Concert Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by beni_hung, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. beni_hung

    beni_hung TPF Noob!

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    I really want to get into shooting bands and singers at gigs and I am wondering if my lens is going to be good enough for the job. I've got a Tamron XR Di (IF) 28-75mm 1:2.8 mounted onto my Canon 7D.

    And if this won't work, or even if it will, what lens would be ideal for this type of situation?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Two lenses, two bodies. You will want to be able to switch quickly from wide to tight, as concerts tend to have a very quick, although somewhat predicable flow.

    A 17-55 + 70-200, both f/2.8
    I think 28-75 might be too tight on the wide end, specially that you will be working in smaller venues when you start
     
  3. beni_hung

    beni_hung TPF Noob!

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    Thank you! Great and quick advice! I will definitely look at getting a lens that is less tight. I also have my Canon 20D collecting dust, but I don't know if I'd want to use that at a low light concert. (ISO/noise and all).
     
  4. fotograf biel

    fotograf biel TPF Noob!

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    I also would recommend a 70-200mm 2.8 IS ... Why don't you use this lens on the 20d for some noisy black&white-pictures? on BW-pictures i don't care about noise ... and btw, most people like BW on concert photography...
     
  5. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The 7D has great high ISO performance; couple that with a constant f/2.8 lens that has a decent range for a crop frame and you've got a great start.

    Whatever lenses you get next really depend on what sort of gigs you plan on shooting.

    For example, most of the gigs I shoot are in tiny venues where the band isn't even on a stage and their jammed right up against the crowd (ie.: you can't even stretch out your arms if you're in the front), so I've stuck to my 35/1.8, 50/1.8 and the wide end of my kit lens. For the gigs in locations with stages, I can still get right up to the stage and lean on it, so I'm still sticking with wide-to-short-to-mid focal lengths most of the time.
     
  6. beni_hung

    beni_hung TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice!

    What about flashes and concert photography? Do you ever use them or are they generally forbidden? I've got the Canon 580II that I use for portraits right now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  7. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It depends on the venue, the bands and how you can use the flash. I only use flash if I can bounce it off a surface or use it off the hotshoe. If you're just going to stick it on the shoe and point it straight forward, you'll get garbage.

    I shoot small-time, unsigned local bands (some of them do have short tours through western Canada) and I know some of the musicians personally. When I asked one of them, he said they don't care.

    However, I try to stay away from flash whenever possible for a couple of reasons:

    1. Available light is more suited to my style.

    2. If you ever have a chance to start shooting bigger names, that's when flash can become a no-no. You don't want to have all or most of your experience shooting with flash when all you're permitted to use is available light.
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's really hard to say. I shot Shadows Fall last week and I was pressed against the stage. I was using a 24-70 f/2.8 on a FF camera and it worked fairly well as I couldn't really move around and the reach got me covered. I shot Norma Jean in December and mainly shot with my 17-40 f/4 as I was in a photography pit and everyone was that close. The 24-70 came out for a couple shots, but I was just too close for it to be effective. The 70-200 was used once, but it was at a packed show with no photo pit and I ended up shooting from one side of the stage and it just barely covered the far end of the stage.
     
  9. AE86

    AE86 TPF Noob!

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    Just get your widest aperture lens at stick with that! you might have to do a little bit of work but it makes to think and also forces you to try different angles so you don't get the same shot over and over again.


    I only say this because i shot a concert with a 50mm prime f1.8 I bought that lens just for night and it saved my ass none of my other lenses were wide enough, not even with jacked up iso speeds could i really get anything.

    Also IMO flash at a concert takes away from the feeling and vibe.


    fotograf biel this concert i'm talking about about i shot the whole thing in B+W which worked out great. I was really happy with the results at the time, but when i loaded them on the computer i liked them more when i changed them to colour. Luckily I shot in RAW

    Let me know what you think.

    Just B+W B+W Venice Queen - a set on Flickr

    Colour and B+W gallery Venice Queen - a set on Flickr
     
  10. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Again, that depends on how you use it. If you just blast it straight at your subject from the hotshoe, then, yes, absolutely, it does.

    But, if you use it properly off the hotshoe and soak in the available light, you can help define it...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. hankejp

    hankejp TPF Noob!

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    I like the shot Epp. Quick quesiton on using the flash and as you say soak in the the available light. Does powering down your bounced flash help to do this? I'm trying to get into shooting local bands in bars and such in my area. I haven't used a flash yet and just used the light that was provided to me. Here's a couple that I liked:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Just wondering if flash would have made these better.

    Thanks
     
  12. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The amount that the flash affects the photo depends on your ISO, aperture and flash power. That shot was probably f/8, ISO 200 and 1/4 flash power. With settings like that, you need a shutter speed of a second or longer to expose for available light. This will show all the movement like you see in the guitar, his hands and hair. When the flash pops somewhere within that exposure time, it will freeze the subject in the frame.

    For this shot, I held the camera by his feet and held the flash higher up and pointing more-or-less directly at him. The flash was popped by hand off the camera while I held the shutter in bulb.

    Only if you can place the flash off camera near the band members or bounce it somehow.
     

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