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Gear Talk => EOS Bodies - For Stills => Topic started by: CJRodgers on May 28, 2012, 04:22:43 AM

Title: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 28, 2012, 04:22:43 AM
hi guys! After holding out for the latest generation, then realising i would rather get some good lenses I finally got my first dslr (5d mkii) on saturday morning and went to a festival a few hours later to try it out. I only had a 50mm 1.8 because i had read that was a good lens to start with for low light and because its inexpensive id be less worried about it. I went to four stages and got really good shots on two stages, the other two i had problems with and would like advice.

1. This stage was in a basement and had just one purple light on the singer. Couldnt believe how dark it was. With aperature at 1.8, shutter at about 125 and iso at about 3200 the camera was still saying underexposed. Had i have had a flash i would have been fine. But i didnt think they would be allowed plus i dont own one yet. So other than buying a flash and learning is there any tips for extreme situations like this?

2. This stage was big and i wasnt very close i had been at every other stage. The lighting kept changing every 30 seconds! So i was stuggling to keep up changing my iso settings etc. One minuite the stage was flooded with dark red lights which forced me to use high ISO settings, then a bright strobe would come on which meant i could either change my ISO or increase shutter speed. I wanted to change ISO so i could have a chance at cropping with less noise seems i was a bit far away. I was also trying to avoid lots of beer being thrown and crowd surfers (this was a heavy metal band!) I ended up keeping my settings for the bright white strobes and waiting for changes to take photos then. I felt like every photo i took with deep red or purple lights looked very boring.


One thing i had noticed on the day was that i changed to spot metering almost straight away becuase it was the only time i could get sensible results. Should i have done this?

Will experience just allow me to judge when to wait for the lighting to change rather than trying to compensate every time it chaged?

I found f1.8 really useful and could imagine stuggling at f2.8. should i just get some more primes or are zoom lenses at f2.8 usuble in extreme conditions? I want something shorter and something longer. (i have about 1.5K to 2K to spend on lenses) Recommend please.

Im pretty sure rock and pop gigs would have more standard and better lighting, this was metal / hardcore and the lighting was just crazy how much it was changing and how dark it was! Also is flash aloud at most gigs? Or should i just take one everytime anyways and put it away if im not allowed it?

All in all i think i got a few good shots of each band but i still need to upload them onto my PC. I was supposed to have a press pass to get into the pit with my guest list spot but that didnt work out. Im sure had i have had this some aspects would have been easier.

Sorry for the essay, thanks for reading!
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: RLPhoto on May 28, 2012, 03:06:18 PM
I was just in a very similiar shoot with not LOW LIGHT but NO LIGHT at all! I had fast 1.2 Glass at 6400 ISO at 1/50th and not enough light. I couldn't focus or compose at all! Pitch black...

I had to use flash and bounce off a wooden roof which tinted the flash a slight orange color. The key was the 580 EX II has a focus assit beam that allowed me to focus in pitch black darkness.

I set my camera to from ISO800-3200 depending my lens, with second curtain shutter on the flash with 1/100 or higher to freeze action, and F/2.8 or faster to get some ambient light from the bounced flash.

I dont have the photos right now here, but ill post later.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 29, 2012, 04:11:35 AM
haha yeah sounds about right (no light). I think then i just need to get a flash and master it (and hope im allowed to use it). I want a wide lens and a longer lens. I was between the 24mm 1.4 and the 16-35, but i think ill have to go for the 24mm for the faster aperture. The longer one im more confused on. I wanted the 100mm macro becuase its versitile (can do portraits as well as macro), but maybe the 135L with f2 would be better as its slightly faster. But it cant do macro and i dont think i can afford both, and a 24mm 1.4 and a 580exii. hmmmmm, any thoughts?

Thank RLPhoto for not telling me i was just doing it all wrong lol. Id only had the camera two hours, so i was a bit nervous but i think i got some good shots. My friend is putting some in his magazine so im happy.

P.S ill try the advice on the second curtain shutter once ive master the flash.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 29, 2012, 04:14:21 AM
I just realised there is a 28mm 1.8. Is this a touch on the 24mm 1.4? Its a lot cheaper so i could get an extra lens if its decent!
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Axilrod on May 29, 2012, 10:07:47 AM
I just realised there is a 28mm 1.8. Is this a touch on the 24mm 1.4? Its a lot cheaper so i could get an extra lens if its decent!

The 28mm f/1.8 is a pretty bad lens, while the 24 1.4 is f'n amazing, no comparison whatsoever.  But at the same time the 24 1.4 may feel a little wide, so the 35mm f/1.4 may be a better option.  If you want something longer try the 85mm f/1.8, you can find them used for around $300 and they perform beautifully.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 29, 2012, 11:55:18 AM
I just realised there is a 28mm 1.8. Is this a touch on the 24mm 1.4? Its a lot cheaper so i could get an extra lens if its decent!

The 28mm f/1.8 is a pretty bad lens, while the 24 1.4 is f'n amazing, no comparison whatsoever.  But at the same time the 24 1.4 may feel a little wide, so the 35mm f/1.4 may be a better option.  If you want something longer try the 85mm f/1.8, you can find them used for around $300 and they perform beautifully.

Thanks for the insight. I need to figure out what focal lenghts i need i guess. Too much choice!
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 29, 2012, 12:13:11 PM
BTW, is the sigma 85mm 1.4 as good as the 85mm 1.8?
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: wickidwombat on May 29, 2012, 07:25:39 PM
BTW, is the sigma 85mm 1.4 as good as the 85mm 1.8?

it blows it away, I chose the sigma over the 85L due to much much faster AF
the 85L is a bit sharper at 1.2 than the siggy at 1.4
both have some purple fringing wide open but nothing that cant be fixed in post
by f2 the siggy is stunningly sharp
and for the cost vs the L 2.5 times cheaper is awesome bang for buck

my favourite lens
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 30, 2012, 09:45:18 AM
Oh yeah i forgot to mention. I took some shots at 3200 when the light was REALLY poor (dark red lights). I only have one image that I liked, all the rest seem to be too noisy and DPP doesnt seem to make a very good job at reducing this. Is lightroom better or is ISO 3200 just not very usable in that situation.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: eeek on May 30, 2012, 11:10:20 AM
I shoot a lot at 6400 in concert venues (it's what I do) and the noise isn't bad whatsoever.  I'd like to see what noise you are having at 3200. 
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 30, 2012, 11:19:48 AM
I shoot a lot at 6400 in concert venues (it's what I do) and the noise isn't bad whatsoever.  I'd like to see what noise you are having at 3200.

Ok, ive not posted a photo in here before. How do i do it? Should i just upload a jpeg converted from dpp?

Ah, i just read the sticky thread on uploading photos. Will do it soon.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: robbymack on May 30, 2012, 12:42:22 PM
I just realised there is a 28mm 1.8. Is this a touch on the 24mm 1.4? Its a lot cheaper so i could get an extra lens if its decent!

The 28mm f/1.8 is a pretty bad lens, while the 24 1.4 is f'n amazing, no comparison whatsoever.  But at the same time the 24 1.4 may feel a little wide, so the 35mm f/1.4 may be a better option.  If you want something longer try the 85mm f/1.8, you can find them used for around $300 and they perform beautifully.

I wouldn't call the 28 1.8 "pretty bad", maybe in comparision to L glass, but that is comparing apples to oranges, and honestly the 24 1.4 is probably not 3-4 times better (as price would dictate) than the 28 1.8 for 99% of the population.  To the OP point, where $ is an issue I'd say the 28. 1.8 is acceptable.  That being said if the OP is going to be shooting a lot of concerts wide glass is probably not going to be the most needed, he needs long reasonably priced glass, so the 85 1.8, 135L, 200 f2.8L, 300 f4L, or 70-200 2.8L are probably better options.  You may even consider the 70-300L if reach is of paramount importance with zoom flexibility.  If you're going to be shooting a lot of concerts don't worry about IS and save some money with the 70-200 non IS as IS won't help you stop the action and buy a mono/tri pod instead.  If you are going to use flash then you can get away with f2.8 as long as you aren't so far away the flash is of no use.   If you are going to be up close and use flash you could even get away with the 70-200 f4 which for $600-700 is a fantastic bargain lens that is extremely sharp and versitile.   

