Aug 30th, 2007 by jeremy
Donny Osmond in Salt Lake City, 8/21/07
By popular demand, I have decided to start up a series of tips for taking great photos at concerts. Hopefully the tips I share will be both useful and entertaining as I will try to also include photo(s) that emphasize the point I am trying to make. I have plenty of photos to pull from, but don’t be surprised if I share some that also display common mistakes that we all make as well!
First off, I have to include a small disclaimer, I lay no claim to being the master of all things. I am a self-taught photographer that has had amazing opportunities to do projects that most others only dream of. I am thankful for those opportunities and what I have learned along the way. That said, I don’t know everything, and some of what I do works for me but may not be what you like. Take what you like, and offer up your own suggestions if you prefer something different that what I have to share.
Early on when I started taking concert photos all I did was zoom in as close as I could get and put the entertainer smack in the middle of the photo. I was so concerned about getting the shot that I neglected to look at the background of what was in the photo. Fortunately it didn’t take long for me to realize that all my photos were looking the same and I needed to find some way to distinguish them.
The lighting on Donny’s shows is usually awesome, especially when Mike Frogge from Bandit Lighting is at the helm, so I started composing my shots to include the various spotlights and colors and found I really liked what I saw. Whether colored or direct white lights, those shafts of light added a whole new dimension to my photographs. I know so many fans just like the close up of Mr. Osmond’s face, but you have to admit having a little more in the photo adds a lot to the artistic look.
This presented a whole new dilemma though: at times the spotlights are so bright that you cannot balance Donny’s lighted face when the generally softer lights of the background. Honestly that can be a tough one and sometimes it depends on the spotlights of the venue. You may have a night that spots are just to hot to get a great shot with background colors. Bottom line is you do the best with what you have. This is especially true of outdoor concerts. Sometimes it is just too bright from ambient light to get anything in the background, those are nights you can focus on the closeup. Other nights have great background and a softer spot, so jump on that opportunity to get the colors.
Most of all my message is to look for the opportunity to get some variety in your shots. Tomorrow I’ll talk about why it’s important to turn off your flash to get those beautiful, rich colors.
Canon 20D, 24-105L IS, 1/60 at f/4.0 and 400 ISO
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