- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
- Selling Your Photography: How to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
- How to Photography: 5 Tips to Receive Truly Helpful Critiques of your Photos
- How to Photography: 10 Common Shooting Challenges of Beginner Photographers and DSLR Enthusiasts
- How to Photography: Minimalism
- 5 Reasons Every Photographer Should Own a 35mm Lens
Excellent digital photography of rock concerts requires the right gear and technical skills as well as an artistic eye to take more than average pictures. The biggest challenges of shooting rock concerts are the quickly-changing light conditions and the fast movement of the performers. This two-part PhotographyTalk.com article presents 9 tips that will help you capture digital photos and receive many “likes” when you add them to your Facebook page.
Exposure is the key to success.
Because stage lighting is such a challenge, you must thoroughly understand exposure concepts. The action occurs too fast to learn on this job. A good start is to read or review PhotographyTalk.com’s five-part article, Digital Photography—Taming the Three-Headed Exposure Monster. Make sure you also understand the different light metering options.
Don’t rely on evaluative metering to read lighting that is high contrast and unpredictable.
Spot metering will work well if you’re framing a single subject or metering a medium tone. Avoid spot metering, however, if your subject is standing in front of bright background lights. The subject will be correctly exposed, but the background highlights will bloom and lose all details.
Your best exposure strategy is to use evaluative metering, as you work through some trial and error. It won’t take much time to determine the various plus and minus settings to expose various sections of the stage correctly.
Of the three components of the exposure concept—ISO, shutter speed and aperture—you’re more likely to be manipulating ISO and shutter speed when shooting digital photos of rock concerts. This is because the lighting conditions will make it necessary to shoot at the widest aperture, or lens opening. To shoot multiple subjects and keep them in focus with the right depth of field, you need to use a smaller aperture. When you’ve determined the amount of over-exposure or under-exposure required, you can then bracket your digital pictures on either side of the best exposure setting.
For example, you’ve discovered that the right exposure for a particular shot of a single band member is 1/125th (shutter speed), f/2.8 (aperture) and ISO200 (ISO). Suddenly, another band member jumps into your picture, and he or she is not standing in the same focal plane as the original musician. Now more depth of field is required to make both of them appear to be in focus. The solution is to use the same shutter speed, but close the aperture to f/5.6 (which is two stops) and increase the ISO to 800. This second set of values exposes the new picture exactly the same as the first. As the lighting and your subject matter changes and/or you take digital photos of a different part of the stage, you must continue to think carefully about your exposure settings.
Another strategy is to use a camera with higher ISO settings, which will reproduce sharp pictures. You’ll be able to shoot at a faster shutter speed, which decreases camera movement and helps you freeze the frenetic movements of the band.
View your histogram!
Being small, the viewfinder preview won’t allow you to determine the over- and under-exposed areas of your image. You can see the lost highlight details, but you won’t see how that has affected the details in the shadows. That’s why being fully knowledgeable of how to use your histogram is so important. PhotographyTalk.com has made that easier for you, however, with the article, Digital Photography—Learn How to See the Picture Differently, with Histograms. The exposure and quality of your rock concert pictures depend on how well you thoroughly understand histograms. Configure your camera, so you can view a full-screen histogram. Check the sharpness and focus in preview. Then, take a quick look at the histogram before you start shooting again.
You must also find a balance between checking your shots too often and capturing the amazing images you may be missing. The best strategy is to view the histogram a few times to make accurate exposure settings for the various lighting conditions, and then concentrate on shooting great digital photos of the performance.
Analyze the band.
Even before you begin to shoot, spend a few minutes closely watching the performers. You want to understand how each of them moves on stage, where they are most likely to stand and their facial expressions, postures and little quirks that reveal each performer’s uniqueness. Take note of the choreography of the show: Does the lead singer come to the front of the stage or leap from the piano during a specific song? Are explosions and other pyrotechnics used, and when? If you plan to photograph the same band or individual performer in the future, then this information will help you take even better digital pictures.
When you begin to understand the structure of the show and the movement of the performers, you can then anticipate where they will be and what they will be doing. This allows you to pre-frame shots and their exposures. You’re so ready that the performer can just step into your framing. Even then, recording the digital image you want requires instant reaction time, very similar to shooting sports.
Look for more tips in Digital Photography—Tips for Concert Pictures That Will Rock Your World, Part 2.
People who read this PhotographyTalk.com article also liked: