Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => Discussing Photographic Styles => Topic started by: daethon on March 26, 2008, 07:26:56 PM

Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on March 26, 2008, 07:26:56 PM
Are there any professional concert photographers on this forum?  about a year ago I did about 7 concerts, local bands, and really enjoyed the work, but found it hard to locate clients, and had other things take priority.  

I am what I'd call a semi-professional.  I make some money occasionally, but most of the time I am a serious enthusiast.  No level of schooling, no real training other than trial and error.  I'm curious what advice you'd give to someone in this field, what experiences/stories taught you the most about this type of photography.  I've read a couple books, the last one being Concert Photography by Sievert.  I had a lot of fun doing it, but found my shots to be rather repetitive after the fourth show.  Since I was shooting different subjects each time, and mostly bands that didn't have much stage presence, they all felt the same, nothing special.  

Any and all comments are welcome.  If you feel like looking at the work I've done, and commenting, that's great, Concerts (http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/concerts)
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: Jonathan Wienke on March 27, 2008, 10:54:47 AM
Don't expect to make a lot of money at it. There is a LOT of competition for that line of work because of the better-than-average access to artists and bands that goes with it, not to mention the free tickets. Your best bet is to work with concert promoters in your area, but you're going to have to show them something pretty special to get any attention paid, as they are bombarded with requests from wannabes on a daily basis. It can be a lot of fun, but don't give up your day job.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: situgrrl on March 27, 2008, 01:15:37 PM
Jonothan is right.  I used to do this on a "professional" basis and whilst I sold pics to the press, I still found myself needing to write, DJ and live in a squat in order to make ends meet.  I got out of it eventually!

Regarding pictures, you have chosen one of the hardest subjects in the world.  You need everything - including luck, on your side.

Lose the flash - they are usually banned in bigger venues anyhow and are f**king distracting when you are performing - not a good way to indear yourself to the band.  With the luxury of a usable 3200 ISO in digital, you don't need it.  I used to push the hell out of neg film.  Aside from that, unless used very sparingly (as fill in) it sucks all atmosphere from the shot.  (Do experiment with fill in flash once you know the band and have explicit permission)

Learn to use flash!  www.strobist.com  Bands always need promo pictures and these tend to be shot away from the stage.  They are also where the is.  If you can get a gig assisting a pro either in a studio or on location, you'll learn a whole world.  On the same note, make friends with people doing makeup courses.  They are dead handy.  They also tend to be attractive - which helps if you are doing this for the same reason I did!

I used the spot meter function on an EOS 1 (film) to judge exposure.  You will find that just as you got your reading and dialed it in, the state changes.  You do it all again, the same thing happens.  Plenty of practice will teach you how to make a very educated guess.  I suspect that matrix metering modes have come on leaps and bounds since I was doing this stuff.  If that is the case, I'd work from -1.5EV and use shutter priority mode.

Shoot RAW.  Colour balance is a nightmare - this will give you a fighting chance.  Theory has it that with RAW, you can ALWAYS get a perfect WB after the fact in post.  I don't think this is 100% true when you are shooting in extreme colour casts.  i think it's probably worth learning to custom WB was well as shooting RAW.  A cunning photographer would ask the lighting tech what colour temps are used and store them on custom functions before the gig.

Get to know bands real well.  Go on tour with them if you get the opportunity.  If they will allow you to shoot on stage, you are away.  Use a 28mm lens, get in close and low and stay out of their way and you will be rewarded with some great shots.

Learn to spot talent.  If a band's music is crap and they have no stage presence, they are a dead duck.  No one wants to buy picture's of your best-friend's boyfriend's navel gazing, going no where band.  Get intimate pictures of "the next big thing's" first tour and you might just find you don't need to eat lentils every night.  Don't let your friendships override your judgement on a band.

Think of a memorable photo of Ringo Starr or Krist Novaselic.  Can't?  Don't spend too long shooting pictures of drummers and bassists - it's a fickle world and frankly - the press don't care!  John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Kurt Cobain were were the money was.  No one cares who provides the rhythm - sad but true.  NOTE - if they are doing something that could be considered "rock n roll" or, alternatively, "obscene" - scratch this rule.  Even if they are never going to make it, you have good material for bribing them.

