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Old 03-29-2004, 06:19 PM   #1
huckedup16
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Default Attention Photographers: Need Help with Band Shooting

So I have a thing set up to shoot a few bands at a show this Friday for possible promo stuff, album use, etc.

Im not sure what the lighting will be like, though Im assuming that it will be similar to what the band showed me (from their pure volume site). Im gonna shoot them for free just to get my name out and into the local circle so Im not uber worried if they turn out only semi decent. They have already said "Anything you can shoot will most likely be better than what we already have."

Assuming the pics below are similar to lighting I will encounter on Friday, what are some general settings I should try to get the best shots?? Medium ISO (600-800) High Shutter Speed, High Aperture??





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Old 03-29-2004, 06:23 PM   #2
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One tip... NO FLASH no matter what... unless it's an action shot that requires it...
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:24 PM   #3
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IBIdjiit
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by KC
IBIdjiit
Yea, Im waiting for him to show up with his input
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:28 PM   #5
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Use the very tip of your index finger. Pull back the band until it has achieved its highest potential energy. Use the backmost part of the band and your index finger, on which is hooked the foremost part, to align the shot.

Release of the band should be smooth and instant. Jerky release will result in the band flying to the left or right of the target. High or low shots, assuming aim was correct, should be corrected using Kentucky windage.
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:36 PM   #6
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no high shutterspeed! slow.... and wide open aperature.
blurr, and fuzz are alwayse your friends when it comes to music.
remember the heaven or las vegas cover?

so, hand hold, 800 asa fuji press color neg. or tmax 400 pushed once.
get a flash meter.
find out your light conditions.
look at pure ambient value, and then look at pure flash value.
the trick is finding the golden mixture.

loook for arround half sec exposures, run your flash rear synch. and try to get ambient to fill in with blurry noise... have the pop be the definition. if you are unsure, run ttl and bracket a stop... color neg will get you in the ball park.

the flash will define only what it covers, so depending on what you have, you may need to get up close, but be carefull to not blow people out.

if it's super dark, as in tripping over people, just point and shoot...
set your focus manually by guessing your distance to subject..
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:52 PM   #7
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Um, yea...

...all I got out of that was keep the aperture open, and shoot shlw shutters
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Old 03-29-2004, 07:50 PM   #8
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Discopope has good tips. Reread what he said.

It can depend on the band and music. Presuming rock/punk and active band members jumping around, slower shutter speeds can give a sense of the action. (Don't go for the super-blurry shots or light streaks, as it can look cheap).

For low light, go for a high speed film. ISO 600+ is good. Don't worry about grainy shots, as that usually works for bands. Also, bring a roll of black and white (800 or 1200), as that may be easier to work with. Low light = less color to pick up.

Try a few shots at a faster shutter speed as well, but with a tight close up. Go for facial expressions, hands on the neck of a guitar, or anything intense which catches your eye. Drummers can work, as they don't jump around and often have a light on their face. Get them snarling on a cymbal bash and you have something.

Lastly, limited depth of field can emphasize the band. Since you're working with low light, apertures below F8 can work well. Watch your focus, as an autofocus systems may not work well in low light with people bouncing around.

Be sure to watch and listen - you want to get a sense of the band and use it to capture them.

Enjoy and good luck,
KR
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Old 03-29-2004, 08:07 PM   #9
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huckedup: What kind of camera are you using? film or digital? 35mm or medium-format? SLR or no? There are a lot of variables you have left out. Do you have a flash? If so what is it?

Really it's difficult to give anything other than broad and sweeping generalizations without knowing what kind of equipment you are going to be using. It's kind of like asking "What mod do I do first?" when the folks you are asking have no idea what kind of car you have. If you have a 1970s Lincoln Continental instead of a WRX, then that changes things a bit.
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Old 03-30-2004, 09:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrBiggly
huckedup: What kind of camera are you using? film or digital? 35mm or medium-format? SLR or no? There are a lot of variables you have left out. Do you have a flash? If so what is it?

I'm gonna be using digital. Its a Fuji Finepix s7000.


