Archive for the 'V Festival' Category

V Festival Staffordshire

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Lily Allen
The Cardigans
I hated covering this festival… I’ve decided to become a lot more selective about what I cover. I have very little respect for the music of most bands who played V. The backstage organization was terrible. The internet connection didn’t work, and getting photos to the agency was quite a struggle. In hindsight, I should have just stopped photographing the bands and joined the crowd for lots of atmosphere shots. As a punter, I’d much rather be at the Staffs event… Chelmsford V is just full of arsey Londoners. Staffs was much friendlier and happier. But as a photographer, I wanted to be at the Chelmsford event which had WiFi and minibuses to take press from stage to stage. We had to fight our way through the crowd to get to most stages. Chelmsford also had lots of celebrities, which sells photos!
As a result of this festival, I’ve decided not to cover the Carling Reading festival next weekend which is more of the same really, and will head off to Solfest in Cumbria which is a superb festival and much more up my street.

Tip#13 Camera Settings

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

No matter what (digital) camera you own, if you use jpeg files (as opposed to RAW) there are 3 basic settings that you should set.

  1. Minimum contrast. This will usually be -2. Although your picture will look more washed out straight from the camera, you’ll capture a wider range of tones. This way, you’ll have more detail in your extreme highlights and shadows. You can put the contrast back in Photoshop (a must have!).
  2. Minimum saturation. Again, usually -2. Saturation is a measure of how colourful your photo will look. The problem with much gig photography is that light of only one colour is often used to light the stage, such as red. Cameras struggle to record a scene if it consists of only one colour, all the detail is burnt out if the saturation settings are high. Lowering your saturation setting means you’ll keep detail in your photo if the scene only consists of one colour.
  3. Minimum sharpening. Usually -2. Almost all digital cameras have a filter in front of the sensor that slightly blurs the image. This helps to avoid jagged diagonal lines in your shots, amongst other reasons. Photoshop is much better at putting that sharpness back than your camera.

If you follow the above tips, you won’t have problems with images such as these:

Steve Vai 
Goldfrapp Dancer 



Friday, January 20th, 2006

I love festivals, they’re also amazing opportunities for photographers. Not only can you take photos of dozens of bands in one day, but the opportunities for photos of interesting people is endless. Here’s my breakdown of some of the festivals I went to in 2005:


Fantastic festival, it’s all about the atmosphere and people. I love the green fields and hippie values… it’s not at all about the music for me. It is big though, although it’s been much more manageable since the super-fence went up and the numbers came down. I’m very sad that there’s no Glasto in 2006.

V Festival 

Absolutely horrendous, very commercial with no atmosphere. It’s a weekend of relentless high-profile bands. It’s hard work as a photographer, there are buses that take you from stage to stage giving you time to shoot one song before you’re whisked off to the next band. It goes on like that all day. At midnight, everyone is kicked off the site with nothing to do. Great for my portfolio though!


One of my favourite festivals, I’ve been going for years and even had part of my honeymoon there. Very chilled out atmosphere and fantastic musicians. 


All the media are at the Leeds/Reading festival over the same weekend, so Solfest doesn’t get the respect it deserves. I had some of my most chilled out moments of 2005 at Solfest. Very friendly organisers and festival-goers. 

Whitby Musicport 

A small-scale world music festival held at the end of October, which can be rather cold! Good thing it’s held indoors. It’s the high-calibre of bands which makes this such a consistently great festival. 


A small but enthusiastically put together rock festival held in Manchester. Lots of sweaty fun. 

Marsden Jazz Festival 

Very well organised festival set in the beautiful hills of Marsden. I usually go to all the free peripheral gigs, last year I took advantage of a photo pass to capture the higher profile musicians. 


A free festival held in Barnsley. The atmosphere was actually really nice and some great bands played. I did like some of the ‘grim oop north’ shots I captured though! 

Leeds Mela 

A large scale Asian festival held at Roundhay Park in Leeds. I love Asian fashion which can be very photogenic but the music is usually awful. 

Tip#9 Equipment (75-300mm lens)

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

A 75-300mm f4.5-f5.6 lens is usually very cheap, and although it’s not your ideal lens for gig photography, it can give you great results. Until you can afford a 70-200mm f2.8 lens, the 75-300mm can be a good stopgap if your camera can shoot at high ISOs such as 1600 without too much noise.
Cameras that don’t produce a lot of noise include the Canon 350D and Minolta 7D. Older cameras such as the Canon 300D and some of the older Nikons will struggle with this lens in low light.
Most of the gigs I shot in 2005 from photographers’ pits have been with this lens but I’ve now upgraded to the holy grail, a 70-210mm f2.8. More on that later!
Taken with 75-300mm:

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand

Dizzie Rascal

Dizzie Rascal