Tag Archives: concert

Link Roundup 06-27-2010

Link Roundup 06-19-2010

Build Your Portfolio With Local Gigs

Love triangle
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pensiero

As a short extension to Christine Howell’s guest post, How to Become a Sports Photographer, I’d like to rehash a very important point she made. As she was talking about the importance of gaining experience, she stated “… you will be better off on the sidelines of your local high school baseball game than in the stands at the World Series.

But this concept of working local gigs to build a portfolio and work your way up is applicable to just about any type of assignment photography (and other types of paid photography). Here are just a few examples of using local and amateur events/jobs to get some experience.

SPORTS – As Christine mentioned, start shooting local games just for the experience. There are all sorts of local leagues just about everywhere you go.

CONCERTS – Similar to sporting events, there are a lot of local concerts and shows in most cities and urban areas. A show might cost you $10 or $15 to get into, but you’ll probably be able to get shots from any spot you choose (just make sure the venue is cool with cameras).

WEDDINGS – If you want to get into wedding photography, start off by hooking up with a wedding photographer and tagging along on a couple jobs as a backup photographer. As your comfort level rises, start taking on lower-budget weddings and working your way up as you become more sought after.

FINE ART – Start participating in local art shows, fairs, and contests. The most important thing is to get your work in front of people’s eyes, and you’ll be familiarizing yourself with the standards of the industry at the same time.

And as a comment in Christine’s article, Kevin Winzeler gave a great piece of advice for becoming a better sports photographer: “… getting experience in the sport you’re shooting; even at a small level.” Absolutely! This applies to other sides of photography too — shoot the things you enjoy doing yourself and it will show in your photos.

What are some other photography examples of working your way up from local/amateur to global/professional? (I suppose this applies to just about everything in photography, but let’s share some specific examples)

Link Roundup 10-11-2009

Before we get to the links, just a quick reminder that you can suggest links and articles to me via Google Reader, Twitter, Delicious, and/or StumbleUpon. Google Reader is probably the best method (follow me and I’ll follow back if your shared items don’t suck), but I try to keep up with the others as well (though I’m really bad about following back on Twitter).

Concert Photography Tips from a Newbie

Concert Photography

It’s always good to hear tips and techniques from seasoned photographers. But sometimes they forget about the “simple” things that beginners need to know, opting for more advanced topics. I had the opportunity to photograph a concert type of event for the first time in my photography career. Sure, I had read through the concert photography tips available on the web, but I still had to learn many things as I went.

On February 28, 2009 I ventured up to Hollywood for a little performance at the Whisky a Go Go. The main reason I went was because my pal Bryan was playing that night with his band, The Scarlet Paradigm. Playing right before them was Chico and the Sapphires, and they both totally rocked! Seriously, check out their pages and listen to their tunes. These guys are good. You can also see my Flickr sets for both The Scarlet Paradigm and Chico and the Sapphires.

Rather than offer up advice on the topic as if I actually knew it well, I offer up a few concert photography tips from a beginner’s perspective. Here’s what I learned in just a few minutes of shooting that night.


Chico and the Sapphires

Before you go photograph your first concert, read up on the tips and tricks articles out there on the web (I’ve got a list at the end of this article). Also be sure to scope the venue beforehand or at least talk to somebody that’s been there before. Find out if they’re photographer-friendly, if you need a special pass, if they allow flash, what kind of space you’ll have to work with, and what the lighting might be like. Showing up completely unprepared will only cause a lot of stress and ruin the evening.


The Scarlet Paradigm

I’ve seen this tip in just about every concert photography article out there — but for good reason! Concerts are generally dimly-lit and you need all the speed you can get your hands on. I brought my 50mm f/1.4 and my 105mm f/2.8 lenses. The f/2.8 wasn’t too bad, but the f/1.4 was noticeably faster. If you don’t have really fast glass, you can either borrow some from a friend or even rent one for the weekend. And if all else fails, just bring what you have and make do.


Chico and the Sapphires

Even if you use fast lenses, you’ll still have to crank the ISO to anywhere from ISO800 to ISO6400 (or higher). Using large apertures and high ISO values will allow you to shoot at faster shutter speeds. Depending on the performers, you might need something as fast as 1/250 seconds or faster to avoid motion blur. I ended up shooting 99% of my photos at ISO6400 and I got speeds anywhere from 1/6 seconds to 1/1500 seconds with a majority being in the neighborhood of 1/90 seconds to 1/500 seconds. And yet, probably half of my photos showed signs of motion blur (the bands were very lively).