If I were the OP and trying to squeeze the best I could out of $2K and maintain some flexibility with my set up I'd probably go with the 85 1.8, 135 L and a 580ex, if you could stretch the budget a bit the 70-200 non IS and the 135L would probably be a good bets as well.  Good luck, and welcome to a lifetime of always wanting something new and shiny with a red ring on the end. 
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: sb on May 30, 2012, 12:51:29 PM
at 1.8, shutter at about 125 and iso at about 3200 the camera was still saying underexposed. Had i have had a flash i would have been fine. But i didnt think they would be allowed plus i dont own one yet. So other than buying a flash and learning is there any tips for extreme situations like this?

It's ok if the camera thinks the SCENE is underexposed as long as your SUBJECT is exposed fine. Don't take camera's warnings at face value. You are dealing with pools of light on your subjects, so all you can do is make them exposed properly.

The lighting kept changing every 30 seconds! So i was stuggling to keep up changing my iso settings etc.

You basically have to decide which lighting you want to capture, set up your camera for that, and wait for the right moment. Trying to keep pace with the light show is an exercise in futility.

One thing i had noticed on the day was that i changed to spot metering almost straight away becuase it was the only time i could get sensible results. Should i have done this?

Yes because of "pools of light" that spotlights produce. However personally I would have gone with manual exposure instead of letting the camera decide here because results with AV could be unstable at best in this kind of environment.

I found f1.8 really useful and could imagine stuggling at f2.8. should i just get some more primes or are zoom lenses at f2.8 usuble in extreme conditions?

I wouldn't bother with zooms, you need better than 2.8 for your purpose. Get the 85mm f/1.2 or 135mm f/2

Also is flash aloud at most gigs? Or should i just take one everytime anyways and put it away if im not allowed it?

Flash will completely ruin the atmosphere/mood that the spotlights create. If you're ok with that, get a strong flash and put a snoot on it, but to me, atmosphere is EVERYTHING, so I wouldn't go down that path.

All in all i think i got a few good shots of each band but i still need to upload them onto my PC.


Put them up so we can see what you mean.

Cheers
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Drizzt321 on May 30, 2012, 01:20:43 PM
Hehe, welcome to the world of band photography. It's a real challenge, but I do love it. Following up on what most of the others have said, you just need to wait for the right moment. Most music & lighting will come back around a 2nd or 3rd time, sometimes more, so if you miss something the first time, get the right focus and composition and wait for it to come back around.

In terms of the noise, most people are fine with viewing these types of photos with noise, and if you are exporting for web size images a lot of it will go away. One thing you can also do is convert to B&W. I've actually done that, then added some grain to get something I like the look of more.

One thing to remember about fast glass (f/1.8 and faster) is that getting the focus right is more and more important because the DoF get's much shallower. On the 5d2 you should really just be using the center AF point, and the recompose. You need to be careful because you'll be physically changing the angle of the plane of focus, so you might need to either manually touch up the focus, or physically move somewhat.

All in all, it's a ton of fun, and a real challenge you might enjoy. Eventually you'll need some longer glass, the 135mm is great, and the 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM is kind of a standard concert lens, although it's freaking expensive. For now, the suggestions on the 35L or the 85 f/1.8 or Sigma 85 f/1.4 will probably be better for you as the latter 2 are much less expensive, but let you be a bit further back from the stage. If you like being right up on the stage, the 35L is a great option on FF.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 30, 2012, 02:11:34 PM
Thanks for the tips Drizzt321. Maybe i am over worrying about noise. Im thinking of getting the 24mm or 35mm and then the 135mm. I might get the samyang 85mm for portraits and video, or save for the sigma 85 1.4.

It was a lot of fun, and I definately want to do it as often as possible (ive been asked back so i guess thats good). I cant imagine many photography situations harder in terms of lighting! And then protecting myself from crowd surfing and beer being thrown haha.

This is one of the examples. I dont have a work flow yet, so all ive done here is import it too dpp then export as a jpeg with quality setting 5 (so it was small enough to attach here). Is that thes best way to do this? I added tungsten lighting setting aswell actually. Let me know your thoughts on noise. I just noticed on one or two others that althought the AF point said it was on the eye, if looks like the microphone cable was actually the main thing in focus! So the face wasnt, sharp.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Mackie_P on May 30, 2012, 05:51:56 PM
Saw this and wanted to put in my 2 cents (so to speak), but I recently bought a 50mm f1.4 for live music, having come across the same problems of 2.8 not being fast enough! Anyway, it's pretty much been glued to my camera from how useful it's been at gigs since, the only problem as being on a crop sensor, is it's all pretty close to the 'action' in small venues.

