First photo pass to a concert! Lessons learned...

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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markojakatri said:
I have good experiences of using 70-200/2.8 IS II in events. 85/1.2 II is also very good lens for low light as well as 135/2L which you mentioned. Get close to capture THE FEELING. Check some of my Air Guitar World Championship photos from last year.

I've heard of this event. Crazy. Great, great shots.

- A
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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Eli said:
How'd you manage to get the pass?

I actually had two 'ins' to get one at this event. My friend runs a large music blog (large staff, many writers) and it counts as press. He could have played that card, but he didn't have to. He previously interviewed one of the acts over the phone, and just dropped that artist a request on his twitter feed. The artist himself green-lit the request.

- A
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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celliottuk said:
This is an excellent write-up. I think it's great that you have taken the time to help the community.

I would like to add a couple of other pointers (I have been doing concert photography for 5 years, and got a whole lot of things wrong in the first years, so this is a list of my "Battle scars")

1.Make friends with security. If you have time to get to the venue early, talk to them, they are really great people (in the most part), and will make your life a whole load easier, and might even give you access to areas that you really shouldn't have access to.
2.Do what security say! It doesn't matter if you have a photogs pass, if security ask you to move, or whatever, MOVE-you won't be able to hear why they want you to move, and having a conversation with them is impossible. Failure to comply with their wishes inevitably and quickly leads to you being removed from wherever you are.
3.Use two cameras. You don't have time to change lenses
4.Learn how to replace a memory card(or change lenses if that's what you need to do) in complete darkness
5.If you are in the photographers pit, don't stand for any longer than necessary in one position, you will annoy the fans, and either they will give you a crafty thump in the back, or they will ask security to remove you, either way, not good
6. General band photography (i.e. doing all the bands in a multi-band line-up) is generally not permitted, regardless of what your pass says, you need the permission of each bands management to take photos. If you don't have that, again, security will be called
7. Take crowd reaction shots. The bands just LOVE pictures of the crowd going wild
8. The bigger the band(Later on in the event), the more of a light show they get, so, if you are shooting an early band, be ready to push the ISO as high as you can get it without totally intrusive noise appearing in the shots
9. Take a few "Safety shots" in automatic, then move to fully manual, you will end up with much more impactful shots that show the band being flooded with light, or maybe, just getting a musician with a little rim light.
10.Listen to the music. The lighting may be tuned to the music that's being played, and by timing your shot to go with the beat, you might end up with a better lit target.
12. Wear ear plugs! I'm now pretty deaf as a result of being in the photographers pit for too many hours, which is right next to the speakers. Don't end up like me!
13. If you are in competition with other photographers a) respect their needs-don't get in the way of their shots b)Get your shots off to the commissioning magazines/web-sites/e-zines, before the other guys do. (You are in competition with them!) "Fast" is commonly better than "Best", when it comes to what shots an editor chooses

Thanks for the veteran feedback! Excellent comments.

It spurs a few more thoughts on my part (numbered to yours above):

1) Along the lines of making friends with security, make friends with the other photographers. If you are approaching their spot, be polite, use your hands to point to spot with an 'is that okay?' look (as they can't hear you). Also, my editor friend said never hoist your camera above your head to get a shot -- it has a good chance to ruining another photographer's shot (also, at this venue, getting above stage level was a no-no).

3) My second body is a rebel and likely would have been devoured by the darkness, but yes, having two cameras are certainly a huge advantage. I managed changing a lens in about 20 seconds at this show, but it was 20 seconds I could have been shooting and I could have clumsily dropped the lens in that darkness...

12) Essential point, thanks -- I don't care how tough you think you are, ear plugs are a must.


Thx for the great feedback, celliottuk. It is truly appreciated!

- A
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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CanadianInvestor said:
However, I really like to enjoy the music and the atmosphere and therein lies my problem!

Thanks, again.

