Sometimes you are also limited to a certain time or amount of songs within we are allowed to take photos.
So how to start...?
We want to lower as many of the variables that interrupt us, this is why we recommend to go to relatively intimate shows in places where you can get almost anywhere and take the frame from any angle you wish. If you have a band that you know personally, it will be a good place to start from.
Tools for the trade...
Due to the dim lighting at performances, we’ll prefer you to use lenses with open aperture (f/2.8, f1.8, f/1.4) and using cameras that allows us to take photos at high ISO without noise. In rock bands or similar, you'll have to use a relatively high shutter speeds to freeze movement of wild drummer or jumping singers.
In live shows we’ll measure light from a point which we want to expose by using the point metering (some will prefer using the evaluative metering mode).
You should also check your histogram once in a while and in addition check in the monitor for overexposed points. One of the most frustrating things is to get back home with a picture that looks good on the camera and then we find out in our computer screen that it’s overexposed or underexposed. We recommend shooting in raw so that you can then compensate for the exposure if necessary and save images that was a bit overexposed or the opposite, got underexposed.
How about Flash..?
Your flash has no effect on lighting the singer. The flash will do nothing, and at worst it will lit the cigarette’s smoke around you or the bald spot of those in front of you.
Another problem is that some use a camera on automatic or semi-automatic mode. The camera does not know that what interests us is the stage far away, and is not affected by the flash light, so it lets less light into the sensor – and we will get a dark stage.
So if you are far from the stage – turn off the flash.
If you are close to the stage and using the flash, the artist will be bright indeed – but any background will be dark and you’ll lose the whole atmosphere.
Measure the light by the environment until you get proper exposure in terms of atmosphere you want and just then add the flash, this way you get the ambient lighting showing the atmosphere, and the flash will lit the singer and freeze his movement.
When it’s too dark and we are far from the stage and we cannot use the flash, we will wait until the spot light, the narrow, focused and strong light, will light the artist.
Why Composition Matters...?
Composition matters because, other than timing, it’s the only variable that can turn a technically sound snapshot into a jaw dropping rock photograph.
On a basic level, I use composition to enhance the drama in my photographs.
I include things that add to the image while minimizing or excluding distractions.
Use the corners of the frame to emphasize your subject’s pose or gesture.
Include outstretched arms, hands or other parts of your subject’s body that convey the emotion of the moment.
Include the headstock of the guitar. (You want to sell the shot to the guitar company afterwards, right?)
Exclude distracting elements like monitors or equipment stands if they don’t add to the composition.
Include the lights if they add atmosphere to your composition.
Include more than one band member in the photograph.
If the artist has a large stage production, show it in your photos.
How to decide your next shot and where you need to be to get it.
The first three songs of a concert are a big guessing game. Making educated guesses based on your knowledge of the subject and your knowledge of the venue can mean the difference between a mediocre photo shoot and a fantastic one.
As much as we would love every photo we take to spontaneously rock, we spend most of our shooting time visualizing the next photo and choosing the right settings and lens to create it. Since concert photography is naturally chaotic, the result of my process is often a series of photos with one image that illustrates our artistic vision better than the others.
Which one of this series of photographs would you choose? More importantly why is it better than the others? Asking and answering these questions of your own work will define your photographic style.
Hope this was informative and interesting as it was for us to write the article to you...should you have more questions do not hesitate to contact us...