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Concert/Musician Photography ideas...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DavidM, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. Today I got a call from an old friend I had played in a band with a while back, and when he found out that I have gone off the deep end with photography he asked if I would mind trying to get some shots of him for a web site he's planning to put together.

    Mind you, I'm a novice in general (with photography, anyway) and other than shooting a live event for my brother at an outdoor gig one afternoon, I've never done anything like this. I agreed to do it under the condition that he would get no guarantees for anything worthwhile on his website... :) 

    Now that I'm already in over my head, I thought I'd ask the experts here for some ideas on how to shoot a musician (drummer in this case) in a typical nighttime club environment. I'm assuming that I'll have to push the ISO up and use the fastest glass I can get my hands on. Right now, that would probably mean using my 70-200VR, 17-35, and 50 1.8.

    Any thoughts, ideas, or experiences you'd like to share? Does Preset WB work in this kind of environment? Thoughts on angles? Does flash ever work for these kinds of shots? The list goes on and on...
  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl

    Playing the piano sounds easier. :>))

    Good luck in yoour venture. However, I think you will do fine.

  3. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    I'm certainly no expert, but as you say, fast glass is the key. I'll hit up Ponygurl (she shoots a bunch, as in thousands of shots, of low light concert stuff) to see if she can give you any hints. I know that she has basically gone for fast glass.

    Other than that, I know from seeing your work that you'll do great.... :wink:

  4. Thanks for the votes of confidence, Gale and Frank. I'm still in need of advice, though. Anyone have any ideas?
  5. ponygurl


    Jan 25, 2005
    Madison, AL
    Hey David! Frank came by and told me to check this thread...

    Hmm... Fast glass is a MUST and I usually am shooting ISO1600 on my D70 (though i can only do ISO 200 on the coolpix...ugh...). I never use flash cause it'll take away from the cool stage lighting.

    White balance is always my problem cause depending on the venue depends on what kind of lighting you're gonna have. I've shot a few folks in a very small club here in town and they have these red gels that just give you crappy colors no matter what and i've gone to converting most of those shots to black and white to solve that problem. However, if it's a bigger venue you might have an easier time with it. Sometimes I shoot auto WB, but most of the time I choose either incandescent or fluorescent and check the preview to see how it's working.

    Here's a couple of my adventures in shooting...

    This one was in the small club and gives you an idea of the red lighting... this was the D70 with a 24-120VR but I didn't get a lot of clear shots as this was my first outing and the VR is a f/3.5-5.6 so it really wasn't fast enough.

    this was actually in a little bigger place that held about 1500 folks... i was about 7th row on the far side using the D70 with the 50mm f1.8 lens and then we got to move up later in the night to aobut 4th row... you may be able to get closer but this will show ya what the 50mm can do. Again, really crappy lighting.

    Hope that helps and GOOD LUCK!!!
  6. David
    I have shot some concert stuff in the past, I think Pony gulr is right on stressing the right WB, if you have it an expodisk might give you some good results. I have found with the type of direct lighting that happens at shows that center weighted sometimes yields better results than matrix.
    Again for those times when the colors gels are too much conversion to B&W will help.
    Here are a few examples from a mickey Hart concert back in 2001 these were taken with the Coolpix but same theory works with DSLR, sorry i have no current samples on line to share.
  7. Thanks, Ann! I'll take a look at the photos you've referenced and get some ideas.

    I won't really know much about the venue(s) until we sync up on a date and he can give me some info about them. I'm sure that I'll be able to move around as needed, though, and hopefully that will allow me to experiment some.

    In case anyone's interested, Shaun is a session drummer in Nashville who's apparently a pretty busy fellow these days. He's getting ready to tour with Joe Bonson (country isn't "my thing" so I don't really know anything about him), and in addition seems to play frequently with several other bands in the Nashville area.

    I'll try to have some ideas for shots in mind before I meet up with him, and hopefully if I take enough at least a handful of them will accidentally "work." :)  At the very least it will be yet another fun road trip for me!
  8. Thanks, Mike! Looks like you were able to move around and get a variety of angles. Gives me some ideas for attempting to get some overhead shots (if I can). I just hope the 70-200 works OK for this, because I'm thinking it will be my best option for composing. That is, unless someone has an 85 1.4 laying around that is getting bored... :) 
  9. I have used the 70-200Vr and it worked great. I have used it at concerts and plays here are a few examples from a HS play 1using the D2H and 70-200VR @ IS0 800
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Date/Time 13-Nov-2004 21:28:29
    Make Nikon
    Model NIKON D2H
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 180 mm
    Exposure Time 1/640 sec
    Aperture f/2.8
    ISO Equivalent 800
    Exposure Bias -1/3
    White Balance
    Metering Mode center weighted (2)
    JPEG Quality (6)
    Exposure Program aperture priority (3)
    Focus Distance

    View attachment 6253
    Date/Time 13-Nov-2004 22:14:41
    Make Nikon
    Model NIKON D2H
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 140 mm
    Exposure Time 1/180 sec
    Aperture f/2.8
    ISO Equivalent 800
    Exposure Bias -1/3
    White Balance
    Metering Mode matrix (5)
    JPEG Quality (6)
    Exposure Program aperture priority (3)
    Focus Distance
  10. Damn, Mickey got old, didnt he! Here's an old shot from around 1979
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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