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  #1  
Old 24th February 2016
Walti Walti is offline
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Cool Gig guide....

Has anyone done any gig photography?

Got the chance to do a session at a gig for a friends band, but haven't done any.... the venue will be a pub so quite intimate and I expect the 12-40 will be all thats needed, unless I simply use the Panasonic 20 1.7...

Any advice greatly appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 24th February 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

Sounds like fun. A few brief thoughts:

Light is likely to be poor in a pub so maybe the f/1.7 of the 20mm will come in handy. As it's a pub you will probably be able to get in fairly close and not need a long focal length - whether the wide end of the zoom would be useful depends on conditions and what you want to do. It can be pretty difficult to change lenses in the middle of a crowd, so take a look at the setup and decide which you are going to use before wading in.

I reckon the basic rule of gig (or any other event) photography is - don't piss people off. Don't use flash, it can distract the performers and annoy the audience. Try not to get in the way of too many people - they have gone there to see the band, not the back of your head. Depending on the layout you may have to get in the way a bit, in which case try and get in and out quickly.

If you look as if you belong and stride confidently to the front holding the camera most people will get out of your way.

You may end up standing in front of the speakers. You haven't mentioned what kind of band they are - if they are death metal some earplugs will be a good idea, if they are a string quartet probably less so And if your ears start to hurt, forget the photos and bail out pronto or you could do permanent damage.

If there is a drummer, try and get a shot or two of them. They are usually at the back, in the dark, and surrounded by kit so they get ignored a lot which means they will be very grateful if you get half-way reasonable shots of them.

A few scenery shots can sometimes work well - stand at the back, hold the camera up as high as you can stretch and shoot over the heads of the crowd.

Exposure is a lottery. If it is just ambient light it should be steady and not too high contrast so you can trust the camera's meter. If there is some sort of stage lighting you just have to guess, and be prepared to lose detail in highlights and/or shadows. The live histogram is a great help for this.

I generally try and use a relatively slow shutter speed - 1/60 allows a guitarist's or drummer's hand to blur which gives a good sense of movement and energy while still keeping most of the subject reasonably sharp. My starting point is usually 1/60 at f/2 with ISO around 1600 - try a shot or two and review and adjust ISO accordingly.

It's good fun - specially if you like the style of music and the beer is good! Good luck, let us know how you get on.

John
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  #3  
Old 24th February 2016
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Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
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Re: Gig guide....

Shoot RAW. WB Custom at 5000K (absolutely no AWB). Auto ISO (don't worry about noise). A or S mode depending on how you want the images to look.

Ear plugs
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Old 25th February 2016
macmcgill macmcgill is offline
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Re: Gig guide....

OK I've done a few, John is right about not pissing people off and no flash.
The sound check can be good for facial expressions

Trying to focus on the eyes counts just as much here

Get them when they are into the music they are making

And hope to find a showboater!

I used an EM5 with 12-60, 70-300 (both 4/3) and a 75 prime for these. ISO at 2500 or 3200, AWB in Aperture mode and adjusted A to suit as I went along. The Panny may be too short.
Pub lighting can be a bit hit and miss, so turn up early to assess it and pick your spot - remember right handed players are best kept to your right if possible, line of sight to the drummer is a PIA as the guys at the front will want to climb down the lens. The more you know about the band, the better you can place yourself.


And not get wrongsided


Earplugs? Personal taste, but judging where a band is in a song



Can help get air shots etc

And DO NOT GET TOO CLOSE! Most bands love the chance to bounce about in front of a lens, if they see you they will start performing for the camera without realising that in that light its not fast enough. If your going to do video as well, sit the camera on a solid table on about 5 beermats (dry ones!), set the recording volume as low as it goes about f5.6 - and growl at anyone who comes close. I've had a few goes they lurk on youtube under my name, I cant post links as youtube is blocked to me while I am at work.
But give it a shot.

You can always desaturate the dodgy ones. And dont forget to HAVE FUN
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Old 25th February 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

as above
EARPLUGS
as it is a pub get at some point to the right of the stage to see if you can look down a guitar or bass
Sometimes I get to the back of the stage to image the crowd through the band
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Old 25th February 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

I'd also say learn the manual settings, as gigs can have bright LED lights and the autofocus etc can end up at completely wrong exposures and everything blurred, particularly if it is a bouncy gig!
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Old 25th February 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkG View Post
I'd also say learn the manual settings, as gigs can have bright LED lights ...
Quite true
At the sound check I usually spot meter the faces as the lighting is tested to get an exposure which I set up manually for the whole gig. I then use the front and rear wheels to adjust if required.
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Old 19th March 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

Well I went and did a gig with a band I know....

Mixed reaction to the photos, on there camera they looked a lot better than on the computer....

Will let them finish uploading tonight and edit a couple tomorrow for critique!
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Old 19th March 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

Look forward to seeing them Walti. I hope you weren't so worried about the photos that it spoiled your enjoyment of the gig!

John
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Old 19th March 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

The gig was a lot better than I expected - which was good.

Took nearly 1000 photos, of which I guess are rejects, but if I get one or two good ones I'll be very happy!

In the back of a pub with virtually no light so I'm amazed any came out to be honest! VERY high ISO, very low shutter speed....

Lesson one....

Get some lighting sorted next time!
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Re: Gig guide....

Sounds like a good challenge!

John
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Old 19th March 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

Well,

Here's a couple, not post processed...

Can't make up my mind whether to leave them yellow cast or correct the white balance, I think they lose some character corrected....



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Old 19th March 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

White balance is a matter of taste For several venues I have individual values taken with only the house lights In post processing I blanket apply to all and then adjust as required Looks like you had fun
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  #14  
Old 24th March 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

Sorry Walti, took my eye off the ball for a minute and missed these.

It looks like you have done well in very difficult circumstances. That light looks appalling - not only is there not much of it, there is more of it on the visually messy background than on the performers. This is a common problem, even sometimes on professionally lit stages. You've caught a good mood and a couple of good moments.

I would at least try to get rid of the yellow cast, specially in the first where we can see that the stripes on the singer's legs should be white. If that kills the atmosphere, think about a BW conversion. For the first one I would probably crop out the light areas on the left and on top - keeping points of interest on the thirds doesn't seem to matter with this sort of stuff so having the singer on the left of the frame shouldn't be a problem. The tonal range also looks a bit flat (which isn't helped by the yellow cast) so I would probably play with contrast, saturation, vibrance and clarity to try and get a bit more punch.

It is always very difficult to get good clean shots in these conditions - not least because there are so many distractions in the background and you might not get much choice of shooting position. Have a look at what you've got, decide which ones work best, and have another go with that in mind. A perfect excuse to hit the pub for more gigs

Thanks for sharing them - it looks like you all had a good night! We had a band here for a while, formed of chaps who one might have thought were old enough to know better. They called themselves "Guts 'n' Noses".

John
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Old 24th March 2016
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Re: Gig guide....

Hi Walt, only saw these a few minuets ago, the images you put up, I would darken them down to give a bit more atmosphere, leave the colours as they are and probably increase the contrast, this should give more punch with atmosphere.

I do some gig photography, at festivals and darker images work really well, I wouldn't worry about losing some shadows as it would be expected, plus helped tone down any unwanted background clutter.
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