Coffee-Shop Band Session Advice? Thanks in Advance! <3

hugadinosaur

TPF Noob!
Joined
Dec 28, 2011
Messages
32
Reaction score
6
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Hello there!

I’ve done a bit of reading and searching… and just haven’t found anything quite conclusive enough for my tastes.

This Friday night I am doing a photo session for a coffee shop’s live band performance. I’d like to make these photographs extra special because I really like the owners of the shop. Also, this is a very ART/MUSIC oriented coffee shop. So think very artsy-fartsy stuff =D

I don’t do a whole lot of musical portraiture, at least not when they are actually performing. I truly am not all that sure what I’m getting into based on what the lighting will be like in the coffee shop, who the band will be, how many people will be there, et cetera. I just said I’d try to make it if my current schedule would suit, and so far it works out.

You might want to know what I’m working with – I have a Nikon D3100 and two lenses 18-55mm and 70-300mm

So far I have gathered that using a flash is a big no; which is common sense to me.
I’m pretty good with ISO and white balance. The aperture function on my camera is just really complex, but I’m learning!!
Some people prefer to use the 55mm lens, while others prefer to use the 300mm for crisper more detailed shots…

I also don’t want to take like…cliché shots. Does that make sense? I don’t want to take just boring, normal shots. But I also do not want to take anything too abstract.

Does anyone have any advice? These are just promotional pictures. If he pays me it is not because I made a contractual agreement with him, it’s because he just wants to. If anything I’ll just get free food and drinks! : ) Thank you guys so much! All of your advice is greatly appreciated.
 

o hey tyler

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Aug 3, 2009
Messages
9,783
Reaction score
2,726
Location
Maine
Website
www.tylerdrummphoto.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Okay, so on Friday night you are going to be shooting with an f/3.5 to f/5.6 kit lens... Indoors, in a cafe with what I would guess to be quite minimal lighting during the performance. Well, that will probably mean that you'll need to have your ISO very high, probably maxed out on your camera. You'll probably want to have VR on if you have it on your kit lens. If there's any possible way you can get your hands on a 35mm f/1.8 or a 50mm f/1.8 before the event, your chances will be much better at getting higher quality photos.

A monopod wouldn't hurt either.
 

analog.universe

TPF Noob!
Joined
Apr 16, 2011
Messages
1,923
Reaction score
330
Location
Vermont
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Okay, so on Friday night you are going to be shooting with an f/3.5 to f/5.6 kit lens... Indoors, in a cafe with what I would guess to be quite minimal lighting during the performance. Well, that will probably mean that you'll need to have your ISO very high, probably maxed out on your camera. You'll probably want to have VR on if you have it on your kit lens. If there's any possible way you can get your hands on a 35mm f/1.8 or a 50mm f/1.8 before the event, your chances will be much better at getting higher quality photos.

A monopod wouldn't hurt either.

This ^

When I shoot small shows in bars and stuff, my go to lenses are my 35mm 1.4 (for full body shots and group shots) and my 85mm 1.8 (for individual portraits). I pretty much shoot wide open the whole time (unless I really can't do without the DOF) and my ISOs are still in the 2k-3k range. I'll often shoot the 85 propped on my knees or a table so I can get down to 1/80 or 1/60sec.

The main challenge for you will be getting enough light. You can pick up a 50mm 1.8 lens for like $100 that will help you out tremendously. It's also just a nice lens to have for lots of different stuff, especially at the price...
 
OP
hugadinosaur

hugadinosaur

TPF Noob!
Joined
Dec 28, 2011
Messages
32
Reaction score
6
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I have a super awesome best friend who is like a top notch pro, I'm almost certain she'll let me borrow whatever equipment I politely ask for!

Being a broke college student is kind of crappy. Being a broke college student who has an imagination though, not so crappy! Thank you guys! You guys ROCK!
 