If you start shooting larger venues/festivals, things get way harder.  Usually, you get 3 songs "in the pit."  If you are first in, it's even harder.  Organise your gear and get the lighting figured out before you are in.  Play conservative rather than risk everything.  Be polite with those you are sharing it with but don't let them intimidate you.  You have the same pass as them.

Endear yourself to gig promoters and venue managers by whatever means necessary.

Edit really, really hard.  You need to some up a gig in ONE photo.  One picture to cram all of that passion, emotion, fury and elation.  If you do that, you did well.  If that's the one your picture ed chooses to run with, it's time to celebrate!

Apologies for the dust on these!

Charly
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 04, 2008, 06:53:30 PM
Quote
Jonothan is right.  I used to do this on a "professional" basis and whilst I sold pics to the press, I still found myself needing to write, DJ and live in a squat in order to make ends meet.  I got out of it eventually!

Regarding pictures, you have chosen one of the hardest subjects in the world.  You need everything - including luck, on your side.

Lose the flash - they are usually banned in bigger venues anyhow and are f**king distracting when you are performing - not a good way to indear yourself to the band.  With the luxury of a usable 3200 ISO in digital, you don't need it.  I used to push the hell out of neg film.  Aside from that, unless used very sparingly (as fill in) it sucks all atmosphere from the shot.  (Do experiment with fill in flash once you know the band and have explicit permission)

Learn to use flash!  www.strobist.com  Bands always need promo pictures and these tend to be shot away from the stage.  They are also where the is.  If you can get a gig assisting a pro either in a studio or on location, you'll learn a whole world.  On the same note, make friends with people doing makeup courses.  They are dead handy.  They also tend to be attractive - which helps if you are doing this for the same reason I did!

I used the spot meter function on an EOS 1 (film) to judge exposure.  You will find that just as you got your reading and dialed it in, the state changes.  You do it all again, the same thing happens.  Plenty of practice will teach you how to make a very educated guess.  I suspect that matrix metering modes have come on leaps and bounds since I was doing this stuff.  If that is the case, I'd work from -1.5EV and use shutter priority mode.

Shoot RAW.  Colour balance is a nightmare - this will give you a fighting chance.  Theory has it that with RAW, you can ALWAYS get a perfect WB after the fact in post.  I don't think this is 100% true when you are shooting in extreme colour casts.  i think it's probably worth learning to custom WB was well as shooting RAW.  A cunning photographer would ask the lighting tech what colour temps are used and store them on custom functions before the gig.

Get to know bands real well.  Go on tour with them if you get the opportunity.  If they will allow you to shoot on stage, you are away.  Use a 28mm lens, get in close and low and stay out of their way and you will be rewarded with some great shots.

Learn to spot talent.  If a band's music is crap and they have no stage presence, they are a dead duck.  No one wants to buy picture's of your best-friend's boyfriend's navel gazing, going no where band.  Get intimate pictures of "the next big thing's" first tour and you might just find you don't need to eat lentils every night.  Don't let your friendships override your judgement on a band.

Think of a memorable photo of Ringo Starr or Krist Novaselic.  Can't?  Don't spend too long shooting pictures of drummers and bassists - it's a fickle world and frankly - the press don't care!  John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Kurt Cobain were were the money was.  No one cares who provides the rhythm - sad but true.  NOTE - if they are doing something that could be considered "rock n roll" or, alternatively, "obscene" - scratch this rule.  Even if they are never going to make it, you have good material for bribing them.

If you start shooting larger venues/festivals, things get way harder.  Usually, you get 3 songs "in the pit."  If you are first in, it's even harder.  Organise your gear and get the lighting figured out before you are in.  Play conservative rather than risk everything.  Be polite with those you are sharing it with but don't let them intimidate you.  You have the same pass as them.

Endear yourself to gig promoters and venue managers by whatever means necessary.

Edit really, really hard.  You need to some up a gig in ONE photo.  One picture to cram all of that passion, emotion, fury and elation.  If you do that, you did well.  If that's the one your picture ed chooses to run with, it's time to celebrate!

Apologies for the dust on these!

Charly
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=184713\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Thanks for the advice.  I'm not looking to make a living with this, thankfully.  I've done about 5 concerts, local bands, and really enjoyed it.  I pretty much refuse to use a flash, which brought me to where I am with equipment (all prime lenses).  

Will I not get a lot of noise from -1.5EV when pushed to proper exposure?  I've been doing about 1/3 underexposed to stop action a bit more, but haven't tried lower.  