Basicly it can shoot anything from F8 to F2.8, 15 sec exposures to 1/10000. Iso is manual from 200-800 and then auto anywhere above that (but I can keep it low). Built in flash is rated at 22 ft, but I have access to an external rated at 35(?? I think).
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Old 03-30-2004, 09:59 AM   #11
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Ugh, hucked... dunno what to say. You're going to run into a few problems, methinks... It looks like this is a typical punk-rock venue - no formal lighting setup. So you're going to hit the following, and more....
  • There isn't enough light to shoot without a Flash, since your camera cannot go above ISO 800, and your aperture can't open wider than f/2.8. I always shoot at a minimum of ISO 1600, but generally "push" up to 3200 or 6400. My f-stop settings typically range from f/1.4 to about f/2.2. f/2.8 will probably not cut it.
  • Disregarding exposure for a sec, there probably will not be enough light for the camera to simply focus! AF systems require a lot of contrast - if you don't have hard enough light, you have little contrast, so the AF system can't work. You can "help" the camera out by choosing focus points that are higher contrast - the guy's face, instead of his black t-shirt for instance.
  • Using the camera's Flash will most likely also allow you to use its AF assist light/strobe, which will help you focus.
  • Practice using the Flash with different shutterspeeds. There's a few different ways of approaching Flash use, which are well represented in the photos you posted.
    - The first shot uses slow-sync Flash, which means the shutter speed is very long (which is why you get the huge light trails) and then the Flash "freezes" the action for a split-second. This is an immensely popular technique in punk/metal groups so this is probably what you want to shoot for.
    - The other two photos use a higher shutter speed, so the Flash freezes everything - including the background.
  • Using a wide-open aperture (f/2.8) may not give you the desired results - if you're close to the guitarist, and are hoping to have the bass player behidn in focus as well, the depth of field may not be "deep" enough to get the bass player. So if you want to get group shots, using a smaller aperture (f/8) with the Flash may yield better results (but then you have extreme light fall off due to the inverse square law, the things closer to the Flash have tons of light, but the light past that point diminishes quickly).
  • If you decide to go without a Flash, you'll be shooting very slow shutter speeds. Subject blur can look cool, but camera shake almost never does. So you need to anchor the camera somehow. Usually, I lean against the stage or speaker stacks - it looks like you'll have neither. So I highly recommend buying a monopod, which will elminate a lot of shake. Buy the Manfrotto 3006, it comes with a rubber mount and is only like $35.

Can you shoot RAW with the Fuji? You may be able to "push" the digital files like I do. What you do is shoot ISO 800, underexpose by two stops (see if the camera as exposure compensation, it should), then in the RAW conversion tool, you overexpose by two stops...

This is a lot of stuff, lemme know what I need to clarify.
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Old 03-30-2004, 10:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Idjiit
Ugh, hucked... dunno what to say. You're going to run into a few problems, methinks... It looks like this is a typical punk-rock venue - no formal lighting setup. So you're going to hit the following, and more....
  • There isn't enough light to shoot without a Flash, since your camera cannot go above ISO 800, and your aperture can't open wider than f/2.8. I always shoot at a minimum of ISO 1600, but generally "push" up to 3200 or 6400. My f-stop settings typically range from f/1.4 to about f/2.2. f/2.8 will probably not cut it.
  • Disregarding exposure for a sec, there probably will not be enough light for the camera to simply focus! AF systems require a lot of contrast - if you don't have hard enough light, you have little contrast, so the AF system can't work. You can "help" the camera out by choosing focus points that are higher contrast - the guy's face, instead of his black t-shirt for instance.
  • Using the camera's Flash will most likely also allow you to use its AF assist light/strobe, which will help you focus.
  • Practice using the Flash with different shutterspeeds. There's a few different ways of approaching Flash use, which are well represented in the photos you posted.
    - The first shot uses slow-sync Flash, which means the shutter speed is very long (which is why you get the huge light trails) and then the Flash "freezes" the action for a split-second. This is an immensely popular technique in punk/metal groups so this is probably what you want to shoot for.
    - The other two photos use a higher shutter speed, so the Flash freezes everything - including the background.
  • Using a wide-open aperture (f/2.8) may not give you the desired results - if you're close to the guitarist, and are hoping to have the bass player behidn in focus as well, the depth of field may not be "deep" enough to get the bass player. So if you want to get group shots, using a smaller aperture (f/8) with the Flash may yield better results (but then you have extreme light fall off due to the inverse square law, the things closer to the Flash have tons of light, but the light past that point diminishes quickly).
  • If you decide to go without a Flash, you'll be shooting very slow shutter speeds. Subject blur can look cool, but camera shake almost never does. So you need to anchor the camera somehow. Usually, I lean against the stage or speaker stacks - it looks like you'll have neither. So I highly recommend buying a monopod, which will elminate a lot of shake. Buy the Manfrotto 3006, it comes with a rubber mount and is only like $35.