OP
hugadinosaur

hugadinosaur

TPF Noob!
Joined
Dec 28, 2011
Messages
32
Reaction score
6
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
And if you are going to ask why I just didn't ask her first --- I really just hate annoying my Yoda of photography ALL THE TIME.
 

analog.universe

TPF Noob!
Joined
Apr 16, 2011
Messages
1,923
Reaction score
330
Location
Vermont
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I have a super awesome best friend who is like a top notch pro, I'm almost certain she'll let me borrow whatever equipment I politely ask for!

Being a broke college student is kind of crappy. Being a broke college student who has an imagination though, not so crappy! Thank you guys! You guys ROCK!

You're welcome!

If you can borrow from a pro, then just borrow the fastest prime they've got. And remember wider lenses let you use slower shutter speeds, so they're a little better in low light.
 

MLeeK

TPF Noob!
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
6,761
Reaction score
1,380
Location
NY
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Aperture isn't all that complex. Let me see if I can help a little:
Aperture is simply how big the opening in a lens opens up. If it is "WIDE OPEN" a lot of light flows through. The numbers may be what is confusing you a "WIDE OPEN" aperture is a low number. I tell newbies to think of it as how much a lens is CLOSED. If it's closed 3.5% it's not much. If it's closed 11% that's a lot more than 3.5%.
If a lens has a big opening it's like a faucet when it's wide open-LOTS of light flows through. If a lens has a small opening (f/11) only a little light trickles through.
Aperture controls something else too: Depth of Field or depth of focus. Think about when you squint your eyes to make something get sharper to see. Aperture works just the same. If you squint or close it down a lot (f/11) you make more in focus. Just don't forget you are letting in less light too.
Some basic guidelines I use for beginners with aperture: Your aperture should be equal to or greater than the number of people you are photographing to achieve enough depth of field or depth of focus to keep everyone well focused.

Shutter speed is how fast or slow your shutter opens. If it's open for a long time=lots of light flows through. If it's open for a very short time only a little light flows through.
And the other thing shutter controls is motion blur: Open for a long time you could move your hand, shake, the subject could move. Open for a short time there is no time for anything to move. Shutter speed is written in a fraction-like the pie crap in high school. if you have a pie cut into 4ths and a pie cut into 10ths the piece from the 1/4 is a lot more than the piece from 1/15.
Some guidelines for shutter speed:
If your subject is still life no slower than 1/80 (some teachers say 1/50)
If your subject is alive and holding fairly still no slower than 1/125
If your subject is alive and MOVING no slower than 1/250 (toddlers or probably your band members)
If your subject is alive and runs no slower than 1/500


For your shoot tonight you are going to be limited by the aperture on your lenses which is 3.5 at the widest and 5.6 at the far end of the zoom. Because of that I'd probably choose the 70-300 for the detail shots and the individual members. You can shoot at 70mm and use f/3.5 which lets in a lot more light than 5.6. You will need a minimum shutter somewhere between 1/125 if they're holding still and 1/250 if it's a fast moving band. Which then pushes your ISO up to about it's max.
For the group shots you'll use the 18-55 and try to get as close as you can so you can remain at that 3.5 aperture.
Because you are limited by your lens' apetures I'd probably choose to shoot in shutter priority and use auto ISO. Your camera is already going to be forced to use the lowest aperture you can use, so setting aperture priority won't do you much good and you'll then have to be sure to be watching that shutter speed for every shot. You can then tell the camera that you want the shutter to drop no lower than 1/160 or so.

I will warn you now that if it is a dimly lit venue you are going to have a hard time. You are limited by the abilities of your lenses and they are just plain going to need more light. You will have to max out your ISO and with your camera that may be a big grain issue in the images. If you know how to shoot and process raw images I'd definitely go raw for this. Noise removal in Lightroom and PhotoShop is pretty impressive.
 