Any comments on these shots?  I've included 4 that I think exemplify some of my better work.  

(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/124815803_55Ert-L.jpg)

(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/124804837_49pYn-M.jpg)

(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/110166575_iJYsj-L.jpg)

(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/116234485_pvSJt-M.jpg)
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: Jonathan Wienke on April 05, 2008, 01:35:52 AM
Quote
Will I not get a lot of noise from -1.5EV when pushed to proper exposure?  I've been doing about 1/3 underexposed to stop action a bit more, but haven't tried lower.

Absolutely. Don't go there. You're better off raising ISO and NOT underexposing, at least until you start using the "fake" ISO settings that are achieved with in-camera manipulation of the RAW data rather than increasing the actual sensitivity of the chip. With the 1D-II, I usually shoot ISO 1600, aperture priority, and dial in exposure compensation between -1/3 and +2/3 such that the shots are within 1/3 stop of RAW clipping. At higher ISO, the key to getting a good shot is to push the shot as much as you can without blowing out the highlights. -1.5EV is a really bad idea.
   
Quote
Any comments on these shots?  I've included 4 that I think exemplify some of my better work.

(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/124815803_55Ert-L.jpg)

Focus is too far forward. The image would be stronger if the face and hand were in focus and the body of the guitar was OOF.

(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/116234485_pvSJt-M.jpg)

This shot makes the guy look like he's either under the influence of recreational pharmaceuticals, or just accidentally soiled himself. It's easy to get a shot of someone singing that makes them look like they have a single-digit IQ, but the dissemination of such photos aren't going to be good for your career as a concert shooter. Expressions change constantly while someone is singing; try to catch moments that express whatever the artist is trying to say, or the mood of the moment. Unless this guy is guest gigging for Peewee's Playouse on the road or doing some kind of musical comedy, trash this shot.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 05, 2008, 11:44:44 AM
Quote
(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/124815803_55Ert-L.jpg)

Focus is too far forward. The image would be stronger if the face and hand were in focus and the body of the guitar was OOF.
Good point here.  I, frankly, hadn't even noticed that it is the front of the guitar that is in focus versus the face.  I always chalked up the softness of the fact to the fact that it had been shot at such a low aperture, or lighting.  

Quote
(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/116234485_pvSJt-M.jpg)

This shot makes the guy look like he's either under the influence of recreational pharmaceuticals, or just accidentally soiled himself. It's easy to get a shot of someone singing that makes them look like they have a single-digit IQ, but the dissemination of such photos aren't going to be good for your career as a concert shooter. Expressions change constantly while someone is singing; try to catch moments that express whatever the artist is trying to say, or the mood of the moment. Unless this guy is guest gigging for Peewee's Playouse on the road or doing some kind of musical comedy, trash this shot.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=187174\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The guy was a guest for a concert whose "headliner" mainly sang about Robot Arms.    The goal was to capture his silliness and absolute joy in the moment.  Though, perhaps it was too much...
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: Jonathan Wienke on April 05, 2008, 12:03:55 PM
Quote
The guy was a guest for a concert whose "headliner" mainly sang about Robot Arms.    The goal was to capture his silliness and absolute joy in the moment.  Though, perhaps it was too much...

If he's trying to be goofy or funny, then you nailed it. But if you just happened to catch an awkward moment in the middle of a song about world peace or unrequited love, that would be bad...
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: situgrrl on April 05, 2008, 03:32:44 PM
The bassist.  I won't reiterate what Jonothan has said about composition.  Your suggestion about aperture is not totally misplaced.  You can see that the body of the guitar is in focus and it drops off.  You shot with an open aperture and have not taken into account the accuracy of focusing required with it wide open, especially with a telephoto lens.  I've no idea what gear you are using or how it is set up but I would suggest reducing the number of focus points the AF has and consider manually selecting the point.  If you have a Canon with a 45 pt focus system, it confuses itself under these conditions and chooses the wrong place.  At F1.8 you need to NAIL it.  when you can, try an f1.2!

The accordian and the guitarist:  This is a near miss, it fails to capture the magic fully - but does nearly.  Unlucky, try again!

The goofy looking keyboardist. I guess this is one of the rare occasions where a few words can say a thousand pictures.  The setting does not provide a context to explain the expression on his face.  Again, the focus is forward - on the boom arm of the mic.