I understand completely. My editor friend who got me in was quick to say 'get your shots out of the way and then get your gear out of the way.' He knew I loved the bands on stage that night, and that once my fifteeen minutes was up I should enjoy the music and not try to squeeze 1-2 more keepers out from the crowd.

- A
 

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
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Jan 29, 2011
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One more thing I have done several times and is a very good door opener. Print some cards, doesn't need to be anything fancy but with your email and preferably a blog on there. Take pictures of the crew, stagehands, lighting guys sound booths etc etc give them all a card and get your images up online somewhere.
 

silvestography

Armed with a camera and some ideas.
Mar 9, 2013
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silvestography.tumblr.com
Great job to the OP. I'm quite young (16) and just started doing concert photos. I shoot for a couple blogs (any philadelphia people might be familiar with 88.5 WXPN - I am shooting for them a bunch this summer). Another thing I might add is that if you're shooting manual, which I do basically 100% of the time, you have to remind yourself to change your exposure with the lighting, just as if you were chasing a setting sun. Also, different colored lights give a different impression of exposure; for example, I find purple and red call for a slight overexposure, while colors like green and even more yellow, which tend to be brighter because they're generally closer to skin tones, call for a slight underexposure.

If anyone has the time, I'd really appreciate someone heading over to my blog, http://silvestography.tumblr.com and potentially give some pointers that I can keep in mind the next time I shoot. Cheers all.
 

archiea

EOS 90D
Jan 17, 2013
163
9
moocowe said:
I shot my first concert with the 5D3 and 70-200 IS II last week. It was a relatively small venue with poor stage lighting.

I used AV mode, f/2.8, ISO 8000, and min shutter speed set to 125th. I was pretty happy with the shots I got using those settings.

I'm looking for the same advice on post processing. The noise cleans up fine, but I'm wondering how to go about setting white balance. Iccan't get a natural skin tone due to the colours of the stage lights, so how do I choose a temperature?

Usually in bars I'm like 2500K or tungsten since thats usually the predominant light. I would go for a color temp that matches what you see on stage.

Post solution for skin tones:

You can have images that look identical to the stage, but as a photo (as opposed to video) the particular light on the subject may just be unflattering. If shooting canons, the reds will get overexposed quickly, causing fleshtones to clip sometimes.

Talking strictly Lightroom, but applicable in other apps, I do the following for facial skin tones:

1) Adjustment Brush the face... possibly hands if they are near the face. this may take some detail brushing to avoid eyes, teeth and hair, but its actually somewhat forgiving.
Some options here:
2) Re-whitebalance the face using the adjustment brush controls.
or
2) desaturate the face, then use color tint in the adjustment brush controls to re-recolor the face.
3) You may need to adjust contrast/noise/sharpenss afterwards

other additional adjustments I do in the same step is add clarity to men's face, remove it for women.

Otherways the color tint works for concert shots: if you have an unflattering color from a light hitting the subject. I had this image where a green light was falling a performer's hand. Tinting it using a complementary color (in this case magenta/purple) helped neutralize the contamination. Otherwise, the above technique of desaturation and colorization applies as well.

Great tips everyone! thanks!
 

beckstoy

Bokeh, Baby!
CR Pro
I've LOVED this thread because I'm dying to get more into this arena. I've been directly asked to shoot band performances before, but never done the whole Press Pass thing.

So, for all of you guys who do lots of this: What should I do to start obtaining these Press Passes? Do I need to work for/represent a publication directly?

There are several concerts I'd love to shoot which are coming up. I'd really like to make this happen.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

silvestography

Armed with a camera and some ideas.
Mar 9, 2013
106
0
silvestography.tumblr.com
beckstoy said:
I've LOVED this thread because I'm dying to get more into this arena. I've been directly asked to shoot band performances before, but never done the whole Press Pass thing.

So, for all of you guys who do lots of this: What should I do to start obtaining these Press Passes? Do I need to work for/represent a publication directly?

There are several concerts I'd love to shoot which are coming up. I'd really like to make this happen.

