can't bring those out via RAW afterwards very easily! (I've tried).
    [​IMG]
  20. JerryPH
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    JerryPH New Member

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    Leave the tripod and monopod at home. Same for the flash. You will be escorted out if you use a high powered flash. Anyways it is only effective if you are 50 feet or closer.

    Fast lens, constant aperture and higher ISO are your friends. You can *always* clean out a good amount of the noise with the right software.

    Find out in advance if you can even bring in a dSLR. Many places do not mind P&S cameras, but show you the door when they see the bigger cameras and longer lenses.

    I would love to do this concert again with my D700, but these pics were with a D200 and 70-200 lens:

    Headley:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Tokio Hotel:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    With a little creative cropping you can get some nice close ups:
    [​IMG]

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