In regards to noise, I use Noise Ninja to clean up my images, it seems to work quite well, and even though turning an image B+W may salvage a noisy shot, it's not my cup of tea as I prefer to keep them colourful. Also bear in mind that you can also crop closer to the focus of the image if you find that everything is a bit wide.

Have tried to attach an example which was shot at 1/100, F1.4 @ iso 1600
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Drizzt321 on May 30, 2012, 09:05:56 PM
Thanks for the tips Drizzt321. Maybe i am over worrying about noise. Im thinking of getting the 24mm or 35mm and then the 135mm. I might get the samyang 85mm for portraits and video, or save for the sigma 85 1.4.

It was a lot of fun, and I definately want to do it as often as possible (ive been asked back so i guess thats good). I cant imagine many photography situations harder in terms of lighting! And then protecting myself from crowd surfing and beer being thrown haha.

This is one of the examples. I dont have a work flow yet, so all ive done here is import it too dpp then export as a jpeg with quality setting 5 (so it was small enough to attach here). Is that thes best way to do this? I added tungsten lighting setting aswell actually. Let me know your thoughts on noise. I just noticed on one or two others that althought the AF point said it was on the eye, if looks like the microphone cable was actually the main thing in focus! So the face wasnt, sharp.

That image doesn't look really all that noisy, even when I download and zoom in. Some, yes, but I think a lot of it looks like it's just dust and stuff floating in the air that the bright white lights highlight.

In terms of the focus, I think you're correct. Do you remember if you pre-focused and then waited for him? Or did you get the focus & then take the shot immediately? I see you're actually at 1/160 shutter, which is really pretty good, especially for that light where he looks almost a bit overexposed, at least on his back and decent exposure on his face. For something similar to this maybe go down to 1/100 or 1/80 and increase the DoF by going to f/2.8-f/3.5 or so which will help you if he moves a bit between when you get focus and when the shot is taken.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 31, 2012, 03:29:13 AM
Mackie_P, i really like your skin tones on that image. Any advice on how i can get a good natural and smooth shot like that or was the lighting possibly a bit nicer at this gig to help you out?


For my shot, i think i was getting frutrated by the deep red lights by this point, so i got the focus and held it until a strobe come on. Is this not a good way to do it. I had the focus set to centre point only and Ai focus.

I have attached another photo which I ALMOST loved, but its not in focus :( i really like the composition (except for a photographer who was alowed in the pit has his arm in the bottom left corner). For this I think i just got the focus and took the show straight away. The focus in DPP says i got her cheek, but its the microphone cable thats in focus! :( Do you think she moved and f2.2 wasnt forgiving enough or do i need to calibrate the lens? I would have though f2.2 would have been ok?!


Also i didnt realise i could shoot and at 1/80 or 1/100 and still freeze the action. I was too scared to go lower than 1/160. I guess i should have given myself for that a couple of hours to get used to the camera!
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: eeek on May 31, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
Don't be afraid to go higher in your ISO, either.  Sometimes I would rather go higher ISO to stop action than go slower shutter speed.  The first picture was at 1/320, 5.6 and ISO 5000.  It's also a 70-200 2.8 with a 2x as Daughtry didn't want us between his fans.  I'd would have rather not used the 2x but in this case I needed it versus cropping.  The second is close in setting, 1/400, 5.6, ISO 5000 and the 70-200 and 2x.

Edit:  I'm sorry- I shot this at ISO 5,000, not 500.  Edited to refect this.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Drizzt321 on May 31, 2012, 02:25:45 PM
Yea, if your subjects aren't thrashing around too much you can get away with a somewhat slower shutter speed, especially on a shorter lens like the 50mm. However, it looks like he was moving around fast, so the 1/160 was probably needed.

Your idea of pre-focusing is good, and AI Servo can sometimes work with the center point on the 5d2, but it's hard sometimes to keep the focus point right where you want. This is where I having a somewhat smaller aperture can help to provide a deeper DoF so you'll be more likely to get the important thing in focus.

@eeek:
Where those on the 5d2? ISO 5000, holy crap that looks clean. How'd you get it that clean? I can believe that if it was on the 5d3, I love how good the 5d3 is with ISO's up to 6400, or even 8000.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on May 31, 2012, 03:53:41 PM
@eek, that is riducoulsly clean! The lighting looks excellent too, great shots.

