Photography Tutorial – Concert Photography

Photography Tutorial - Concert Photography



jared polin froknowsphoto.com so back from South by Southwest and this is a photo of the week as well as some concert shooting techniques that that I'm gonna share with you right now so this picture was taken at South by Southwest at the monster energy jam with psy and I who had traveled down with opening the show there were like six acts they were playing first they only we're gonna play five songs and usually what happens during the early acts or the whoever's running the lights doesn't really go all out with the lights because they just they just don't for opening acts so in this picture you have Walt on the left you have Nick on the right playing his brand-new guitar from his guitar company Perry Inc he's now producing his own Qatar's and they are for sale and they are pretty darn amazing so this was the first major show where he was playing this guitar and the whole the whole thing I was going for was capturing Nick playing this guitar because that was the whole idea here is he needed some great images of himself for publication for advertising for all different things to use images of him playing his own brand of guitar which is a really smart business move you know why not produce your own guitars if you can and then offer them up is he's limited edition custom guitars so that's enough about you know the story here but we'll get into how I captured this a little bit so this was shot with the Nikon d3s the lighting wasn't very good we didn't have a sound check to check lights and and they got to do one song but there was no lightning put on during soundcheck so we couldn't really guess what it was gonna or we had to guess what it was gonna look like when it was time to actually shoot the show so I kind of had a feeling it was gonna be pretty dark so I shot the d3s up to 8,000 ISO this shot was taken at one four hundredth of a second shot manual F 3.22 give me a little bit of leeway with my focus 800 ISO 32 millimeters using the 24 to 72 point 8 and as you can see at the top of this image I kept the top of the head or the neck or whatever that's called of the guitar in this picture which is really really important I like this framing I like this composition and you know Nick is just at the like the apex of his bending back to play his guitar so this was let's see what else as you can see right here in the middle you have a big flare coming in now if you were shooting on anything but Manuel your image would have looked like this you know because it would be exposing for the light in the background and that's not what you want you don't want the camera to read these lights in the background that's why I shoot in manual I know I speak in my book the the how to capture images and low-light situations about being an aperture priority that's when you're just starting out but when you get comfortable and you move into shooting manually this is what happens the reason I was at four hundredths of a second is because I wanted to freeze action the reason I was at three two is to give me a little bit of leeway just in case my focus shifts were they or the you know artists move slightly you know I want to have a little bit of leeway front to back with my aperture and usually the 24 to 70 was because I wanted to get some action shots of Nick and not be goober goober tight this time so that's why I was at 32 millimeters using a 24 to 70 2.8 again shooting at 800 ISO 800 8,000 ISO is because I can in the d3s you are fully capable of shooting this camera at 8,000 and being very usable as you can see here before we even edit it look how clean he is right here sure there's some noise and grain that's because it's a little underexposed right now but that is okay that's not a problem this image is gonna live as a black and white it really feels good as a black and white because it I've played with it and I'm going to do some tweaking of the raw file that I've never done personally before to actually use the fill light to make the image pop even more because you know that contrast goes to 100 blacks go to 100 but I would love for them to go even further because you know I can never have enough contrast in my photos so before I get to editing it what am i where am i focusing in this image let's go into some education on you know what makes or how to shoot during a concert so here you can see I didn't get it there's monitors that are actually right below Walt's knees that I didn't want in there so I shot a little higher I focus right on Nick I focus on his face I focus on his eye that's what I was going for and I locked through and I think I snapped off three or four or five different images of him you know really locking in on this motion what's great is Shane is back here on the drums there's only three guys in the band you got Walt here Shane here and Nick right here so that's what I'm looking at I'm constantly checking my frame to make sure I don't miss or cut anything off in this case I didn't cut off the top of the guitar I cut off above the knees so it doesn't look awkward again the exposure is one of the most important things here well shooting raw is very important too because we can make the tweaks and make this image much better short it's okay now but wait till you see where we finish this at so when you're shooting a show you you're gonna have to fight for position sometimes in the pit and it so happened that I was shooting with Robert night in the pit look him up if you've never heard of him amazing photographer shooting since the 60s Jimi Hendrix stuff you know so he's been all around the world