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Live Music Photography(and other on stage events too)
Equipment• Ear plugs. The cheap foam ones are very good• Fast lenses and cameras with big sensors and  low noise are great...
Get Lots of Bad Photos• Get lots of bad photos you’ll get more good photos• Along with sports this is the type of photogra...
One of My Bad Photos
Lighting is Very Important• The amount varies from plenty to not nearly  enough.• Generally the bigger the venue the more ...
And the Speed of the Band• Some bands move fast almost all the time,• And some hardly at all.• Fast bands need high shutte...
When the Lights are Low• If the light is low wait for them to stop or  slow• Focus shoot, focus shoot,repeat• There is no ...
Who do we photograph• Mostly the lead singers• Try shots from near the centre- you’ll be  low, so the angles will be tough...
Some Hints• Earplugs• All things being equal photograph from the  guitar body side (stage right)• If it’s crowded work you...
More Hints• Try a few different positions• If they do something good be ready for  them to do it again
Tight Head Shots• Look for good expression, face not  blocked by the microphone, no bad  shadow on face the from microphon...
Wait for the Singer to Back off       the Microphone
Photograph rappers from the palm  side of the microphone hand
Lots of noise, bad colour but a          good photo
Direct Flash Worked in        the 70’s
Playing Instruments• Guitarist on knees. Shoot from their head  level or a little lower• Guitarist writhing on stage-hard ...
Two Heads are Better Than One• Two band members interacting• You probably can’t get them both in  focus• Focus on the one ...
The Whole Band• Hard to get let alone make good• Position yourself to get the drummer in  the shot• Usually near the centr...
The Whole Band (easier if there’s no keyboards)
Flash• Flash usually not allowed in big venues• Use the least amount of light possible• Flash bounced from ceiling general...
Bounced Flash
Back light face in darkness• Lens wide open• Shutter speed not too slow-1/30 or faster-  unless the light is too low• Adju...
Fill Flash
Live music
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Live music

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Live music

  1. 1. Live Music Photography(and other on stage events too)
  2. 2. Equipment• Ear plugs. The cheap foam ones are very good• Fast lenses and cameras with big sensors and low noise are great• But DX sensors are useful for extending the range of long lenses (200mm equals 300mm)• But you can shoot with pretty much anything
  3. 3. Get Lots of Bad Photos• Get lots of bad photos you’ll get more good photos• Along with sports this is the type of photography with the highest proportion of out of focus, blurred and just bad photographs• If the faces are mostly in shadow or moving too fast shoot whenever you can get a technically good photo-you can pick the best expressions later• Check the shots on the monitor quickly but not often• Shot lots when something good is happening
  4. 4. One of My Bad Photos
  5. 5. Lighting is Very Important• The amount varies from plenty to not nearly enough.• Generally the bigger the venue the more the light• Heavily filtered light (all one deep colour) is generally too low to get a good photo• Compose with the highlights and bright midtones• Remember separation• The shadows are usually too dark to count on getting much detail
  6. 6. And the Speed of the Band• Some bands move fast almost all the time,• And some hardly at all.• Fast bands need high shutter speeds• With little depth of field it is hard to follow focus• Take lots of pictures…oh, I already said that
  7. 7. When the Lights are Low• If the light is low wait for them to stop or slow• Focus shoot, focus shoot,repeat• There is no depth of field
  8. 8. Who do we photograph• Mostly the lead singers• Try shots from near the centre- you’ll be low, so the angles will be tough• From the side you’ll get more flattering angles on singers, but they’ll mostly be in profile• Photograph rappers from the palm side of the microphone hand
  9. 9. Some Hints• Earplugs• All things being equal photograph from the guitar body side (stage right)• If it’s crowded work your way along the side (saying “Excuse me please”)and then in towards the stage right along the speakers• Balance getting the shot with being a jerk• If you’re getting paid be a jerk if you really have to• Gauge the atmosphere. With some bands you can do whatever you want
  10. 10. More Hints• Try a few different positions• If they do something good be ready for them to do it again
  11. 11. Tight Head Shots• Look for good expression, face not blocked by the microphone, no bad shadow on face the from microphone• If the face is mostly blocked shoot whenever it’s clear
  12. 12. Wait for the Singer to Back off the Microphone
  13. 13. Photograph rappers from the palm side of the microphone hand
  14. 14. Lots of noise, bad colour but a good photo
  15. 15. Direct Flash Worked in the 70’s
  16. 16. Playing Instruments• Guitarist on knees. Shoot from their head level or a little lower• Guitarist writhing on stage-hard to get a good shot but try and get close and above• Drummers-facial expression and drumsticks hitting or coming down• Keyboards-really the hands and head need to be close to the keyboard but that doesn’t happened much• Bass-photograph pretty much every recognizable expression
  17. 17. Two Heads are Better Than One• Two band members interacting• You probably can’t get them both in focus• Focus on the one facing you• If they are both equally facing focus in the most dynamic one
  18. 18. The Whole Band• Hard to get let alone make good• Position yourself to get the drummer in the shot• Usually near the centre standing up• A wide lens will give a more dynamic shot but make the drummer small
  19. 19. The Whole Band (easier if there’s no keyboards)
  20. 20. Flash• Flash usually not allowed in big venues• Use the least amount of light possible• Flash bounced from ceiling generally doesn’t look good(kills the stage lighting)• Direct flash is better• You can sometimes get a great shot with flash and a long exposure• Bouncing off a side wall can work
  21. 21. Bounced Flash
  22. 22. Back light face in darkness• Lens wide open• Shutter speed not too slow-1/30 or faster- unless the light is too low• Adjust ISO if necessary• Just enough flash to light face• White balance for face (warm lights are better than blue faces but you can adjust this if you shoot RAW)• Also could filter flash to tungsten light balance
  23. 23. Fill Flash

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