Yeah they were thrashing about a lot, especially that girl, she was crazy! I think ill be more confident to push my ISO now that i know this is acceptable IF i get it in focus correctly. Is using lightroom for noise reduction better than DPP. I havent been very impressed with its noise reduction but maybe im not using it properly. I cant afford Dx0.

I think i need to try and blag some rock / pop gigs as the lighting seems to be better and more thoughtout. This was a hardcore gig with lighting to match! haha.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: eeek on May 31, 2012, 04:35:34 PM
@eeek:
Where those on the 5d2? ISO 5000, holy crap that looks clean. How'd you get it that clean? I can believe that if it was on the 5d3, I love how good the 5d3 is with ISO's up to 6400, or even 8000.

Holy cow I feel dumb.  I thought CJRodgers posted that he had got a III not a II.  With my II, if I have to, I feel safe pushing it to 3200, sometimes a few 1/3 stops above that.  As far as low light concert photography goes, the II's focus really struggles off the center point.  Unless you focus and recompse to the center, you are going to miss things.  If it is a really low light bar or small venue, I'll use a 580 with the flash turned off or a ST-E2.  But, they do throw light- make sure that's cool with the artists or venues.  That being said, when I shoot something like that I take usually a 50 1.4 and an 85 1.5.  I find they are always poorly lit and I have to spend a lot of time in post playing with noise reduction.  When I shoot arena or big show, it's all 2.8 stuff.  16-35, 24-70 and 70-200.

Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Mackie_P on May 31, 2012, 07:34:48 PM
Mackie_P, i really like your skin tones on that image. Any advice on how i can get a good natural and smooth shot like that or was the lighting possibly a bit nicer at this gig to help you out?


For my shot, i think i was getting frutrated by the deep red lights by this point, so i got the focus and held it until a strobe come on. Is this not a good way to do it. I had the focus set to centre point only and Ai focus.

I have attached another photo which I ALMOST loved, but its not in focus :( i really like the composition (except for a photographer who was alowed in the pit has his arm in the bottom left corner). For this I think i just got the focus and took the show straight away. The focus in DPP says i got her cheek, but its the microphone cable thats in focus! :( Do you think she moved and f2.2 wasnt forgiving enough or do i need to calibrate the lens? I would have though f2.2 would have been ok?!


Also i didnt realise i could shoot and at 1/80 or 1/100 and still freeze the action. I was too scared to go lower than 1/160. I guess i should have given myself for that a couple of hours to get used to the camera!

Thanks man, the lighting was pretty sporadic and unpredictable, so for the most part I would be firing long bursts of shots, the keep rate is low, but there's more chance you'll catch a strobe which isn't red.  :P

To be honest, f2.2 isn't particularly forgiving, and isn't helped by strobes reflecting off any shiny, or polished surfaces- however someone with more experience may be able to shed more light on calibration, which I haven't looked into.

I'll try and re-trace my editing for this set, and see if I can find out what I did for the skin tones, but the 50mm was wide open, so I'm guessing it was due to the depth of field, and soft lens.

I guess the shutter speed really varies on the act, usually, I struggle to go any lower than 1/100.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: olivander on May 31, 2012, 08:38:13 PM
Shoot manual, and adjust as you go.

For all the tips, and tricks people will give you, you're going to find a sweet spot with every shot you take, if your camera is underexposing, then pull back your shutter, if it's over exposing but your shutters already quite high, dial back your aperture.

And if the venue sucks, wait for more light, or just shoot and worry about it later. These days atleast we have post, also with concert stuff, I don't recommend shooting raw unless you plan to A blow it up, B there's a lot of blow out, Concert is fast paced, you chew through memory cards like there's no tomorrow and the noise gained from shooting Raw isn't worth it, it's easier to gain crisp shots with minimal editing (especially if you have to have my turn around times, which are usually 12-24 hours)/

I "prime"arily use 24 L II, 50 1.4, 85 1.2, and 1.8, (I favour the 1.8, because it's light and practical, the 1.2 is for crazy shots, where I know I'm in a cave pretty much, and the 1.8 is more practical) and then the I have the 70-200mm when I'm asked to do something crazy like Kanye West (that was insane, I sat at 800iso at f/4 at 1/200 and still managed to get way too much blow out in a lot of the shots).

