Regarding live band photography...

BeccaBeatdown

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and flash in general. I've been going around to local venues following a local band and (surprise!) photographing them. I wouldn't say I'm incredibly comfortable with photography, but I've been teaching myself little bits over the years. At any rate, my built in flash is rather obnoxious, and I think takes away from the photo quality. I can manage to take a few shots without flash, but there is NO lighting in these clubs, or practically none. Mainly, in my opinion because they're primary use isn't for bands. That being said, I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT and I was wondering if a different flash would be to my benefit, and if so, what should I look for in an external flash.

Beyond that, do you guys have any tips or points for shooting live bands in quite possibly the worst lighting ever?
 

Sw1tchFX

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Think off camera hot shoe strobes, 430EXish, and gels. You can use the gels to match the color of the lights in the club, set a few 430's around the performance, and fire away! You can keep your ISO's low, shutter speeds high, and it will still look normal. You can use radio triggers to fire them.

If not, than high ISO, open your lens all the way, no flash, and pan your shots.
 

Garbz

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As above. I would rather a noisy image than kill the mood with a flash. Those people who typically say an image is unusably noisy clearly never print images. I have a D200 which is well known for noise at High ISOs, but I took a photo of a band once at ISO3200 the entire night. Looked like crap on the screen but after a bit of cleaning through a capable NR program like Neatimage or Noise image I produced very good looking prints from it.

Sometimes you'll get lucky and the lighting is great but often Noise is a tradeoff and possibly a creative advantage that you have to deal with.
 

jstuedle

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I shoot bands with a D1X, (much noisier than Garbz D200) a very noisy camera at 800 and get very respectable results.
 

Fiendish Astronaut

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Fast lens at least 2.8f and high ISO are the key. Using flash can ruin the mood you're trying to capture and some bands don't like it - in fact it could get you thrown out. Having said that there are occassions when fill flash can be used beautifully - for instance: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreadfuldan/70365314/

But you really have to know what you are doing. Using flash properly is an art - using it properly when shooting a concert is almost a miracle. So I'd say don't do it - especially if you're going to try it with your built in flash...
 

cameramike

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i've been in the same situation i shoot for my friends band all the time and it is god awful lighting. as said, flash can sometimes really bother the band, i know last time i shot i asked afterwards if the flash bothered them and all three members responded "there was flash?" the band was so into what they were doing they weren't worrying about me and my camera.

you say your not really that comfortable yet with it, try to get comfortable it will make shooting the show a lot better, you'll get some really nice shots when you are not afraid to get right up in their face. Talk to them first before you start shooting and let them know you will be photographing and such, they'll probably be psyched. also move around if you can if you want a shot of the singer move to the area where he is and you'll get better shots.

as said some say flash ruins the mood, i though love some of the shots i got last with my xti.


Knowing their music can help too, if you know a part in the song where maybe it gets really energetic and you know they'll go crazy thats the time to shoot.
 

DavidB

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Shooting in dimly lit clubs with low light is next tro impossible even with high ISO setting, so in that case a flash, strobes, or more ambient lighting is necessary. There are no miracle tricks.

kiss600.jpg


buffett1.jpg


celine1.jpg


destinys1.jpg
 

fotogenik

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I recently shot the Velcro Pygmies here in Louisville and was very pleased at my results. I shot many of the images at very high iso (1600) and still used fill flash.

The biggest part of that is to make sure it is fill flash and not key lighting. I think I kept the mood of the performance and still got some awesome shots from it.

Here is a link if ya wanna take a look:

http://www.fotogenikfoto.com/proofs/vp/
 

Sideburns

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I recently shot the Velcro Pygmies here in Louisville and was very pleased at my results. I shot many of the images at very high iso (1600) and still used fill flash.

The biggest part of that is to make sure it is fill flash and not key lighting. I think I kept the mood of the performance and still got some awesome shots from it.

Here is a link if ya wanna take a look:

http://www.fotogenikfoto.com/proofs/vp/

That guitarist's hair is awesome!
 

JerryPH

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Besides the fact that many concerts won't even let you bring a camera in, if they do, the majority will not let you use a flash.

Its a lucky photographer that gets a chance to bring a flash and camera to a concert now-a-days,
 

dangerdoormouse

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Save up and buy a Canon EF 50mm 1.4, it should cost you about $300-$400 (sorry I am not sure exactly as I live in the UK). It will revolutionise your photography life. Not only is it great for low light concert shots but you will find that it is an excellent portrait lens on the XT
 

cameramike

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it really depends what type of show it is whether or not you are allowed camera\flashes. if its a big time band playing at a big time venue (basically if its an underground band you will probably be allowed). also chances are you dont have 300 +$ to drop on a lens.
 

wjastrow

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It's a challenge.

I'll plainly say I'm an amateur still learning to master my Nikon D70 (almost 5 years later) and I've bravely tried to shoot at a variety of clubs (not concerts). Lighting? It's horrendous.

I have an external (SB-800) flash but tend not to use it in these shoots. I prefer the stage lighting to capture the ambiance, usually from the other side of the room (with a 70-300mm lense).

If I >knew< the performers (an unbelievable luxury!!), I'd position myself as close as possible for the shots I wanted. If possible, use a tripod, and pretend you're shooting at night.
 

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