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Concert Photography Tips

(I added one of my videos from a Alessia Cara musical festival at the local mall. It was an outdoor event that mostly took place during the evening. Although it was recorded with an iPhone6, I still like the effects, colors of the lighting, and other people iPhones displayed interesting interaction between the fans in the audience and the singer. I think I displayed a personal experience at a musical festival, in which I think was entertaining and fun, even though I wasn’t familiar with Alessia Cara).

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

At 7 pm, I decided to check out a Canon workshop about Concert Photography. Photographer Anabel DFlux gave some tips on shooting music concerts. She has photographed over 300 bands within a ten-year period. I have done mini concerts, which includes Alessia Cara at Spectrum Center and many concerts at the park, for fun. I mostly used my iPhone6 to make videos as well as take some snapshots. I think they still looked interesting because of the bright neon colors, but I want to improve my concert photo experience, whether I use iPhone or my film cameras.

The major issue for most photographer when shooting concerts is dealing with low-lighting and dark areas. It is therefore important to use good quality equipment. The camera body needs a powerful sensor. A 7D MarkII is not good for low-lighting photography. It also has a crop sensor. The 5D MarkIV takes full frame photos as well as good quality photos. The 1D X is the best for low-lighting photography, but it is huge and heavy. Her favorite camera is the 5D cameras. Base your required equipment around the obstacles you need to overcome. In other words, buy certain equipment that will help improve your weakest skills in order to make your life and work easier for you.

Lens is the most important equipment on the camera. You should always carry two lenses with you, one long lens and one wide angle lens. Some people lenses include 16-35mm, wide lens for tighter close-ups, telephoto lens or zoom lens of 200mm range, 24-70mm lens is good for wide and narrow range shots, and fixed lens that don’t zoom are great for creating sharper images. For musical festivals that take place during the daytime, a 5D Mark IV camera is usually the best.

Aperture involves working with wide-open lens, low-lighting, style, shallow depth of field, detailed shots, and sharp photos with fixed lenses. Very wide aperture means the focus number is decreasing. When using autofocus, f/1.2 is the smallest you can use and still get a focused photograph. If you want to use a lower focus number, then it is recommended to use manual focus, especially if you taking photographs at night). Focusing with a wide aperture involves walking further away from the subject. It is better to shoot farther away because the photos will turn out very focused. It is easier to focus at a distance.

Fixed or variable lens? Both. You should know how to use manual focus for emergencies. It is also better to use manual focus for low-light situations, dark areas, and nighttime.

Settings involve Burst mode and Continuous Focus (AI Servo). Burst Mode is when you take multiple shots in a row while pressing down on the shutter (Frames Per Sec). I have done by accident on my iPhone. I wasn’t aware an iPhone had that feature. AI Servo involves locking on the subject in order to be able to follow your subject around without a need to refocus each time. Some interesting effects might include getting flying hair shots, subjects moving toward the photographer, and subject interacting with fans in the audience. There are also some unusual settings that might unexpectedly occur. Therefore, it is always important to be alert and aware of your surroundings and subject. An interesting technique might include panning with AI Servo.

Composition should have open space because the scene needs negative space for storytelling and action shots.

Post Processing involves using editing programs to improve on certain photos. Use it if you are very good at it and you know the program well as well as if you have enough time to do edit photos. It is also recommended to study Youtube videos for research purposes. It is also good idea to use JPEG for printing.

Therefore, for concert lighting, daylight is the best for photography. But if the concert takes place at night or it is too dark with low-lighting, consider strobes, Blue/Purple/Green Lights, Orange and Yellow Lights, Red Lights, backlight, front light, and spotlight. Such lights can make your photos appear dramatic and interesting. Blue, Purple and Green Lights tend to be dark. Orange and Yellow Lights have a sunshine effect. Red Light tends to lose detailed information. Backlight creates halo effect, but you cannot see the face. Front light shows too much details to the face, which will age the subject. Spotlight is white light, which creates interesting effects.

When photographing it is recommended to choose the moment over being too technical. Photography is all about expressing your individualist creative style and storytelling, based on the present moment and situation.

Etiquette: photographers are allowed to photograph during the first three songs only. They have to stay in the Photo Pit Only. You cannot use a flash. Don’t push or shove others to get what you want by force. Don’t distract performers. Don’t carry large bags around. Don’t obstruct the fans’ view.

When working in the Photo Pit, stay on the outer edge and work your way toward the center. Do your research of the band and location before you go there. Always prepare for the unexpected. Always be aware of your surroundings. Take candid snapshots of the crowd and fans.

When taking backstage photography, always be professional with everyone. Use good manners. Be portable and creative. Take lots of candid photographs to get personal with the subject. Always say thanks for the opportunity.

What do you think?

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Written by Fifi Leigh

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