Indeed, looking at all of the pictures, the focus is slightly forward.  What gear are you using and how is it set up?

Charly

www.charlyburnett.com - it's up, it needs changing - I know the scrolly thing sucks big ones.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 05, 2008, 04:39:32 PM
Quote
The bassist.  I won't reiterate what Jonothan has said about composition.  Your suggestion about aperture is not totally misplaced.  You can see that the body of the guitar is in focus and it drops off.  You shot with an open aperture and have not taken into account the accuracy of focusing required with it wide open, especially with a telephoto lens.  I've no idea what gear you are using or how it is set up but I would suggest reducing the number of focus points the AF has and consider manually selecting the point.  If you have a Canon with a 45 pt focus system, it confuses itself under these conditions and chooses the wrong place.  At F1.8 you need to NAIL it.  when you can, try an f1.2!

The accordian and the guitarist:  This is a near miss, it fails to capture the magic fully - but does nearly.  Unlucky, try again!

The goofy looking keyboardist. I guess this is one of the rare occasions where a few words can say a thousand pictures.  The setting does not provide a context to explain the expression on his face.  Again, the focus is forward - on the boom arm of the mic.

Indeed, looking at all of the pictures, the focus is slightly forward.  What gear are you using and how is it set up?

Charly

www.charlyburnett.com - it's up, it needs changing - I know the scrolly thing sucks big ones.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=187275\")


For all three of these shots:  Canon 20D 50mm f/1.4.  All shots using ISO 1600.  at either f/1.4 or 1/6.  Most shots were not center focused.  


On the accordion shot.  I'm curious, of the set, which would you have chosen to go forward with, and why.  If you have a moment, there are 33 in the set.  [a href=\"http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/gallery/2384017_sFhcw]http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/gallery/2384017_sFhcw[/url]

In my equipment bag (all canon)

When these shoots happened
24mm f/1.4L
17-40mm f/4L
50mm f/1.4

Now
135mm f/2.0L
180mm Macro f/3.5L
1.4X extender
40D
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 05, 2008, 04:41:52 PM
Quote
If he's trying to be goofy or funny, then you nailed it. But if you just happened to catch an awkward moment in the middle of a song about world peace or unrequited love, that would be bad...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=187238\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

He was trying to be goofy/funny.  This was their favorite shot in all the sets.  

but, it is still forward focused.  


Since it seems that all of the shots are forward focused, and were with the same lens/camera setup, should I look into whether or not it is doing its job in focusing properly?  If it isn't, is that something that Canon would be able to fix?
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: situgrrl on April 05, 2008, 05:43:31 PM
My choice would be the attached one. I'd reign the highlights in a touch and maybe up the contast a touch if it were mine.  I've re-cropped it to tighten the composition and loose the distracting mic end.

You have a new camera now so front focusing should not be a problem.  Having said this, I had exactly the same problem under identical conditions when I was using a 30D.  I sent if for repair and it came back better but not fixed.

I have a sneaky suspicion, backed up with no evidence whatsoever, that high contrast stage lighting and the heavy use of very warm gels do not get along with Canon AF.  The ideal solution for me would be to go with a ful frame camera so that manual focusing is realistic.  I can also assure you that 1 series AF is like nothing else on earth!  Even my film EOS 1 (without so much as an n, let alone a v) was so many streets ahead of my 30D as to not be true.  

Are you saying you flogged your previous lenses - the 24 & 50 especially?  If you want to shoot gigs, you are going to regret that, I found my 85 1.8 too long on a crop body - and that was when I was shooting from the front of the circle sat 10m back from front stage.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 05, 2008, 05:50:21 PM
Quote
My choice would be the attached one. I'd reign the highlights in a touch and maybe up the contast a touch if it were mine.  I've re-cropped it to tighten the composition and loose the distracting mic end.

You have a new camera now so front focusing should not be a problem.  Having said this, I had exactly the same problem under identical conditions when I was using a 30D.  I sent if for repair and it came back better but not fixed.

I have a sneaky suspicion, backed up with no evidence whatsoever, that high contrast stage lighting and the heavy use of very warm gels do not get along with Canon AF.  The ideal solution for me would be to go with a ful frame camera so that manual focusing is realistic.  I can also assure you that 1 series AF is like nothing else on earth!  Even my film EOS 1 (without so much as an n, let alone a v) was so many streets ahead of my 30D as to not be true. 