I don't recommend the 24-70, or any other zoom. Too many idiots with not enough light coming through there lens these days favour that, and get frustrated when I can get the shot and they can't

Also if the lights F_____ go for close ups, you'll get more accurate focus and if you have IS, you'll get a lot out of that feature then and there. (Probably the only time it's useful).

http://ofoliver.tumblr.com (http://ofoliver.tumblr.com) for some idea of my concert work (to know I'm not just giving my 2 cents for the sake of it), I prefer the challenge of shooting stuff that's hard, and at the moment I'm favouring smaller stuff because you get more time to get your shot (when I've shot stuff like Foster The People, Two Door Cinema Club, Jimmy Eat World etc etc, it's 10 minutes or less, often 3 minutes ~ Gotye I got 45 seconds, because the PR girl in charge was a drunk mess but that's another story).

Don't use flash unless there's people moshing, and don't discount the atmosphere around you, those can help you build up to your leading shots, and try not to use the same shots in your gallery/portfolio over and over again. I like to really take my time, I make sure I get the perfect shot with my tele, then I might move around stage, what for the star to move or switch to the 24mm, or the 50mm, to get a different effect more light, crowd shots or whatever, the same shot can be boring. That even applies during if I've only got 10 minutes.

And make friends with security when you can, they will let you do some dodgy stuff like jumping over barriers, or climbing side stage, or going up into the DJ booth when you really shouldn't. Those can help you get the best shots, (I did that with the Wombats most recently, went back stage, and snapped a few looking out over the crowd).

And 2.2 isn't high if the lights good, no one knows what the venues like except you, so shoot prime, shoot fast glass, and crop/full frame really isn't that important (I carry both a 7D and a 5D for concert work).
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: eeek on May 31, 2012, 09:10:06 PM
I stand corrected.  Apparently I am an idiot for liking my 24-70.  My editor is not going to like that.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Drizzt321 on May 31, 2012, 10:29:26 PM
I stand corrected.  Apparently I am an idiot for liking my 24-70.  My editor is not going to like that.

LOL

BTW, was that shot above 5d2 or 5d3?
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: eeek on May 31, 2012, 10:56:28 PM
It was a 3- I thought the orignal poster had a 3. 
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Drizzt321 on June 01, 2012, 01:15:28 AM
It was a 3- I thought the orignal poster had a 3.

Ah, cool. Those shots looked like they came from a 3 :)   I really love mine, got some awesome shots from a show, it was like a dream. Especially the AF & ISO noise!
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on June 01, 2012, 04:11:33 AM
It was a 3- I thought the orignal poster had a 3.

Ah, cool. Those shots looked like they came from a 3 :)   I really love mine, got some awesome shots from a show, it was like a dream. Especially the AF & ISO noise!

Can you all stop making me wish I had saved harder for a 3! haha. Probably would have if I wasnt getting married this year! Now thats a quick way to spend a fortune in a day :P

Thanks all for the advice, and Olivander that was a great post. I think i just need to get out there and practsise more now, and not be too annoyed i didnt get the perfect settings on my first day (especially without a press pass).

Cant wait to get some new lenses as well :) I think im going for the 135L definately, then choosing between thje 24L and 35L. I want the 24 but i dont know if the 35 is more sensible.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Drizzt321 on June 01, 2012, 12:29:03 PM
It was a 3- I thought the orignal poster had a 3.

Ah, cool. Those shots looked like they came from a 3 :)   I really love mine, got some awesome shots from a show, it was like a dream. Especially the AF & ISO noise!

Can you all stop making me wish I had saved harder for a 3! haha. Probably would have if I wasnt getting married this year! Now thats a quick way to spend a fortune in a day :P

Thanks all for the advice, and Olivander that was a great post. I think i just need to get out there and practsise more now, and not be too annoyed i didnt get the perfect settings on my first day (especially without a press pass).

Cant wait to get some new lenses as well :) I think im going for the 135L definately, then choosing between thje 24L and 35L. I want the 24 but i dont know if the 35 is more sensible.

