shooting in a live music venue

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by clickclicksnap, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. clickclicksnap

    clickclicksnap TPF Noob!

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    so a noob question... i'm new to the forums and i just want to say i've been very impressed with what i've seen here... on to the point... i've been shooting for a few years and have mainly done portraits, extreme sports shots and lots of random conceptual stuff... i play in a band locally and would like to shoot other bands that we play with but i have some questions... lighting can be a big issue (what with no house lights and lots of colourful stage lights) and alot of the venues in my town don't allow flash photog... i have a rebel xt with the 18 - 55 that came with it, a 50mm 1.8 and i'm in the process of getting a 70 - 200 f2.0... any tips or tricks for shooting in this kind of environment would be fantastic... thanks guys...
     
  2. photoman720

    photoman720 TPF Noob!

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    Well since it is going to be low light, use the 50 f/1.8 because you can allow more light in and use a faster shutter speed.
     
  3. clickclicksnap

    clickclicksnap TPF Noob!

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    cool solid advice... thats what i was thinking anyway... thanks for the help...
     
  4. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    I shoot primarily live concert photos, so I'll give you some pointers that I've learned from experience. First of all: invest in fast glass. I never enter any venue with anything slower than an f/2.8 constant-aperture lens hanging off the front of my camera, and on many occassions, I've been forced to resort to using a 50mm f/1.4 prime. Second: I'm not sure what your camera's capabilities are, but I always have my ISO set at 1600 for live concerts. I can set my KM5D to 3200, but the noise is terrible. 1600 with this camera is perfectly acceptable, and I can get gallery-quality prints made as large as 20"x30" with a 6mp JPEG image.

    Now, a few tips on exposure. Your first few photos are throw-aways. Their only value lies in helping you get the correct exposure values for the rest of the night. I always start the night in aperture-priority mode and set it wide open, then set my metering to spot. I focus on the most brightly-lit spots I can find, then dial back my shutter speed until the exposure looks "right." Then, I underexpose by about a half-stop. Why, you ask? Because this makes my images look exactly like they would to a spectator. The atmosphere in clubs is dark and moody, and I try to mimic the actual experience so as to give people who view my images a feeling for what it was actually like to be there. The slightly faster shutter speeds - along with the built-in anti-shake - also help to prevent blurry images from handheld shooting in a rough crowd.

    Next, you'll want to custom-set your white balance. Club owners seem to be in love with red lighting, for whatever reason, and with auto white balance, it's nearly impossible to avoid blown-out highlights. I typically set mine at 3500K for a color temperature. This seems to most closely mimic the actual colors in a club scene. And if the colors still don't look right, I have the option with some photos of converting to B&W, and this allows me to salvage some of them.

    Last, have patience. It's not going to be easy, and you'll be frustrated A LOT. Keep your cool, have patience, and work with your gear, and the results will be EXTREMELY satisfying.

    Here's a few examples to whet your appetite:

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    Stay focused, and keep shooting! Remember, not a single one of these photos were taken with anything resembling pro gear! An entry level Minolta DSLR and either a Minolta 50mm f/1.4 or a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX zoom. Total cost including a 2GB memory card: About $1000!
     
  5. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    Pretty much what I was going to say.. (Nice pics by the way). The only thing I would add to that is to shoot RAW. then you can play a bit in Post Production if needed.
     

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