Are you saying you flogged your previous lenses - the 24 & 50 especially?  If you want to shoot gigs, you are going to regret that, I found my 85 1.8 too long on a crop body - and that was when I was shooting from the front of the circle sat 10m back from front stage.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=187301\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Did not do away with the old gear, just added the second set of gear.  

Interesting choice on the shot.  I've always felt that the microphone was just too prominent in it.  The hope is to purchase the replacement to the 5d when it comes out.  I know it isn't quite the 1dsIII, but that is completely out of my price range.  The thought is once I get the 5dII that I'll convert the 20D into an IR camera.  Come may I should own a film 1v.  

Thanks for the advice.  now that you've looked at my shots, do you see anything endemic in my shooting style that might need to be addressed?
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: situgrrl on April 06, 2008, 03:43:33 PM
If I were to suggest one thing?  A small step ladder!  You seem to have pretty high stages even at smaller venues in the US.

I would compare the AF on a 5D to a 1DS Mk 2.  I know they have a lower frame rate but I wonder if they also use a similar AF to the x0D series.  Why are you getting a film 1v?  I (personallly) don't see the point and think the money would be better put towards the digital camera.  35mm doesn't make sense (from the girl that just burnt 4 rolls of it today!)  But really, if you are shooting DSLR, you have a better quality picture than a 35mm transparency or neg and probably better than b&w film too.  I only use it because I can't afford an M8.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 06, 2008, 08:16:36 PM
Quote
If I were to suggest one thing?  A small step ladder!  You seem to have pretty high stages even at smaller venues in the US.

I would compare the AF on a 5D to a 1DS Mk 2.  I know they have a lower frame rate but I wonder if they also use a similar AF to the x0D series.  Why are you getting a film 1v?  I (personallly) don't see the point and think the money would be better put towards the digital camera.  35mm doesn't make sense (from the girl that just burnt 4 rolls of it today!)  But really, if you are shooting DSLR, you have a better quality picture than a 35mm transparency or neg and probably better than b&w film too.  I only use it because I can't afford an M8.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=187482\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


My dad own's a 1v which he hasn't used in, about 3 years that he is bequeathing to me.  not fully sure what I'll be doing with it, but it might make for a good interim until I get the 5d replacement, whenever that gets released.  

I've heard that the 5d/other full frame cameras get 40% more light, and such can be shot at lower levels of light, is that true?  

I've taken a step ladder in the past, not to these concerts.  but that's a great idea, I think i'll need to find one that is small enough that i can carry it on a belt, like i do with my tripod.  

Really, in order my next camera equipment that i'll be paying for is the 5d replacement, a better tripod (mine can't handle the 180 Macro), the 400 DO f4L, and maybe the 14mm (I'll do away with the 17-40 at this point, and I'm struggling between this and the 14-24 nikon.  but it'll be about 3 years before i get to this one).  after that, i might consider the 85 f/1.2.  at some point i'll probably buy a point and shoot, I don't own one at all right now

Thanks for all the advice.  I am going to be putting together a smaller album to showcase my better concert shots, situgrrl/Jonathan, would you be willing to take a look at it once I put it together? your input such far has been wonderful
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: jjj on April 07, 2008, 10:23:39 PM
Quote
I was shooting different subjects each time, and mostly bands that didn't have much stage presence, they all felt the same, nothing special.
This is where you add the creativity.    

Quote
Any and all comments are welcome. If you feel like looking at the work I've done, and commenting, that's great, Concerts (http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/concerts)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=184568\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
This may sound harsh, but the problem with most concert photography I see these days, yours included is they are simply record shots of the event. There seems to be no composition or creativity involved.

The other thing you have lots of images in your folio that are simply reject material, not in focus or composition is completely lacking. Only ever put the best shots of each show up. Be ruthless, if it insn't great, don't put it in your portfolio. 3 good pics are better than twenty poor pics with 3 good ones mixed in.
For example this is probably the best shot of this concert. But if you'd tilted camera down a bit you wouldn't have chopped the guitarist's foot off and you'd also get rid of the annoying beam across top right corner of image and it would have been a much better picture.
(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/124809740_23RtW-L.jpg)

My overall suggestion. Limit yourself to only 40 shots per concert and think carefully about each one, rather than simply shooting away hoping to get something. K=Look at the edge of the frame, not just he centre, to avoid bits being chopped off and useless stuff creeping in.
I used to do concerts and I'd watch the performers and wait until they arranged themselves better or I'd move myself to get a better composition. Also try to look at the lighting and use it to...well light your shots. Sometimes if just a single spot is on someone that can make for a dramatic shot. Oh and red lighting nearly always looks pants.
Also don't be afraid to use manual focus, it's actually more likely to get the bit you actually want in focus.