with any rock star you name him he shot him and he's got a great great documentary that you guys should look up and I can't remember the name for some reason right now I'll put an annotation in here because I hear it's on Netflix so yeah when you're shooting these shows you got to get into position you gotta stake your claim which is what I did I kind of had a feeling you know I actually didn't know Nick was gonna do this what I saw it start to happen so I got over into position I got there I love the composition because they're equal on the left or equal on the right again nothing's cut off this is exactly how its shot and I'm very very happy with us so let's get into editing editing this and making it black and white and showing you something that I've really never done in one of my images that I'm gonna fully use in this photo so I'm going black and white I'm pumping my contrast up so far so good right what else am i changing I'm gonna go up in my exposure slightly for some reason this is what I did I played with this a little earlier so I'm gonna go there and then I bumped my blacks to like 26 so you know right here this image is good but I'm losing some detail in this area the the guitar I'm losing detail the truss up here I'm losing key detail Walt's pants I'm losing detail I didn't throw in any clarity yet so let me just throw in some clarity for the time being this is already a solid image I haven't done very much to it and just going black and white you know here's the color you can see how it's blown out underexposed and BAM black and white look how solid it becomes and how much of a classic image it becomes it just screams at you because color is too normal for me or it's too normal it's then it's the norm anymore but this black and white is solid it gets rid of all the haze it's just really awesome and I love this flare right here but he's still there still exposed properly all because I was shooting manual now let's do that thing that I've never done before and one of my own images and that's go nuts with the fill light I wanted to see what would happen here if I use the fill light and pump up my black levels so the fill light you know we're gonna be right here 68 look what happens so you start to get green it brings out a little more of the image but yeah it looks terrible like this right but what are we gonna do to make this go pop hello I just went pop with the blacks what happened here all right we're going to go back before the fill light where I touch the clarity watch the guitar see how will the blacks see how the the the colors around here or the white around here go away now we're added to feel like look how it pops look up in the truck right up here it's hidden now it's brought out look at Walt's pants and shirt and face it's gone and now it brings it back right here so it really didn't introduce too much noise or grain that wouldn't have been there so now we're zoomed in this is where it was it's still noisy still grainy and this is where we went and it really didn't introduce too much that I am not happy with but what it did is it opened up the image there it's closed and there it's open so what I had to do there is I pumped up my fill light and then compensated to bring my contrast back by pumping up my black levels yes so yeah I'm really into this right now you know it was a lot of fun to figure this out Adam Lerner buddy of mine suggested that I throw some fill light in I don't know if he suggested that I do what I just did but I am I think this image is there this is where it started this is where it's at now this is a classic thick black and white that transcends time in my mind and utilizing the raw file Adobe Lightroom here right now and use a lot utilizing the fill light which I've never used really in my own work did something different because this image is closed as you can what I mean by closed is it's very dark in these areas it's very dark it's it lacks some just I don't know some something and then the fill light just opened it up it just opened up the image to make it even better in my mind yeah I mean because there's NYX face you know the highlights in the hair it just now looks more dimensional so that's trying something new that's you know answering the question that a lot of people ask me all the time or say that I don't use enough of the of the the tools that photos uh sorry that Lightroom gives me well here I just did it I used the use the fill light for the really the first time here in my own image and it worked so you know it took some tweaking it took some messing around so it took some fooling around but I got there and this is the final image and this is one of those images that you get that really I think is one of my stronger images that I've ever taken of a live show and you know I couldn't have done it obviously without the d3s because no other camera even the d3 wouldn't have done this the d3 s did it a feel for the musicians helped knowing knowing how these guys act helps knowing what Nick is going to do when he goes into his into his rock stance allows me to know where to focus and it just came together with Walt in the right place Nick in the right place and Shane in the background some tweaking of the raw file and there we have it so I hope this gives you some insight into what's going through my mind where I'm focusing why I'm shooting manual what my settings are for when you are shooting a concert and how I edited the file and experimented a little bit with the fill light so that's what I got that is the photo of the week as well as some some inside information on shooting shows jared polin froknowsphoto.com SIA

