Concert shots with Rebel XT Suggestions Please

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Eugene Wendland, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Hi

    I'd like some input regarding shooting at concerts. I'm using the EF-S
    17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM for most of the shots and also have a EF 70-300mm
    f/4-5.6 IS USM. I'm not looking at shooting at large arena type concerts
    but the more intimate concert venues where on would be 10 to 35 feet from
    the stage. Typically the performer's lit with a spotlight while everything
    else is dark. Could someone suggest a camera setting that would be a good
    place to start?


    Eugene Wendland, Mar 24, 2006
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  2. Eugene Wendland

    C J Southern Guest

    Are you able to use a flash?
    C J Southern, Mar 24, 2006
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  3. Sorry - no flash


    Eugene Wendland, Mar 24, 2006
  4. Eugene Wendland

    fishfry Guest

    Take a shot, look at the lcd, adjust the exposure, till it looks decent.
    Or even better, turn on the histogram to see exactly what your exposures
    look like.
    fishfry, Mar 24, 2006
  5. Eugene Wendland

    Paul Furman Guest

    Aperture priority mode wide open f/4-5.6 and keep an eye on the shutter
    speed to be sure it's hand holdable and if not lean on the wall or
    increase the ISO. Put the metering mode in whatever is most center
    weighted, spot meter if available. Put it in manual mode if metering is
    a problem, the aperture is already set, just dial the shutter speed in.
    Paul Furman, Mar 24, 2006
  6. Eugene Wendland

    Paul Furman Guest

    This is a particularly good idea in dim lighting the LCD may appear
    brighter with your eyes adjusted to the darkness.
    Paul Furman, Mar 24, 2006
  7. Eugene Wendland

    Colin D Guest

    I have photographed classical choirs on stage, a bit different in that
    the lighting was much broader and more even across the stage, in
    contrast (no pun intended) to a spot-lit performer, but appropos the
    suggestion above from 'fishfry' (reminds me it's friday night, yum yum)
    about looking at the lcd; in a theatre, where the audience is basically
    in the dark, the lcd will shine like a beacon and distract everybody
    around. Much better to see if you can get in on a rehearsal, or else at
    the beginning of he show before it really starts, check your exposures,
    then turn the lcd off.

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Mar 24, 2006
  8. Aperture priority mode wide open f/4-5.6 and keep an eye on the
    Expect to need ISO 1600 no matter what. This IS will help with
    hand-holding shots, but musicians tend to move, so you still need
    reasonably fast shutter speeds, and it's rare that lighting is good
    enough that you'll get a sharp image at f4 and above otherwise. Also,
    consider applying some negative EV compensation - underexposing versus
    what the meter tells you is appropriate. Otherwise, the metering will
    be suggesting a shutter speed slow enough to make the scene look as
    brightly lit as the "average" scene, which it probably isn't. As a
    bonus, the negative EV compensation will speed up the shutter even more.

    Beyond that, just take lots and lots of shots, and expect that most will

    Marc Sabatella

    Music, art, & educational materials
    Featuring "A Jazz Improvisation Primer"
    Marc Sabatella, Mar 24, 2006
  9. My immediate guess is that those lenses are too slow to work well for
    this application. Yes, I see the "IS". I'm sure IS is great -- but
    my experience with this kind of club shoot is that the *subject
    motion* is the limiting factor, and IS doesn't help a bit with that.

    My secondary suggestion is -- instead of looking for "settings" advice
    from people who've never been in the club in question and haven't seen
    the lighting, *use the power of digital*. Take a few sample pictures
    and look at them *closely*. Zoom in. Check sharpness and detail on
    the face. Check the exposure histogram, see what's being cut off.
    Then adjust from there.

    Good luck!
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 24, 2006
  10. Eugene Wendland

    C J Southern Guest

    I'd be inclined to see if there was any way that you could be allowed to use
    a flash - I suspect it'll make a big difference. Worst they can do is say
    no. Perhaps a bribe with some free publicity shots?
    C J Southern, Mar 24, 2006
  11. IANApro, but I've taken a few pictures at concerts, some of which
    have come out pretty decently. I think everything that's already been
    said is pretty sensible. I'd just like to add:

    - You may not be able to get technically great photographs (high ISO,
    performer moving, weird lighting). So don't fight it, use it! Use the
    weird colors, let the performer blur a little, make it atmospheric. One
    of my concert photos I like, of a drummer, is not very good - the
    drummer is overexposed and everything else is dark, he's motion-blurred
    and the focus isn't great anyway - but I like it because it captures the
    energy and motion of the moment, conveying the drummer's movement and
    emphasizing his isolation and complete absorption in what he's doing.
    Another one shows one performer silhouetted against another: the
    non-silhouetted one is a little too orangy-red and the background a
    little too blue, but if I "correct" the picture to bring out the
    foreground performer and make the colors more accurate, it loses all its

    -Be aware that the lights may be at bad angles, shining right into your
    camera, so take this into account when thinking about exposure.

    -If you're not doing it already, shoot in raw format to maximize your
    ability to correct things like white balance.

    -Try to explore beforehand to see where you can go, what kind of angles
    you can get, and what blocking issues there will be. Consider what the
    background of your shots is going to be. I have one that's pretty good,
    with the performers in the bright yellowish stage lights and the
    audience in the background in blue shadow - except for one annoying guy
    standing forward far enough to be in the same lighting as the stage!
    Jeremiah DeWitt Weiner, Mar 24, 2006
  12. The other thing is that your photos won't *look* like performance
    shots if they're lit by flash. Flash comes from the direction of the
    camera, and stage lighting is essentially always off in some very
    different direction.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 24, 2006
  13. I'd be inclined to see if there was any way that you could be allowed
    It will, as others indicated, make the shot look considerably less like
    we expect a concert shot to look. Also, as a professional musician, I
    can say that flash from any distance close to enough to actually be
    effective can be extremely distracting. Yes, you can always ask, but
    often musicians won't have the guts to say no, even though they really
    mind. It's sort of like asking someone if they mind if you smoke -
    sure, it gives them opportunity to tell you not to, but realistically,
    it also puts people in an awkward position, and you might be causing
    some resentment if they say "go ahead" but it really does bother them.

    Oh, I don't remember if anyone said this, but if not shooting RAW,
    choose the warmest white balance setting you have (generally
    incandescent). And expect the shots will still look quite orange - most
    stage lighting is *very* intensely warm.

    Marc Sabatella

    Music, art, & educational materials
    Featuring "A Jazz Improvisation Primer"
    Marc Sabatella, Mar 24, 2006
  14. Eugene Wendland

    C J Southern Guest

    It's not ideal - but some of my experiences have been a case of "damned if
    you do, damned if you don't" - often one just can't get the shutter speeds
    high enough without it - so you end up with 99% of the shots being blurry.
    Something to take into consideration for sure, but then again there are many
    performers who are quite used to it. My experience is that (the ones I'm
    photographing) invariably have managers who aren't affraid in the slightest
    to say no.
    C J Southern, Mar 25, 2006
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