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3008/2397725480_ac6b1b0b94_o.jpg)
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 07, 2008, 11:39:12 PM
Quote
This may sound harsh, but the problem with most concert photography I see these days, yours included is they are simply record shots of the event. There seems to be no composition or creativity involved.

A fair statement.  None of the bands that I was shooting had ever had anyone at a concert who could even really record the event.  I have no real training, other than trial and error.  Before I stopped pursuing this about a year ago, I had seen a lot of improvement from my first concert to the last one.  That said, I still don't really understand composition, or creativity.  I am still trying to put it into words and images that I can understand.  I've been perusing a lot of photo books to try and gleam from them what I am missing.  So far I've picked up on:  "your image should tell a story."  back to the "a picture is worth 1000 words" axiom.  It is something that I've not tried before much, and intend to give a shot.

Quote
For example this is probably the best shot of this concert. But if you'd tilted camera down a bit you wouldn't have chopped the guitarist's foot off and you'd also get rid of the annoying beam across top right corner of image and it would have been a much better picture.
(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/124809740_23RtW-L.jpg)

I agree fully, unfortunately it wasn't possible.  If you notice in the bottom right corner, the black, that was the rats nest there.  I fenagled my way around that area trying to get them all in frame and pull the off, unfortunately, i had to sacrifice his foot, and by zooming in further i would have lost too much of the drums.  That said, this was before I resigned myself to cropping shots in post production.  at this point, I felt the shot came out, as it did, I would fix color/contrast/exposure but nothing else.

Quote
My overall suggestion. Limit yourself to only 40 shots per concert and think carefully about each one, rather than simply shooting away hoping to get something.

I agree with this statement.  When shooting these subjects, I don't use the multishot mode, i probably should have.  

Quote
Also don't be afraid to use manual focus, it's actually more likely to get the bit you actually want in focus.

With the exception of macro, I have yet to really put effort towards manual focusing.  I feel that I'm still missing so many more important elements (as you said, composition and creativity).
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 08, 2008, 07:57:54 AM
Quote
This may sound harsh, but the problem with most concert photography I see these days, yours included is they are simply record shots of the event. There seems to be no composition or creativity involved.


One thing occurs to me though.  From a personal standpoint this is very applicable, for me to grow and enjoy what i'm doing branching off and doing something creative is the next step.  

That said though, from the "I'm being paid" standpoint, does that apply?  If we were talking about bands who have a lot of media coverage, you'd want something new, something creative.  But my "audience" in these shoots were the garage band, concerts that at most had 100 people attending.  They hadn't had live shots taken by someone who could capture the stage lighting and record the event.  

I think you make an excellent point that in the future, to enjoy what I'm doing I should get out of the box, do something creative, and not simply record.  But, I think with the type of clients that I have had, I will need to record first and then be creative, as I'm being paid by them to produce something for their fans, not to produce art that i could sell.  

From a story telling standpoint, searching quickly these are two that catch my eye.

(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/110171065_YAxY4-M.jpg)
These guys had a ton of energy, a very angry type of "heavy metal."  The lead singer, photographed above, was obviously very passionate. from the following set:  http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/gallery/2129251_akJm8 (http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/gallery/2129251_akJm8)


(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/107647842_SLYVo-M.jpg)
I can't remember who recommended to integrate interaction with the audience in a shot, but I loved this one.  The two groupies stewing on the edge of the stage as the band goes about their business.  From the following set:  http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/gallery/2097149_gNaxM (http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/gallery/2097149_gNaxM)

Again, comments very welcome....
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: Jonathan Wienke on April 08, 2008, 11:08:58 AM
Quote
(http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/photos/107647842_SLYVo-M.jpg)
I can't remember who recommended to integrate interaction with the audience in a shot, but I loved this one.  The two groupies stewing on the edge of the stage as the band goes about their business.

