Archive for December, 2005

Tip#3 Equipment

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005
It’s possible to get good gig photos with ANY equipment, but you’ll make your life much easier with better gear.
If you have a small point & shoot you should be able to get decent photos in your local bar/pub if you’re very creative, can get really close to the band, use flash and can move around a lot.
A mid range digital camera will enable you to use an external flash which can improve the quality of your shots immensely. You will still find the larger gigs difficult though, as flash is usually banned. Nonetheless, some of the cameras with good zoom and image stabilising can achieve good results without flash. But for the big-name bands you really need a good digital SLR. Make sure you get a DSLR with low noise at high ISOs such as ISO 1600 and ISO3200.
Of course, film is still an option. But film is expensive and turnaround can be slow. Black and white film can be fun to use, ISO3200 works well and you have the option of developing it yourself in a home darkroom.
Below are some photos I took with a 3MP Panasonic FZ10 which is now old and very cheap technology: 


Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera

Liu Fang

Liu Fang

Martin Simpson

Martin Simpson

Graham Garside

Serotonin

Famous People#1 Elton John

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

This was one of the first big name jobs I had a press pass for, I certainly learnt a lot from it.

  • Don’t shoot slower than 1/120. I used 1/90 for most of it… ouch! Too much motion blur.
  • Be prepared for rain. This was an open-air stadium gig, and my prefered lens didn’t have a lens hood. Make sure you have a lens hood!
  • If you want to carry on taking photos after the first three songs, you may be allowed to take photos of the crowd as long as you don’t take any more photos of the stage. I didn’t realise this.
  • If the main performer sits at a piano, grab as many good shots of them away from the piano as possible.
  • Many performers do a grand entrance and wave to the crowd. Try to capture it.

I also had to review the concert as well as take photos. If you can write articles/reviews, you’ll have a much easier time selling your photos!
I’ve never been a huge fan of Elton John, but I really enjoyed most of the gig. He’s a great piano player when he lets himself off the leash. The atmosphere was electric for most of the night, he has a lot of fans! I did leave near the end though after a relentless barrage of ballads.
The lighting was not great for photographers as we had to shoot during daylight, and the lights didn’t do a lot until the evening. I did catch a nice shot of the support act Lulu on one of the rare occasions that they fired up the lights behind her. Now she really was great… what a voice! Everyone was surprised at how good she looked, there were many people expressing concern at her age before she came on stage and blew them away.



Tip#2 Capture Atmosphere

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

When I was employed by Guardian Unlimited for the Glastonbury Festival(http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/glastonbury/0,14571,1218854,00.html), they actually didn’t want me to take any photos of the bands! They were most interested in shots that showed the atmosphere of the event. Luckily, I did blag a photographer’s pass for all the main acts which my portfolio needed at the time, but I did work very hard to supply The Guardian with plenty of shots away from the stages.
At any music event it is always important to take as many photos as possible that show who the audience are, and tell a bigger story. Show as much context as you can.






Glastonbury Festival Calendar

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Someone on the Glasto forums has been kind enough to put together a calendar for charity, and it’s an excellent job. http://forums.virtualfestivals.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=75111. These are the images I contributed (taken from the last two festivals):