Well, unless you need the wide angle of view (capture most/all of the stage when you're really close) or you want to get really, really up close and personal, I'd say the 35L is a better bet. I really want the 24L, but the 35L is probably better for me to get first. Heh, I'm thinking next month (July) I might go over to Keh.com and get a used 20-35L since the reviews say it's pretty good, even for a 20+ year old design.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: CJRodgers on June 01, 2012, 04:31:08 PM
Yeah i think ill go for the 35L, although now you have mentioned the 20-35 (which i didnt know existed) ive found several in the UK on ebay for about £100. Well worth having for that! Even if f2.8 is a bit high! One or two of them are FD though, would i lose autofocus with an adapter?
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Drizzt321 on June 01, 2012, 04:55:55 PM
Yeah i think ill go for the 35L, although now you have mentioned the 20-35 (which i didnt know existed) ive found several in the UK on ebay for about £100. Well worth having for that! Even if f2.8 is a bit high! One or two of them are FD though, would i lose autofocus with an adapter?

Be careful, they made 2 versions of that, a non-L which I think is 3.5-4.5 or something like that, and an L which is 2.8. 100 GBP is still cheaper than I can get it on ebay in the US, I'm probably just going to go to Keh.com and get it used from a known source.

Not sure if you'd lose auto-focus on it with an FD adapter, possibly not.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: itsnotmeyouknow on June 01, 2012, 06:30:40 PM
Don't even consider taking and using a flash during a live performance.  It will make you very unpopular with the act, and could lead to eviction from the gig.  I work in the industry and normal procedure for press pass holders at high end gigs to be allowed to take photos in first few songs and always without flash.  Flash is mostly going to be useless in any case.  even at smaller gigs have a bit of consideration for the artists as flash, especially speedlights can be distracting.

I would get as many fast primes you can. 24 or 35mm L if you can afford it will give you a whole stage look from fairly close in.  The sigma 85 1.4 is a great lens. Quick focussing and sharp and a nice focal length to work with. 
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: D_Rochat on June 02, 2012, 12:09:29 AM
Shoot manual, and adjust as you go.

For all the tips, and tricks people will give you, you're going to find a sweet spot with every shot you take, if your camera is underexposing, then pull back your shutter, if it's over exposing but your shutters already quite high, dial back your aperture.

And if the venue sucks, wait for more light, or just shoot and worry about it later. These days atleast we have post, also with concert stuff, I don't recommend shooting raw unless you plan to A blow it up, B there's a lot of blow out, Concert is fast paced, you chew through memory cards like there's no tomorrow and the noise gained from shooting Raw isn't worth it, it's easier to gain crisp shots with minimal editing (especially if you have to have my turn around times, which are usually 12-24 hours)/

I "prime"arily use 24 L II, 50 1.4, 85 1.2, and 1.8, (I favour the 1.8, because it's light and practical, the 1.2 is for crazy shots, where I know I'm in a cave pretty much, and the 1.8 is more practical) and then the I have the 70-200mm when I'm asked to do something crazy like Kanye West (that was insane, I sat at 800iso at f/4 at 1/200 and still managed to get way too much blow out in a lot of the shots).

I don't recommend the 24-70, or any other zoom. Too many idiots with not enough light coming through there lens these days favour that, and get frustrated when I can get the shot and they can't

Also if the lights F_____ go for close ups, you'll get more accurate focus and if you have IS, you'll get a lot out of that feature then and there. (Probably the only time it's useful).

http://ofoliver.tumblr.com (http://ofoliver.tumblr.com) for some idea of my concert work (to know I'm not just giving my 2 cents for the sake of it), I prefer the challenge of shooting stuff that's hard, and at the moment I'm favouring smaller stuff because you get more time to get your shot (when I've shot stuff like Foster The People, Two Door Cinema Club, Jimmy Eat World etc etc, it's 10 minutes or less, often 3 minutes ~ Gotye I got 45 seconds, because the PR girl in charge was a drunk mess but that's another story).

Don't use flash unless there's people moshing, and don't discount the atmosphere around you, those can help you build up to your leading shots, and try not to use the same shots in your gallery/portfolio over and over again. I like to really take my time, I make sure I get the perfect shot with my tele, then I might move around stage, what for the star to move or switch to the 24mm, or the 50mm, to get a different effect more light, crowd shots or whatever, the same shot can be boring. That even applies during if I've only got 10 minutes.

And make friends with security when you can, they will let you do some dodgy stuff like jumping over barriers, or climbing side stage, or going up into the DJ booth when you really shouldn't. Those can help you get the best shots, (I did that with the Wombats most recently, went back stage, and snapped a few looking out over the crowd).