45 thoughts on “Photography Tutorial – Concert Photography

  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    hi Jared, shooting and eziting concert photos are intoxicsting!! I though use a budget setup compared to U guys out there, Sony A6500 with Samyang 50mm f1.2 , Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 and newly bought Sigma 16mm f1.4 thinking Im doing ok as I just started with it this summer(only used sony smartphones b4) got my photos up on ancient Flickr but hey, it's 1Tb free https://flic.kr/p/MEw6Hx

    yours
    Åke

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    You are the greatest guy. I was thinking what guitar is that. And you start of by telling me. Thanks man…

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Ok, so shot my first Pit last night finally, i have my D800 took my 24-70, found times i could hav used 70-2000 but its first time in there so use what i got. Learned so much from doing this first one. Only have D800 at present so felt a little uncomfortable going high on ISO with the noise, this is what i got to learn more about. Was manual all the time tweaked some settings as band made sporadic quick movements, especially Sazzey MC so she was clean at 1/125, until she made quick movements with her hand or arm(lesson learned). What i also earned from last night and your last videos:- 1. Chat with security TICK, Chat to Band TICK, Be nice to all you meet connected to Bands TICK, get connections for next Appearances TICK, Chat with Manager at the Venue for next time TICK, Be more aware of your framing TICK. Now things i Failed and learned from, Don't carry unnecessary equipment, plan your positions before so its not a rush, check the lighting doesn't change, from set to set, Ear Plugs!!! Ear Plugs. However i would recommend anyone to just try to follow some of what Jared is saying, worked for me and everyone loved the pics and i have not even edited them yet. I think i am lucky that the event was not well known so i was only in with 3 other guys so mo push for places. Will try to get some more of these to hone settings, i really felt last night that the 24-70 was lovely but an 85 1.4/1.8 would have done me nicely, 50 would be meh!! but could def see where the 70-200 would have been nice for close work. Maybe the next video could be on how to make money from concert work as it felt just fun time for me, also the bands are skint themselves i think, maybe the money part is not so big with concert photography and i should treat it that way, ie make income from weddings/events/studio and have concerts and local gigs as fun.personal time, which this felt like.

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    I'm heading out tonight to do a live band photoshoot with my Canon EOS60D. I'll give this a try. Great shot and very helpful tutorial!

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    I'm gonna be at the superbowl events shooting gary clark jr and zz top I hope I can use this as a guide to give some good photos

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    will you recommended, what a lens must i have for concert. I used fujifilm XT10 btw… thx man…

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Hey Jared!!! My name is Tony and I've been following you for quite some time. A year ago I sort of went balistic and spent a great deal of money on my equipment. Here's just a quick summary list.

    Camera Bodies List
    1.  Nikon D800  36MP  FX Full Frame   
    2.  Nikon D7100  24MP DX Sensor    
    3.  Nikon D7000  16MP  DX Sensor  
    3.  Nikon D3300  16MP  DX Sensor  

    Lens List & Accessory
    Nikkor 35mm f2.0
    Sigma 50mm f1.4      
    Tokina 11-16mm f2.8
    Tamron 70-200mm f.2.8
    Tamron 150-600mm f5.3
    Tamron 18-200mm f3.5
    Flash SB-900

    Anyhow I wanted to say I like your tips. I have a question and I wanted to get your input. I've now started to master my camera settings and my editing skills and I think I've got it down where I can now master my ability of getting the optimum results. I shot this concert which was actually a church men's retreat and I've got quit a few response on how good they turned out. I'm not a pro but I run my own Photography & Video business doing weddings and special events. Do you have any suggestions how does one get gigs to shoot concerts and big performance. Anyhow if you have anything at all how do I crack into that type of shooting that would be great. In the meantime I'd like to share this page with you of the photos I shot at this concert I did and I would love your feedback of how they turned out.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    i thought it looked awesome with the fill light and grain or is it because im amateur? lol

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Hey guys, I'm a touring rock photographer out with Tracer (Australia) in Europe, and vlogging from the road 🙂 Stop by and check the tour progress with me? cheers and beers!