OP
hugadinosaur

hugadinosaur

TPF Noob!
Joined
Dec 28, 2011
Messages
32
Reaction score
6
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Oh no I must have worded that weird, I totally understand aperture. My camera just makes it really stupid to control it. My friend, "the pro" even commented on how ridiculous it was on how you have to change it. You have to go through a ridiculous process, there are no shortcuts either. But it's okay, I'll get the hang of it! :)
But thank you Mleek for the refresher, it is always really great to have someone else explain their view on aperture. Everyone explains it a little differently, and it always seems a bit clearer after. I really like the reference you used of the faucet, that is a nice one! I actually think I'm going to copy and paste your post and save it on my computer, just as reference. It was one of THE BEST explanations I've ever gotten.
Some people explain it with too many words I think.

I'm pretty good with Lightroom so if it's too dark, hopefully I can correct it.

Thanks so much for your input!
 

o hey tyler

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Aug 3, 2009
Messages
9,783
Reaction score
2,726
Location
Maine
Website
www.tylerdrummphoto.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Oh no I must have worded that weird, I totally understand aperture. My camera just makes it really stupid to control it. My friend, "the pro" even commented on how ridiculous it was on how you have to change it. You have to go through a ridiculous process, there are no shortcuts either. But it's okay, I'll get the hang of it! :)
But thank you Mleek for the refresher, it is always really great to have someone else explain their view on aperture. Everyone explains it a little differently, and it always seems a bit clearer after. I really like the reference you used of the faucet, that is a nice one! I actually think I'm going to copy and paste your post and save it on my computer, just as reference. It was one of THE BEST explanations I've ever gotten.
Some people explain it with too many words I think.

I'm pretty good with Lightroom so if it's too dark, hopefully I can correct it.

Thanks so much for your input!

Basically all you have to do on your camera to change the aperture is to hold down the AV button and spin the control wheel. On prosumer bodies, there are independent controls for aperture and shutter speed.
 

e.rose

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
4,790
Reaction score
1,985
Location
Nashville, Tn
Website
www.emilymcgonigle.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Yeah basically what everyone said above...

You need a WIDE aperture, and if it's a coffee shop, there's going to be NO light.

I did these in a coffee shop that sounds much like what you're describing:

XVSK - a set on Flickr

there was NO LIGHT. There was a dark blue and some weird amber color light, haphazardly hung, along with a couple floor lamps, but all of those were dim.

I had to shoot with a slower shutter speed than I would have liked, an ISO that was way higher than I would have liked, and with my aperture set super wide.

The band really liked them, but it was *definitely* not easy... and you can clearly see noise in all of them because of everything above.

So definitely get a lens that will open to AT LEAST f/1.8... if not f/1.4.
 

Omofo

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
125
Reaction score
1
Location
Austin, Tx
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hello there!

I&#8217;ve done a bit of reading and searching&#8230; and just haven&#8217;t found anything quite conclusive enough for my tastes.

This Friday night I am doing a photo session for a coffee shop&#8217;s live band performance. I&#8217;d like to make these photographs extra special because I really like the owners of the shop. Also, this is a very ART/MUSIC oriented coffee shop. So think very artsy-fartsy stuff =D

I don&#8217;t do a whole lot of musical portraiture, at least not when they are actually performing. I truly am not all that sure what I&#8217;m getting into based on what the lighting will be like in the coffee shop, who the band will be, how many people will be there, et cetera. I just said I&#8217;d try to make it if my current schedule would suit, and so far it works out.

You might want to know what I&#8217;m working with &#8211; I have a Nikon D3100 and two lenses 18-55mm and 70-300mm

So far I have gathered that using a flash is a big no; which is common sense to me.
I&#8217;m pretty good with ISO and white balance. The aperture function on my camera is just really complex, but I&#8217;m learning!!
Some people prefer to use the 55mm lens, while others prefer to use the 300mm for crisper more detailed shots&#8230;

I also don&#8217;t want to take like&#8230;cliché shots. Does that make sense? I don&#8217;t want to take just boring, normal shots. But I also do not want to take anything too abstract.

