Shooting a show.(small indoor concert)


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Apr 30, 2009
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I have been the photographer for my friends band for awhile now and have shot at several shows of theirs. All basicly the same lighting no matter where it is. Dark crowd, multi colored spot lights going everywhere and the band lit up by colored stage lights etc... I have been using my Nikon D40 using my standard 18-55mm Nikkor lens, 70-300mm Sigma and 50-200mm Nikkor ill also be using a fast fixed 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor for the first time tonight. I get decent shots, i dont like flash at all and considering my extrenal flash was broken a few shows ago i wont be at all tonight. Anyway here is a pic from my last show


And this is a photo from another photographer(who worked for the newspaper) i met that night.


Now she was using a $2000 Canon that she made very clear to me when i was talking to her. I feel that i am able to achieve shots as nice as hers with my equipment with some fine tweaking of my camera settings. What do you guys think?
Probably not.

Her camera is expensive for a reason. She probably had the ISO bumped up high, and fast glass, such as a f/2.8 lens.

If a $500 camera could do the same as a $2500 camera, nobody would buy the $2500 camera....get it?
I wasnt hoping for that response but i was being optimistic hehe. Well i will be using a fast lens tonight i will see how i do with that. I feel like the color could be abit more vivid more me atleast. But i think you for the response. I dont feel that i my skills so much now hehe.
Its not the camera....its the photographer.
Your D40 is perfectly capable of getting a shot just as good as that one the newspaper lady shot, you just have to work at it a little more.

If you dont have a fast prime lens...
Run in manual mode.
I dont know what lens you were using, but open that thing up as far as it will go. f/3.5 most likely will be as open as you can get it.
Choose as fast a shutter speed as possible to get rid of the motion blur. Preferably 1/250th will work great.
Bump up the ISO to 800 or higher if needed.
Your might have to trick the meter. Move it into spot meter mode, and meter off his neck, that should work pretty well. If it doesnt, switch to center weight and meter as normal.
Shoot it in RAW!!!

Dont worry if its a little can fix that post processing, perticularly if you shoot it in RAW mode. If its going to be underexposed, try to keep it less than a single stop under or better. The data will be there, so you just need to bump up it up in photoshop or whatever PP program you use.
In this case, you'll want to sacrifice exposure for less motion blur. Correcting exposure PP is WAY easier than correcting motion blur.
As stated above, it's the photographer who makes the shot...That 50mm 1.8 lens is awesome and you should be able to get some great shots with it. Just have fun and experiment with the settings.

Oh and post the pictures when you get them up on your computer..I will be waiting to see!
Thanks guys, i always shoot in Manual or shutter priority. I was using the 18-55mm nikkor that usually comes in the kit. I didnt buy the kit but got the lens anyway. So even being a little under exposed the data is all still there? Yea this time i will shoot RAW rather then jpeg. Most people come up to me and ask to see the pics so i have just been using jpeg. Anyway thanks for the tips guys im going to try that tonight and i will post my results. thanks again

Even with that shot, brightening it up a bit and adjusting the saturation levels, can bring out the stuff that was missing. And in RAW mode, the camera doesnt compress the final image, so it retains information that the jpeg compression would normally toss out.....that information can help out alot later when you make adjustments.
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There is a point where the exposure will lose the detail, but in general, a single stop or so, isnt that big a deal. Just watch your exposure meter, and try not to let it get too low.

Something else to try, is shoot it at ISO 800, and bump the EV levels up. So basically the camera will brighten up the exposure, without adding alot of the noise issues a higher ISO will bring.

The main thing is do whatever you gotta do to get rid of motion blur.

Another trick, is do your half-press, and wait for him to pause. If you watch him closely, there will be a point where he will stop moving...snap it then.
Ok guys lastnight was a pretty extreme night. I fell and got a concusion but anyway i came out with alot of nice shots. Atleast i think so here is just one example i have to go through all 500 and pick the bests but heres a nice one i just picked out to show.
Cool....looks like it work out pretty good. Much sharper image for sure.:thumbup:
I don't think she was making it clear she had a 2000 camera. Something tells me she just dropped that bit of information for conversations purpose.

And her shot definitely demonstrates the gap that exists between the camera lines. Can you get the same quality, sure - but you are going to have to make a lot more sacrifices than she would have to.

The last shot is nice, but it is definitely a bit soft.
Thanks, ill get all them uploaded to flickr later. I shouldnt be up after the injury i just wanted some feed back. Yea i was working with a manual focus 50mm f/1.8. Its hard to get focused in the dark through that tiny viewfinder but im getting better.

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