Seeing Red: Managing red lights in concert photography

pitpeeves

Butch Walker

Concert photography is war. Concert photography places photographers in the most challenging and uncontrollable myriads of conditions. Our world is that of apertures in excess of F2.8 and ISO’s north of ISO1600. To further challenge the concert photographer and their gear, dim washes of light in single hues of red, blue, or green are often employed during the 9-12 minute shooting limit of the first three songs. While this makes for great audience presentation, it can leave a digital photographer both metaphorically and literally Seeing Red.

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Boost your exposure when Soundboard Shooting

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Joe Satriani

Live music photography presents photographers with more shooting challenges than any photography genre. Poor lighting, unpredictable subjects, and minimal shooting allotments to name but a few.

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The Chimp, The Chump, and The Champ

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Queensryche's Geoff Tate

At all levels of concert photography and all levels of photographer skill, shooting behaviors fall into three categories affectionately refered to as The Chimp, The Chump, and The Champ.

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Shoot Preparation

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Bobby Ellsworth, Overkill

Given the wildly varying conditions of a live show performance, one might think simply showing up and shooting what you can within the allotted time is the only preparation needed for a live shoot. The approach I use is in fact, quite the contrary.

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Exposure Modes in Concert Photography

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Herman Li of Dragonforce, Live Photo

There is but one “simple” method to begin increasing the quality of your images and the quantity of your keepers when shooting live music. Manual operation of your camera’s technology. Decoupling the aperture, shutter, and ISO from your cameras auto modes allows one to take full advantage of the creative control and exposure latitude possible with modern DLSR systems.

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