Thanks in advance for your help!

If the person in charge of handling press for the band is nice, you really don't need any major credentials. I shot the xx simply by sending some emails, first to the venue to ask with whom I should get in touch to ask about something like that, and then to the contact they provided, who was very nice about making sure I had my pass and even responded to phone calls when my name wasn't on the list at the venue to sort things out. Other times, you'll get shut down, like by the Toro y Moi press manager, who basically said that since I'm not shooting for any super major publications (I would have been shooting for a really small music blog), they didn't want me in. That said, I know some people who were shooting for fun and got in, so I guess it really depends on who you contact.

If you can get yourself shooting for a blog, like for your local radio station, they'll handle all that for you, and obviously since it's a radio station they'll have a lot easer of a time getting you in.

Personally, I believe that since it's that easy to get in, there's no reason not to. It's a great exercise in photography, plus you get to go to a concert for free.
 

celliottuk

EOS M50
Jul 20, 2012
32
0
beckstoy said:
I've LOVED this thread because I'm dying to get more into this arena. I've been directly asked to shoot band performances before, but never done the whole Press Pass thing.

So, for all of you guys who do lots of this: What should I do to start obtaining these Press Passes? Do I need to work for/represent a publication directly?

There are several concerts I'd love to shoot which are coming up. I'd really like to make this happen.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Who owns what rights at a concert, and who has the ability to issue passes and under what circumstances is a complex issue, I'll try and give some guidlines, but always check them.
1.Small/Pub gig. The band have all rights, talk to them directly, but also check with the venue
2.Club gig. The band will have passed image control to their management company, and / or record company. Check with them, and the venue.
3.Working for a radio station/e-zine etc. The venue may have asked a radio station to cover the gig, after all, it's good publicity. The contract between the Venue, the promoter, and the artists, will state that photography will take place, HOWEVER, not all bands will sign that clause (For instance, getting a shot of Axl Rose, is, I guarantee, impossible). You will be told by security who you can, and cannot take shots of
4.Medium sized Concert (Up to 10,000 people) The concert organisers may have negotiated all image rights on a particular stage(Normally the main stage) to a Video production Company, so you may be allowed to take shots on the other stages, but not the main stage.
5. Large venues. Everyone wants to cover these, and passes will be in short supply. Really your only chance to to be an act-specific photographer, where the artists invite you specifically, or to work for a large, well known organisation/e-zine/magazine/record company (BTW, the concept of "Staff photographer" has more-or-less died, when I say "Work for", I really mean "Accredited by, or sponsored by")

There's a negotiation that goes on between bands, band management, promoter, record company, venue, other "Workers"-such as sound crew and lighting techs, and media which is a real dance, there are no real hard and fast rules. So I can only say that should should apply early via whatever "In" you have, be persistent-but pleasant. Your best "In" is via the band, and ultimately, they have the biggest say in what goes on.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,617
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beckstoy said:
I've LOVED this thread because I'm dying to get more into this arena. I've been directly asked to shoot band performances before, but never done the whole Press Pass thing.

So, for all of you guys who do lots of this: What should I do to start obtaining these Press Passes? Do I need to work for/represent a publication directly?

There are several concerts I'd love to shoot which are coming up. I'd really like to make this happen.

Thanks in advance for your help!


Off the cuff, I'd recommend approaching local papers (with an entertainment presence, section, etc.) and local music blogs and ask if they need a photographer for shows. Offer to work for free, take what shows you can, and build up a portfolio.

Not being a pro, I wish I could be of more help -- I just fell into this opportunity because I knew someone in the music press.

Good luck,
A
 

ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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tobiasv said:
Nice pictures of these Transatlantic guys!

Lol, it took until Page 3 before the prog fan identified the act. Technically, the shots were of The Flower Kings followed by The Neal Morse Band, but there was a Transatlantic encore.

As the OP, shame on me for leaving the topic. :p

- A
 
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