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    for those complaining there is no such thing as a bad digital camera only bad photographers. Noise and grain in black and white concert photography is completely OK. There is a reason people still shoot on actual film. I started on an old d70 like 7 years or something I bought used and learned the basics before I dropped money on a really good camera.

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    I have a few comments, not to toot my horn, but I have worked with AC/ DC, Motley Crue, Prince, Chicago, Metallica, Toto, Hank Williams, Jr, Dio, Skynyrd, Lionel Ritchie, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and a significant number of musical artists over about a 20 year period. I would like to mention that the Production Manager is the key to getting into better positions and being allowed to get closer to the band than the barricade area. Actually the barricade area is an awful place to photograph because your camera is pointed directly into the stage lighting.(I was wondering what you would have said in one of your critiques if the photographer presented a picture that got the whole guitar in the frame but chopped off the lead singer's head?) If you're already inside, like you were as the guest of the band you shot, asking for an audience with the production manager is the next step to take. Band crew go to and from the tour buses all day, that's an intercept point for the smart photographer who isn't already inside. Wearing all black, like theatrical workers, shows the PM you won't be a big distraction, mentioning you know enough to stay away from cables and asking about the location of Pyro can make it appear you know your way around the stage. Offering to limit your on stage time and positions is a good step and having the stage manager for your band present to confirm they support your presence is a good plan. Also, although every photographer wants to photograph Skynyrd playing Freebird, but targeting ballads as prime shooting time usually presents a time when the lighting changes are less abrupt, softer scenes are employed, musicians are moving less, and the instrumental breaks still allow for arched backs and hiked guitar positions. Regardz.

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Uhm, okay.. what's up with fill-light option in LR5? Is it like named differently or am I just missing something?

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Robert Knights movie was called Rock Prophecies

    Its not on Netflix anymore sadly. I was just with him the other day having lunch!

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Hello, I just got my first DSLR (D3200) and would love to photo concerts at my local venue (UEA, Norwich, UK) I'm 35 years old and have no Training in Photography, I would use the photo's gained from the concerts to help build my first portfolio, do you think I should still ask the venue/band to shoot the shows? givin my lack of experience and training, A reply would be great, thank you.

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    All these videos are people shooting with 10 000 dollar equipment. I'm having a hard time finding tips for a budget camera (Canon rebel t3i)

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    As a noob I decided to try these settings on my cheap crop frame nikon D3200.  The image is super noisy and underexposed.  Bummer.  lol

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    bumping clarity to 100 and shadows to 100 sometimes gives a really cool effect and not as messy as you'd think

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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     I can't bring myself to use auto focus, don't know why anyone would. Discuss!!

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    and thanks cause im going to use this Saturday to do the wailers.I love photography  i see life through my lens dont you?I cant afford the camera u have and no im not a stalker lol.Thanks cause i needed this.I have had art shows.

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    So did you use flash??I am going to the lilac festival in rochester this weekend.The wailers eddy money free the lilace.If you love photography go to rochester the home of Kodak.The jazz fest free.

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Nice shot!
    Just one question, do you use manual focus or AF in this situations ?
    Thanks 🙂

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    i am just starting out but i do take band images of my friends bands did u use a flash in those images and should u use them i do try different angles i seem to use manual but when i first did it i used shutter speeds but got told i should use aperture but could not get the best result's i set my camera at f5,6 and shutter speeds around 10 of a sec and iso 200-800 sometimes i fined it hard with the settings because of the ambient lighting can u give me some advice thanks 

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    Thanks from the UK, I'm an aspiring music photographer and i like the simplicity and common sense applied to your videos. I'm subscribed and an instant fan! IF you get a chance have a look at Trendkill Photos on Flickr. that goes for anyone reading. I'm keen on constructive feedback! Thanks for your videos!  Mat

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    How would you simulate the fill light tweak using the newer Lightroom controls? Fill light & Recovery are gone as of Lightroom 4.

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  • July 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    thanks for the post, thanks for the info regarding Pentax, makes me proud that i'm using one.

    Reply

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