The microphone directly over the guitar player's head kinda ruins it for me...mikes are a necessary evil, but can be a real PITA to shoot around. The main thing is to prevent them from obscuring the performer's face too much.

(http://visual-vacations.com/images/2004-12-30-0467.jpg)
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 08, 2008, 05:29:14 PM
Quote
The microphone directly over the guitar player's head kinda ruins it for me...mikes are a necessary evil, but can be a real PITA to shoot around. The main thing is to prevent them from obscuring the performer's face too much.

Very true.  there are actually a lot of parts to that shot that I'm not very fond of.  unfortunately of the shots that I took that night, this was the only one that really captured those specific onlookers.  Not a shot that I'd use to promote my work, but i think it'll help me put context on future work.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: David Anderson on April 08, 2008, 06:58:49 PM
A problem with 'creative' shots IMHO is they're harder to sell to what should be, but isn't a creative type of magazine.

Over the years my agency sales have very much leaned towards 3/4 length portraits of lead singers.

So you might find that with the big bands you're only allowed the first 3 songs when your starting out and wont have time for much else..

You can make money with music photography is you have good syndication and build up a good library of stuff for sale, though it does take time for regular money to roll in.

To get started any publication that will credit your photos and get you access to the gigs is worth it's weight in gold.

You can also try getting to know the venues and their operators with a view to getting regular access on their behalf.
Most venues here in OZ have regular photographers.

Good luck !
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on April 08, 2008, 08:58:14 PM
Quote
A problem with 'creative' shots IMHO is they're harder to sell to what should be, but isn't a creative type of magazine.

Over the years my agency sales have very much leaned towards 3/4 length portraits of lead singers.

So you might find that with the big bands you're only allowed the first 3 songs when your starting out and wont have time for much else..

You can make money with music photography is you have good syndication and build up a good library of stuff for sale, though it does take time for regular money to roll in.

To get started any publication that will credit your photos and get you access to the gigs is worth it's weight in gold.

You can also try getting to know the venues and their operators with a view to getting regular access on their behalf.
Most venues here in OZ have regular photographers.

Good luck !
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I've found that my clients also, are really just looking for what you described.  But that shouldn't limit me from using the rest of the time to enjoy myself.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: jjj on April 12, 2008, 10:57:16 AM
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A problem with 'creative' shots IMHO is they're harder to sell to what should be, but isn't a creative type of magazine.
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By creative, read good not wacky/way out and what I meant was you need to be creative to get good shots. Good shots stand out as they capture the event/produce an iconic image. And music mags would love to use great pics, but if they aren't being taken.... In the UK the NME used to have some brilliant [music] photographers working for them, now they seem to be colour snaps. Penny Smith, Anton Corbijn, Derek Ridgers, Steve Pyke are a few I remember. Anton Corbijn just directed the justly acclaimed 'Control' about Joy Division.
But with the stupid 3 song rule there's no wonder there's a lack of good concert photography around. Good photography usually takes some time and consideration and normally the main difference between an amateur and a professional is the time spend getting the shot. Bands or far more likely, idiot tour managers are not doing themselves any favours by this moronic ruling.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: jjj on April 12, 2008, 10:59:02 AM
Quote
The microphone directly over the guitar player's head kinda ruins it for me...mikes are a necessary evil, but can be a real PITA to shoot around. The main thing is to prevent them from obscuring the performer's face too much.

(http://visual-vacations.com/images/2004-12-30-0467.jpg)
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God I hated mikes! On stands that is. Hand held can be interesting.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: Ken Alexander on April 18, 2008, 02:03:28 AM
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Are there any professional concert photographers on this forum?  about a year ago I did about 7 concerts, local bands, and really enjoyed the work, but found it hard to locate clients, and had other things take priority. 

I am what I'd call a semi-professional.  I make some money occasionally, but most of the time I am a serious enthusiast.  No level of schooling, no real training other than trial and error.  I'm curious what advice you'd give to someone in this field, what experiences/stories taught you the most about this type of photography.  I've read a couple books, the last one being Concert Photography by Sievert.  I had a lot of fun doing it, but found my shots to be rather repetitive after the fourth show.  Since I was shooting different subjects each time, and mostly bands that didn't have much stage presence, they all felt the same, nothing special. 