Does anyone have any advice? These are just promotional pictures. If he pays me it is not because I made a contractual agreement with him, it&#8217;s because he just wants to. If anything I&#8217;ll just get free food and drinks! : ) Thank you guys so much! All of your advice is greatly appreciated.

If you could barrow your friends lens that would be ideal, if not just ask the musicians if they mind if you use a flash. It will kill the colors so you will want to shoot in black and white. I take a lot of band photography and have never been turned down.
 

e.rose

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
4,790
Reaction score
1,985
Location
Nashville, Tn
Website
www.emilymcgonigle.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
If you could barrow your friends lens that would be ideal, if not just ask the musicians if they mind if you use a flash. It will kill the colors so you will want to shoot in black and white. I take a lot of band photography and have never been turned down.

Yeah, honestly, I know they always say it... but I've never met a band that told me, "No, we hate that sh*t" after I've asked them, do you care if I use flash? Some of the lighting schemes at these shows are WORSE than a single camera flash anyway. A NYE show I went to, I was surprised no one in the band had an epileptic seizure from the strobe lights they had in their faces half the time. :lol:

So yeah... if you need to use flash, just talk to the band. Chances are they're not gonna care. And if they do... then just be polite about it and figure something else out.
 

Omofo

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
125
Reaction score
1
Location
Austin, Tx
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
If you could barrow your friends lens that would be ideal, if not just ask the musicians if they mind if you use a flash. It will kill the colors so you will want to shoot in black and white. I take a lot of band photography and have never been turned down.

Yeah, honestly, I know they always say it... but I've never met a band that told me, "No, we hate that sh*t" after I've asked them, do you care if I use flash? Some of the lighting schemes at these shows are WORSE than a single camera flash anyway. A NYE show I went to, I was surprised no one in the band had an epileptic seizure from the strobe lights they had in their faces half the time. :lol:

So yeah... if you need to use flash, just talk to the band. Chances are they're not gonna care. And if they do... then just be polite about it and figure something else out.

Here's a shot that I took with the pop-up flash. I would have to have shot this above 6400 iso w/o the flash and then still combat the odd stage lighting.
DSC05639_1_.jpg
 

e.rose

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
4,790
Reaction score
1,985
Location
Nashville, Tn
Website
www.emilymcgonigle.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Yeah, honestly, I know they always say it... but I've never met a band that told me, "No, we hate that sh*t" after I've asked them, do you care if I use flash? Some of the lighting schemes at these shows are WORSE than a single camera flash anyway. A NYE show I went to, I was surprised no one in the band had an epileptic seizure from the strobe lights they had in their faces half the time. :lol:

So yeah... if you need to use flash, just talk to the band. Chances are they're not gonna care. And if they do... then just be polite about it and figure something else out.

Here's a shot that I took with the pop-up flash. I would have to have shot this above 6400 iso w/o the flash and then still combat the odd stage lighting.

You have a lot more going on in that image than just pop-up flash... :lol:

When I'm talking about flash... I'm talking about using a strobe... like the 430EXII I use for example... not the pop up. And again I said it was a bad idea to point it straight at the band... I'm not really sure what to defend, because I'm not honestly sure what you're getting at.

I've never ever, in my life had to shoot at ISO6400 for a shot using my flash.
 

Ron Evers

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jun 28, 2008
Messages
6,624
Reaction score
2,582
Location
In the country 60km north of Toronto, Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
As others have said you need a fast lens for low light conditions. I personally am hesitant to shoot wide open because you have such a short DOF & focusing is difficult in low light. Here are a couple I took with f1.4 lenses shot @ f2 & my ISO maxed out @3200.


1. 58mm f1.4, squeaked out a shutter speed of 1/80s.

P1080405sm.jpg




2. 50mm f1.4, I only got a shutter speed of 1/25s & you can see a lot of motion blur.

P1080419.jpg




3. Now this shot was taken with a 45mm f2 lens wide open & I got a shutter speed of 1/50s.

P1000833sm.jpg




These are all manual focus lenses that I use.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Top