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Old 17-02-2007, 09:29   #1 (permalink)
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Tips for gig photography?

I'm going to see a friends band next week and want to take some pictures of them. Unfortunately the venue is dark, dingy, cramped and has very poor lighting bar the odd direct spot light.

Has anyone got any tips that would help me take decent pictures in this kind of environment?

This isn't the place but its similar in lighting (was taken ages ago with my Sony cybershot)

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Old 17-02-2007, 11:40   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

  1. Shoot in full manual mode, setting the fastest aperture your lens has
  2. Learn to trust in and compensate for your camera's AF - MF takes too long
  3. Shoot in RAW and set Auto WB - deal with the stage lighting in post
  4. Set your ISO accordingly - 400 or so for well-lit venues, 800 or 1600 for the grungy ones!
  5. Shutter speeds no lower than 1/60 (wide end) to 1/160 (tele end) will do the job
  6. Use fast glass - f/2.8 constant if you have it or, if you have fast primes (f/2 or better) use them for the poorly lit venues
  7. Always keep an eye open for what is happening around the stage - the lead singer might be beating away on a tambourine, but the guitaritst might be dropping into a demon-flava solo any second now

I find a good starting point to be ISO400, f/2.8 and 1/125 sec for shutter speed... I'll adjust on the fly from those values as and when needed.
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Old 17-02-2007, 14:08   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

That's good advice, although ISO400 sounds a bit optimistic. I also find Aperture-priority a good way to work, as it can keep up with fast changing lights better than I can. Spot-metering is a must in my opinion, although what you'll probably find is that there's no one correct way to shoot.

I've a fair few gig photos in my profile on here with all the EXIF info intact. If you have a shuffle through those, it should give you some ideas of what typical settings I use.

If you're really struggling for light and you've cleared it with your mates, you may want to try using flash for a few shots.

If you do, a good starting point settings-wise would normally be 1/10sec, ISO800, aperture-wide-open, matrix metering. Dragging the shutter like this will help to produce a decent balance between ambient and flash light. You may wish to experiment with much longer exposures, depending on how much movement you want in your shot.

Hope this helps.
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Old 17-02-2007, 14:59   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

the main advice is to have fun,. try out as many different things as you can think of,.

the d50 can handle a lot of under exposure - like 2 stops even at 1600iso and the noise not look objectionable (matter of opinion) and I believe the d40 works in a similar way (though rumour has it the d40 does a better job at 1600 iso raw and then pushed the extra stop in processing to get back 3200iso)

for fast primes (which can help with low lighting conditions) you might want to consider the sigma 1.4 - but tbh throwing money at the problem doesn't make up for creativity - experiment and have fun

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Old 18-02-2007, 10:09   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

Hey cheers for all the advice, its really appreciated
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Old 02-04-2010, 21:18   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

Quote:
Originally Posted by inventory View Post
That's good advice, although ISO400 sounds a bit optimistic. I also find Aperture-priority a good way to work, as it can keep up with fast changing lights better than I can. Spot-metering is a must in my opinion, although what you'll probably find is that there's no one correct way to shoot.

I've a fair few gig photos in my profile on here with all the EXIF info intact. If you have a shuffle through those, it should give you some ideas of what typical settings I use.

If you're really struggling for light and you've cleared it with your mates, you may want to try using flash for a few shots.

If you do, a good starting point settings-wise would normally be 1/10sec, ISO800, aperture-wide-open, matrix metering. Dragging the shutter like this will help to produce a decent balance between ambient and flash light. You may wish to experiment with much longer exposures, depending on how much movement you want in your shot.

Hope this helps.
Hi,
Hi,

I used to work with a Nikon F3 film and haven't done much photography for years, except with a point and shoot which was fun but I got bored.

I recently purchased a Nikon D300 and AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR for all round versatility.

Last night I went out to shoot my fella's band but what a disaster. I'm not looking to become a gig photographer per sei, only I'd like to take good shots of the band and do them justice.

I shot using the lens as above
Aperture priority mode
matrix metering
RAW/JPeg Large

I knew ISO was going to be a tricky one and not having any experience in a gig environment I played with shots at home in a dimly lit room. What I discovered was that with this lens I had to increase my ISO but I ended up between 2000/3000.

When I got to the gig I tested this out then had to go even higher at times. Anyway, needless to say my shots were not good- a lot of blur on many and noise as to be expected.

Is this what I can expect with this lens? I agree with Silver above, that throwing more money at the problem won't make up for creativity.

Any suggestions please.

Thanks.
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Old 02-04-2010, 21:33   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

Hi,

I used to work with a Nikon F3 film and haven't done much photography for years, except with a point and shoot which was fun but I got bored.

I recently purchased a Nikon D300 and AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR for all round versatility.