Can you shoot RAW with the Fuji? You may be able to "push" the digital files like I do. What you do is shoot ISO 800, underexpose by two stops (see if the camera as exposure compensation, it should), then in the RAW conversion tool, you overexpose by two stops...

This is a lot of stuff, lemme know what I need to clarify.

I'll sort out what I understand, and what I need clarification with...


-The issue of no flash vs. flash will be something I just have to deal with. I will have to use the flash for most shots that I hope to get any clarity with. The camera will most likey be forced to ISO 800 with a 2.8 aperture setting, just cuz its the best I can do. Shutter speed will be the determining factor. The camera has a "supressed flash setting" which I'm gonna toy around with before hand to see how that works.

-The camera does have a manual focus ring (defaults as a zoom but I can change the setting) so I'm not super worried about the auto-focus being thrown off. I can just set it myself or guess on the distance and salvage a few shots.

-AF assist Light / Strobe. See above?? I think thats what I meant to say down here.

- Im looking to get a few shots like that... I can play around with when the flash fires during a shot, Im thinking a cool setting would be to have the flash capture the very start of a photo when I take it and then have the rest of the exposure capture whatever it does motion trail wise. That seems like it would give me the best control over a shot where there isnt much control to begin with.

-What you said about depth of field...Im just gonna try to work around that, and use the suppressed flash if that happens to work out.

-Agreed on the monopod. There will be a small stage and a few speakers/amps around (I asked after reading your post).

The RAW idea is something Im gonna think about doing. It seems to make sense.


Also, my camera will shoot 12 megapixel at ISO 800. The CCD is only 6.3mp so Im guessing it just ups the image to a 12mp size. Could this be useful at all??
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Old 03-30-2004, 10:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by huckedup16
-The camera does have a manual focus ring (defaults as a zoom but I can change the setting) so I'm not super worried about the auto-focus being thrown off. I can just set it myself or guess on the distance and salvage a few shots.
Don't count on being able to use the focus ring. MF on these types of cameras is almost useless in low light since there's no split-screen to help out. So, you have to just judge on your own eye - don't know about yours, but mine aren't good enough to finely tune MF. When you're shooting wide open, the margin of error is ****ed - if you're an inch off, the photo is ruined. If you're using the Flash and a smaller aperture, you may be okay.


Quote:
Originally posted by huckedup16
- Im looking to get a few shots like that... I can play around with when the flash fires during a shot, Im thinking a cool setting would be to have the flash capture the very start of a photo when I take it and then have the rest of the exposure capture whatever it does motion trail wise. That seems like it would give me the best control over a shot where there isnt much control to begin with.
Cool, that's actually a bit of control missing in the Digital Rebel - first curtain vs. second curtain Flash sync. Play around and see what you like. I think most slow-sync shots you see in magazines, etc. are second curtain, which means the Flash fires last.

Quote:
Originally posted by huckedup16
Also, my camera will shoot 12 megapixel at ISO 800. The CCD is only 6.3mp so Im guessing it just ups the image to a 12mp size. Could this be useful at all??
Nah. You'll be shooting such relatively high-noise photos that you'll just be enhancing noise. Since you'll probably just be posting the photos to the web, the extra resolution doesn't really give you anything, it just eats up disk space.
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Old 03-30-2004, 11:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
- Im looking to get a few shots like that... I can play around with when the flash fires during a shot, Im thinking a cool setting would be to have the flash capture the very start of a photo when I take it and then have the rest of the exposure capture whatever it does motion trail wise. That seems like it would give me the best control over a shot where there isnt much control to begin with.
that will be backwards.
you need the shutter to open and expose available light, then pop....

think about a car driving by at night..

if you do open shutter, pop flash, continue to expose, close shutter your headlights will be at the begining of the streak.

you need to pop after, hence rear curtain, or slow synch....
good news, you will be able to tell straight away if you are getting the shots you need.

a good friend of mine does alot of concert work.
check out his page. he has moved to shooting 90% of the stuff on a d1x.

http://www.tonynelsonphoto.com/ check out some of the night time shots at the 2003 south by south west..