Any and all comments are welcome.  If you feel like looking at the work I've done, and commenting, that's great, Concerts (http://www.midtownatlantaphoto.com/concerts)
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I read this thread with great interest earlier this week because I got my first opportunity to shoot a concert just a few nights ago.  When I got home afterward I concluded that landscape photography is easier (trees and mountains tend not to jump around so much!), but this was great fun.

I learned a lot about using my D80, especially about how to use my autofocus in the future; I have hundreds of photos of perfectly sharp mic stands and cymbols with out-of-focus guitar players and drummers behind them.  Next time will be much more productive.

My intention was to end up with some raw, gritty looking black and white images.  Shooting at ISO 1600 helped a lot with the fritty feeling...maybe too much!  My focusing problems may have inadvertently helped too, but see for yourself below.  Comments are most welcome.

Ken
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: fnagy on April 28, 2008, 08:50:04 PM
Quote
By creative, read good not wacky/way out and what I meant was you need to be creative to get good shots. Good shots stand out as they capture the event/produce an iconic image. And music mags would love to use great pics, but if they aren't being taken.... In the UK the NME used to have some brilliant [music] photographers working for them, now they seem to be colour snaps. Penny Smith, Anton Corbijn, Derek Ridgers, Steve Pyke are a few I remember. Anton Corbijn just directed the justly acclaimed 'Control' about Joy Division.
But with the stupid 3 song rule there's no wonder there's a lack of good concert photography around. Good photography usually takes some time and consideration and normally the main difference between an amateur and a professional is the time spend getting the shot. Bands or far more likely, idiot tour managers are not doing themselves any favours by this moronic ruling.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=188941\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Some excellent points!  

I have been shooting Jazz Music scene for about 7 yrs. (personal work, jazz musicians are really poor!)  After about 3-4 yrs of shooting I looked at Francis Wolff's work, man it blew me away, why? because he worked with them in all different settings, Being with Bluenote was convenient and very intimate. Share with the musicians, help when you can and they will in return.

When $$$ is involved the problem that I have run across is that any schmuck can get a digi cam, whatever type? and get the same old tired shit, but it's free, and the music scene being what it is, takes anything that is free and they can cut costs?  So any work that you do to capture the event even though it's better than 99%, it get lost in the sea of mediocrity.  

To get the truly good shots and the ones that might generate some interest, you need to get close to your subjects and preferably back stage etc.  you need to establish your creds with them and they might even let you use flash (flashes?) and give you the creative freedom to get the shots that you want.  You still won't make much money, but it could be fun!
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on May 04, 2008, 03:48:30 AM
From a concert tonight.  Not spectacular but really captures the singer's personality.

(http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v232/84/74/12801603/n12801603_33740113_8161.jpg)
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: jjj on May 05, 2008, 03:55:51 PM
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From a concert tonight.  Not spectacular but really captures the singer's personality.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193405\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
But think how much better it would have been if you had framed image vertically.
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: daethon on May 05, 2008, 06:31:50 PM
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But think how much better it would have been if you had framed image vertically.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193641\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Agreed, just one problem.  The Venue I was at is a real pain when it comes to seeing something that looks "professional."  So I could only take the 50mm f/1.4 on the 20D.  Even then, they stopped me from taking any more pictures "Only point and shoots" allowed.  

With as close as I was to the stage the best that I could do with that vertically was the below.  Ideally I would have had the 24mm with me, but that lens was too large for me to get into the venue.  

I agree with you completely though.


(http://photos-e.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v232/84/74/12801603/n12801603_33740108_6968.jpg)
Title: Concert Photographers...
Post by: dseelig on May 08, 2008, 04:34:54 PM
Keep the mikes out of the face get a little angle. Mike eater shots never work. If whole band shots get their feet in the shotscropping half way and having a ton of ceiling in the shots does not work I have shot alot of music my website www.davidseelig.com
Quote
Agreed, just one problem. The Venue I was at is a real pain when it comes to seeing something that looks "professional." So I could only take the 50mm f/1.4 on the 20D. Even then, they stopped me from taking any more pictures "Only point and shoots" allowed.

With as close as I was to the stage the best that I could do with that vertically was the below. Ideally I would have had the 24mm with me, but that lens was too large for me to get into the venue.

I agree with you completely though.
(http://photos-e.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v232/84/74/12801603/n12801603_33740108_6968.jpg)
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