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Small venue music shoot

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by gladjo, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. gladjo

    gladjo Guest

    Hey everyone, I'm shooting a friends band in a small outdoor venue. Very small. I'm doing it for fun and hopefully get him some pics to remember the good times. Stage lighting is ok at best and it will be a night show. I'll be able to get right up there and shoot to my hearts content with a flash. I have a SB-600. Also I'll be shooting the audience up close but with very little light. My question is, should I use my diffuser/flip-it setup or bare flash? Don't want to blind anyone. Just add a little fill. Probably answered my own question huh? :biggrin:

    As I live in Austin (live music capitol) I might do it again as I know a few musicians. And then again it might prove to be a hassle as I've never done this kind of shoot. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

    Great site by the way. I have spent several days just reading the old threads.
  2. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY
    Here's some info I came across while reading about concert photography. Take for what it's worth.

    ISO: You may shoot somewhere between ISO 800 to 3200 (the higher your ISO the more noise your images will show)

    METERING: Spot-metering is suggested by the author (meter off your subject of interest)

    MODE: Aperture-Priority is typically used (len is set to be wide open, resulting in a higher shutter speed to freeze the action, if the shutter speed is still slow, increase your ISO setting)

    FLASH: When using flash, the author recommended that the flash be set to "Slow Sync" mode, thus allowing to capture some of the ambient light.

    The author also suggests to try this.........if shooting with an ISO above 3200, the author likes to shoot in Black and White, this helps your image because much of the resulting noise is chrominance noise (color), so I guess the resulting Black and White image will be a little more appealing.

    My recommendation is to start with the above and make adjustments to see what works best for you. If you're close to the stage I would start with ISO 800 and work my way up making whatever adjustments are needed.

    Hope this helps,
  3. Dear Gladjo,

    I shoot bands at my local, from time to time, and have a set-up that I like...

    I use a SB600 with a 'Ultra Bounce', which I hang from the ceiling about 10-20 feet away from the stage. I use it in remote mode, commanded by the onboard D80 flash. I usually set the SB600 at 1/2 power, and the onboard flash at 1/4 or 1/8 chimp for manual exposure, ISO400 and bracket when in doubt...

    I usually use a heavy rubberband or a cheap spring clamp to mount the flash to anything handy- light fixtures, sprinklerheads, whatever I can. I try to get at least 45 degrees off the flash axis, 'cause I like a kinda dramatic look...

    Kevin at the Sage Cafe

    Billy C. Trio at the Sage

    [edited to add]

    Don't 'overshoot'. there is not a lot to capture, and noone needss 100 images of the guitarist going 'oooooOOOoooH into the Mic. Try to come out of it with about a ten- twenty images of each member, and cull those to death.

    Mics are a PITA- they are always blocking someones face

    Drummers are the hardest to shoot. they are buried in their kit, they make funny faces, and they dress like they fell theough a luandry basket.

  4. gladjo

    gladjo Guest

    Wow! Thanks for the great tips guys. The place doesn't do live music every night but the patio has a bar thats always open. I know the owner so I might ask him to turn on the stage lights for a bit and test some of your wonderful suggestions.
  5. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY
    Thanks......I'm look forward to your postings of the music shoot.

    Tomorrow (Sunday), I'm attending a FREE training session at B&H (in NYC) on "How To Photograph A Music Performance Like A Pro". I'm hoping to pick up some tips and techniques. I'll post my comments either here or create a new thread if the training was worth it.
  6. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY
    Update: I attended the "How To Photograph A Music Performance Like A Pro" at B&H, I'm sad to say I didn't get much out of it, but I got a lot of info from one of the audience members. Basically, he stated.........shoot wide open (f/2.8), RAW, and in Aperture Priority mode. Also, a monopod or a tripod at the event would help, and if you're using one of those it's important to turn off the VR on the lens, otherwise your images will look unappealing. I think he also had his camera configured for Auto ISO.
  7. Hi, Gladjo! I checked back and see that you're shooting a d70s. That's not an ideal camera for stage work, as it's very noisy above iso400. If you're going to do more of that sort of stuff, a d300 would be your best choice in an affordable dx body... but even the d200, which can be found at ridiculously low prices, would be a major improvement. You'll also profit from some fast glass. A 35/2 or a 50/1.4 are nice apertures for close shooting positions, would give you wide apertures at a reasonable price.

    Here's a few d200 higher iso samples from a recent stage production.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    View attachment 231150

    View attachment 231151

    View attachment 231152

    Note: it can be awkward addressing a person by their screen name. Most of us put our first name in the signature line. It makes for a friendlier site.
  8. gladjo

    gladjo Guest

    Thanks Zee, good luck.
  9. gladjo

    gladjo Guest

    Great pics. I was afraid that the D70s might be a little short for the job. If I do a few TPF's for some musicians I might be able to talk the wife into a new "body" and some faster glass. I will update my sig. I'm Jim by the way. Thanks.
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