Last night I went out to shoot my fella's band but what a disaster. I'm not looking to become a gig photographer per sei, only I'd like to take good shots of the band and do them justice.

I shot using the lens as above
Aperture priority mode
matrix metering
RAW/JPeg Large

I knew ISO was going to be a tricky one and not having any experience in a gig environment I played with shots at home in a dimly lit room. What I discovered was that with this lens I had to increase my ISO but I ended up between 2000/3000.

When I got to the gig I tested this out then had to go even higher at times. Anyway, needless to say my shots were not good- a lot of blur on many and noise as to be expected.

Is this what I can expect with this lens? I agree with Silver above, that throwing more money at the problem won't make up for creativity.

Any suggestions please.

Thanks.
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Old 04-04-2010, 20:05   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

You just can't shoot in those light conditions with an f3.5-5.6, you just can't get enough light in the zoom end. A lens of f2.8 or better is what you need to get a decent shot and keep your ISO around 800.

While you are right in saying technology can't make up for creativity you do need the right tools for gig shots.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:36   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

You didn't say which camera system you use,I use Nikon.Rather than the kit lens I bought a Sigma 10 to 20 wide angle and a Nikon 18 to 200.both have modest aperture settings so in low light I use the maximum ISO setting I can get away with.On 35mm film cameras I used an f1.8 50mm standard lens and for top quality on 120mm film an f2.8 focal lengths 50mm,80mm and 150mm.Fast lenses are very expensive.
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Old 08-04-2010, 18:48   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

VP's spot on with his advice. I shoot quite for quite a lot of bands - mostly in low light conditions. Do keep an eye on what's going on all around. Here's one of mine where the lighting wasn't brilliant.
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Old 16-05-2010, 23:08   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

Any advice on which camera to buy for professional gig photography if you haven't got thousands to spend?
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Old 16-05-2010, 23:39   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

As a Nikon user I'm not too familiar with the high ISO performance of Canon and other makes. but I think the Canon 7D or Nikon D300 will be the starting points with the camera bodies. I'm sure those more familiar with the Canons will add their suggestions.

Again, I'm more into Nikkor lenses than Canon, so I'd take a look at the Nikkor 28-70 f2.8 or the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 and either a used Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 vr or an 80-200 f2.8 AFS. You might find the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 will do the job for you and will be cheaper if you don't go for the latest OS version. Tamron also make fast lenses.
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Old 17-05-2010, 15:10   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

I use a Nikon D3 and either a 24-70mm f2.8 or 85mm f1.8.

Camera settings vary from gig to gig depending on venue. I use shutter priority or go full manual if I have plenty of time.

Minimum shutter 1/125 preferably 1/160.
Maximun aperture of either 2.8 or 1.8 depending on the lens.
Spot metering.
ISO - start at 800 and adjust that the ensure you maintain shutter and aperture settings as above.
Shoot in RAW is an absolute must and always check the histogram regularly.
Never use flash. It kills the lighting and is a distraction for the band.

There's my two pennies worth!!!!
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Old 17-05-2010, 15:45   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

I was wondering about both the Nikkor 50mm f1.8 or the 85mm f1.8 too, but thought that a zoom would be more flexible for gig photography.

They certainly offer great VFM if the lack of zoom is OK for gig work.
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Old 17-05-2010, 19:34   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

Everyone has a different style and different ways they shoot gigs at places and events like these. the trick is to learn what style you like.

Events like these sometimes actually are not as low lighting as you think depending on where you are located. If you are close enough and the spot likes are right on your subject you will be surprised how well lid they are.

In terms of style I am more with inventory. A lot of local gigs like this will let the audience use flash, not like a huge flash gun, but they expect the regular jane Doe or Joes Smith to use their point and shoot or even camera phones cam and there will be flashes anyways (Big venture will sometime limit the use of flash) so think about using flash. For me I don't over BLAST the subject with a strong flash anyways as I like to keep the mood and the somewhat the colors of the venture. Just enough flash to Freeze the action is all I like and I DRAG my shutter to let in the ambient light. In reality, the like you let in IS not what is there at the venture but you have enough of it to create or recreate a mood. Fast lens are great - that is a given, but if you don't have then high ISO with your HIGH ISO noise reduction on and shooting in Raw will help TONS.

In the end I find that for gigs, it is more important that you know your event and what and how you want to shoot to be much much more important than what you shoot with. Mental planning is part of gig photography I think.

My two cents
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Old 17-05-2010, 19:35   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

PS I am big on spot or central weight....I try to stay away from matrix metering period.
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Old 13-12-2010, 22:46   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

hello everyone new to this foram and hope i can learn some photo tips from you guys and hope i can help you guys too.
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Old 20-12-2010, 00:16   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for gig photography?

Has anyone taken pics of lightning? what settings do you guys have the camera set at? I know i have to ave it on bulb and have it on f8 but what do u have the iso too?
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