Help with shooting live bands..

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by STMel03, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. STMel03

    STMel03 TPF Noob!

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    A buddy of mine wants me to shoot some shots of his band tonight at a local bar.. I've never shot anything like this before so I have no clue as the what settings I should start with.. I have a nikon D80 and a SB 600 flash.. I'm assuming I don't want to use the flash because it will wash out all of the lights on stage...So what iso, shutter speed, and aperture should I shoot for?.. Granting I know I'm going to have to tweak it from there..

    Thanks in advance guys and gals! ;)
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You will never get one straight answer for this becuase there is none.

    The right answer is... use a lens with a large aperture (F/2.8 or numerically smaller) and use the lowest ISO and fastest shutter speed that lets you get properly exposed pictures.

    This is all going to be based on the strength and type of lighting you have at the band location.
     
  3. STMel03

    STMel03 TPF Noob!

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    My lens is a F/4.5 to F/5.6.. So I'll just shoot for the lowest(aka biggest) I can go.. I know my shutter speed is going to depend on if I want to stop action of not...I'm just afraid I'll have to set the iso so high that the pictures are going to have a lot of noise.. I guess I'll just play around with it and see what turns out..
     
  4. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    Agreed.
    My suggestion would be to experiment with rear-curtain sync flash. It opens the shutter first, then just before it closes the flash fires. With this method, you will get the stage-lighting colors, etc, some cool motion blur, and a nice sharp capture of the subject. Slow shutter with flash at the tail end. That flash will do wonders. Also try bouncing that flash off the ceiling.
     
  5. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    Rear sync is a good idea. with a minimumaperature of 4.5 your against sometough odds shooting without a flash. Your right at 1600 your shots are going to be grainy... but that may work who knows, as someone said in a thread a while ago its better to have grainy in focus photos than blurred images with less noise. If you have time and a little cash I would suggest running out to a camera shop and picking up a 50mm 1.8 it is only $120 and should allow you to shoot without a flash at an ISO around 800 (as long as the musicians are not jumping around) its also a lens you should have anyway considering the price. Try a bunch of stuff and then see what worked.
     
  6. STMel03

    STMel03 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the suggestions Double H .. I will try that as well.. When using the flash should I switch my wb to the flash mode of leave it in tungsten?
     
  7. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    Not sure, I do not own that flash. To be sure, just do a custom white balance when you get there, under the stage lights.

    Looking forward to seeing your results.
     
  8. GwagDesigns

    GwagDesigns TPF Noob!

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  9. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do this a lot. My typical settings are f/2.0 or larger, ISO 800 and 1/20 -1/40 sec. For the past 6 months or so I have been using 2 to 4 external flashes mounter to the ceiling or what ever is available and triggered be remote. They are typically set to 1/8th - 1/64th power just to add front fill on faces and such. This works well and permits faster exposure values but is expensive to get started. My quoted settings in the beginning of this post are for shots without any fill flash and with good stage lighting. Often a bar band has poor stage lighting that may only amount to a tree or two of 2 - 4 Par cans. That is not enough light unless you can shoot up around 3200 ISO.
    Some of my band shots:
    http://www.pbase.com/jstuedle/live_bands
     
  10. KristinaS

    KristinaS TPF Noob!

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    You've probably already shot this band, but I figured I'd offer my .02 anyway.
    I also do a lot of band photography and I usually shoot the widest I can go with the fastest shutter possible and ISO between 800 and 1600 on manual. Most of the band I shoot move around A LOT on stage and often times you're not allowed to use a flash during shows (and are only allowed to shoot the first three songs). I don't know what kind of band your buddy plays in, but I'm sure it's not the kind that wouldn't allow flash and has time restrictions.
    What I've found is every show is different. Any every one is a learning experience. Lighting circumstances differ as does your position in relation to the band/stage as well as the overall energy of the band.
    My suggestion would be to play around with various settings as well as rear sync to see what works best for the type of band and circumstance. My other suggestion would be to shoot as many frames as possible. I usually take around 200 or more pics during a show and sometimes only get a handful of ones that look good. It's really a crap shoot.
    Anyway, if you want to check out some of mine, here's the link. My page.
    Some galleries are better than others. Hope you got some good shots of the performance!
     
  11. aphelion

    aphelion TPF Noob!

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    Care to share your results and the conditions? I'm always interested in what others can offer.
     

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