And 2.2 isn't high if the lights good, no one knows what the venues like except you, so shoot prime, shoot fast glass, and crop/full frame really isn't that important (I carry both a 7D and a 5D for concert work).

You have some really nice work and great tips, but your comment about 2.8 zooms threw me off a little. I've seen plenty of concert photography from "idiots with 2.8 zooms" that was nothing short of amazing, and in terrible light.  If shooting fast primes is your thing, then great. I just don't think your generalization about people who use zooms at concerts is fair.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: D_Rochat on June 02, 2012, 12:21:34 AM
Don't even consider taking and using a flash during a live performance.  It will make you very unpopular with the act, and could lead to eviction from the gig.

Flash photography at concerts doesn't always end well.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/matisyahu-apologizes-for-attacking-photographer-20111222 (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/matisyahu-apologizes-for-attacking-photographer-20111222)
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Hillsilly on June 02, 2012, 04:15:20 AM
I'm always in two minds about what to take to a concert.  I've been to some recent concerts where the band and security make it very clear they don't allow photos or videos etc even from mobile phones, which would make you feel a bit awkward if you came all kitted out.  (And yet, these same bands often try to get everyone to hold up their phones to simulate cigarette lighters....).

Of course, some bands don't care and are a lot more photographer friendly.  I went to a Def FX concert on Thursday.  The first thing announced was "take as many pictures and videos as you like, post them on youtube to show everyone else what they're missing!".  (And if you're curious, Fiona Horne still rocks!).

I've got no real tips.  I've never taken a flash to a concert and that hasn't really hindered me. The only advice I have is to take a real a camera and don't rely on your phone.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: olivander on June 02, 2012, 01:54:20 PM
You have some really nice work and great tips, but your comment about 2.8 zooms threw me off a little. I've seen plenty of concert photography from "idiots with 2.8 zooms" that was nothing short of amazing, and in terrible light.  If shooting fast primes is your thing, then great. I just don't think your generalization about people who use zooms at concerts is fair.

I meant know disrespect, I guess I was really trying to hammer the point home. Some of my favourite shooters rely upon zooms. Because well they don't have time, they're using pro bodies, can push iso and clarity. One of my favourite shooters can get sharper images than me, and favours carrying around 3 zooms 16-35, 24-70, 70-200.

So I get your point, it was a generalisation, but I guess it was more a push for shooters starting out with live, a lot of guys I know here these pros go "get the 24-70 you won't need anything else" and it's just frustrating because not everyone has full frame, or a 1 series, nor is it practical advice, when you're just trying to scrounge together enough money for a body. And will be able to get enough light, or can deal with terrible light. At the moment I have a thing for terrible light, because primes allow me to look for ways around that, god terrible light is beautiful.

More to the point I don't like reliance upon zooms, especially not when you're starting out. It's a personal preference thing. For anyone starting out, I always say 28mm 1.8 for crop, 50mm 1.4/1.8 and 85 1.8. If you're going to do socials 10-20mm is a great lens for that. And if you're FF 24mm 2.8 for socials instead (that things such a great beast to churn out great socials) A big part of the reason I say this is, having to move around, and think about your shot is a big part of photography, and reliance upon just zooming in and out can really kill your creativity about getting a shot. I was taught by old school guys, who used nothing but Hasselblad 500's because of the resolving power of Hassy glass, and who really drilled that into me, that I needed to start prime, to understand the mechanics. I respect that advice, and it's something I pass along.

And the other reason I love recommending this kit is the combined cost of these lenses is going to be less than a tele, or a lot of pieces of L glass. (L glass is the business, so much of it is wonderful, it took me a long time to get the pieces I rely upon to do my work).

I just thought I'd make it clear, I'm just offering up a very very very stubborn opinion. And probably best to take my advice with a shot of tequila.
Title: Re: Gig photography tips.
Post by: Axel Reefman on June 02, 2012, 07:59:59 PM
I purchased the 70-200 2.8 IS MKII earlier this year and have been very pleased with the images. 

I usually put this on the 5D MKII because I like how close up I can get to the performer (very useful for getting good shots of the drummer!).  The 24-70 is used a lot less now, I find it doesn't give me the intimate shots I like.

General observations from my experiences (take with a pinch of salt):


(http://afreeman.zenfolio.com/img/s3/v44/p315162580-3.jpg)

Shot at 6400 ISO, 1/100, 2.8 aperture.