/cheers

Last edited by DISCOPOPE; 03-30-2004 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 03-30-2004, 11:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Idjiit


Cool, that's actually a bit of control missing in the Digital Rebel - first curtain vs. second curtain Flash sync. Play around and see what you like. I think most slow-sync shots you see in magazines, etc. are second curtain, which means the Flash fires last.

That function is on the 10D and you can access it under Custom Functions to pick whether you want first or second curtain. I believe default is 1st curtain. It also has Flash exposure compensation, so I can under-expose or over-expose the amount of flash I use for shots by +/- two stops, independent of the regular exposure compensation. I honestly do not like using the flash (built-in flash) on it as the camera almost always wants to overexpose no matter what I'm doing. I have very limited use with the flash as it is, I just need to do some tests and figure out what the camera is doing so I can work around it. I feel like I'm smarter than the camera most of the time anyway (except on focus, good point to Sam about the split and manual). I just have to figure out what is going on and compensate for it.
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Old 03-30-2004, 01:23 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the ideas, I'll be sure to post the results when after the show.

Any other things I should really keep in mind?


Also, In another side project, Im gonna be shooting the album art for a friend later this afternoon at an old abandoned mill along the Baker River. I'll post those when Im done.
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Old 03-30-2004, 01:50 PM   #17
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Quick, stupid question when shooting bands -

Will it produce good results if you're using a hotshoe flash, point it straight up, and shoot like that?
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Old 03-30-2004, 01:55 PM   #18
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Other advice? Here's some other random stuff:
  • Knowing the group's songs is essential, IMO. With punk bands, this'll allow you to know when they're all going to jump, gesticulate, whatever. So if you haven't heard them, try to grab some songs and get familiar with it.
  • The big thing for you I think is going to be overcoming camera shake. Get the monopod, or hunt out a good spot to anchor to.
  • Get used to reviewing shots in the dark, and learn to be able to judge what's proper exposure or not. I tend to underexpose my concert photography because usually the lights cause a lot of contrast - so I shoot for the highlights. This brings down the overall exposure level, but you still have good detail and ambience. Shots like this may appear to be underexposed when previewing in the dark, but back at your comp may look fine.
  • Shoot manual. It sounds like lighting conditions will be static while you shoot, so there isn't really a reason to have the extra lag involved with the camera doing AE calculations.
  • Have fun. Don't be the grumpy photographer who's fussing with his camera and not rockin' out at the show.
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Old 03-30-2004, 01:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kinsbane
Will it produce good results if you're using a hotshoe flash, point it straight up, and shoot like that?
Only if there's something to bounce the light off of. In a club with a black ceiling, that technique is useless. But in hucked's situation, it looks like it's a rec room or something, so that might work out well.
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Old 03-30-2004, 02:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Idjiit
Only if there's something to bounce the light off of. In a club with a black ceiling, that technique is useless. But in hucked's situation, it looks like it's a rec room or something, so that might work out well.
My dad has a hotshoe flash for his G2, and when he shoots my band he uses a flash bouncer - pretty much a white piece of plastic that rotates at different angles relative to the flashbulb. It's worked out pretty well.
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Old 03-30-2004, 02:12 PM   #21
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Quote:
http://www.tonynelsonphoto.com/ check out some of the night time shots at the 2003 south by south west..
Wow, Liz Phair is HOT!!

-Tom
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Old 03-30-2004, 02:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by trhoppe
Wow, Liz Phair is HOT!!

-Tom
Dude, you're right! I had no idea. :-D
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Old 04-03-2004, 01:35 AM   #23
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pics are up...see new thread.
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