Chico and the Sapphires

Lots of people go to see bands perform and local venues usually have limited floorspace. Everybody else is there to enjoy the performance, so don’t be that person with the giant backpack shoving your way through the crowd. You’ll have a hard time moving around and finding spots to shoot, plus you’ll be bumping up against everyone with your bag. Bring one or two camera bodies and one or two lenses total. You’re going to find good shots with whatever lens you bring and you don’t want to be changing gear every couple of minutes. So pack smart.


The Scarlet Paradigm

If you decide to shoot some film, just remember that you can push ASA400 film as far as ASA3200 without losing a ton of quality. Just do your research on which film/developer combos will allow you to do this. I shot a roll of Ilford HP5+ (ASA400) at ASA3200 and a roll of Ilford Delta3200 at ASA6400 by push developing with Rodinal.


The Scarlet Paradigm

It can feel a bit awkward to push your way in front of people then stand there with a camera in front of your face. But nobody is going to invite you right up to the stage so you can get a shot. Get in there, take a few shots, and move somewhere else. If you keep moving, you won’t tick many people off plus you’ll get a lot of different angles.


Chico and the Sapphires

When it comes time to process your photos, just don’t over-do it. The lighting will probably provide enough color and contrast to be interesting. Just do a couple things to recover highlights and shadows, reduce noise, and try to show what you actually saw. Converting to black and white is also a good option (due to the noise) and you’ll probably have more freedom with your tweaks. Plus you can sometimes get the noise to look like grain if you convert your colors correctly. And if you want to get into Photoshop for a little more creative control, check out these Concert Photography Photoshop Actions.


The Scarlet Paradigm

No matter what, be sure to enjoy yourself. The band you’re photographing is made up of artists like yourself. Artists like to have people enjoy their work — it makes them feel good inside. So pull the camera away from your face every once in a while and just enjoy it.


I know I didn’t cover every single tip and technique for concert photography, so here are a few other articles that dive into other aspects of it.

And if you have concert photography tips and/or example photos, drop a comment below! You’re a smart crowd and I always enjoy learning new things from the community.

Link Roundup 02-28-2009

A bit late this week with the links, but we were having a few things worked on with the server so I figured I would take a break until everything went back to normal. Here are your selections of the week:

  • Tips for Better Self Portraits
    Nathan’s Favorite New Flavor
    Self portraits are tough — I’ve tried my fair share of them! Here are some tips to improve your skills in this area.
  • 10 Excellent Open Source and Free Alternatives to Photoshop
    Six Revisions
    There are a number of open source (and completely free) programs out there that do much of what Photoshop can. In this collection, you will find 10 excellent examples of open source and free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop.
  • Digital Black and White Photos
    Here are a few good tips for creating black & white photos from your digital captures.
  • Capturing Urban Decay
    Getting good photos of urban decay is not necessarily hard; it is more a matter of patience and understanding of the subject. So what is it that can help you become a better urban landscape photographer? Here are 10 tips for great urban photos.
  • Watermarks: Evolution of a Watermark
    In this article, Jim shows us the evolution of his watermark and reveals the reasoning behind each one. Very interesting for those considering the addition of a watermark to their photos.
  • 10 Easy Steps To Advanced Photography Skills
    Smashing Magazine
    By Trey Ratcliff (aka Stuck in Customs), one of the most famous and renowned HDR photographers on Flickr. In his article Trey describes some professional insights and useful photography tips that he collected over the years of his career.
  • Catacombs of Paris – The Real French Underground
    I’ve heard of these catacombs under Paris, but I’ve never seen them like this. Zoriah takes to the caverns with some local cataphiles and shows us a different side of these historic entities.
  • D3A – The Best Photography Contest Ever
    Wow! DIYPhotography.net is 3 years old! To celebrate, Udi has lined up some great prizes for the readers — and all you have to do is submit photos to his Flickr pool to be eligible for the contest.
  • Lessons I Didn’t Learn in Photo School
    Photoshop Insider
    Here are some really great lessons for photographers — definitely not anything you’ll find in a textbook.
  • 100 amazing iPhone photos
    Camera phones can be pretty fun to use — especially high-end phones like the iPhone. Here is a huge collection of great photos taken with the iPhone.
  • How To Photograph Rock Concerts – The Basics
    digital Photography School
    Interestingly, I found this article the day after I shot my first concert. I can definitely say that the tips are helpful for those of us with less experience in the subject.
  • Filters in the Digital Age
    Lens filters can be difficult to comprehend in the digital age — so we chat about the different options and uses for the various filters available.
  • Pulled over by Los Angeles Port Police
    All Narfed Up
    My pal Bryan Villarin is quickly becoming the next Thomas Hawk when it comes to photography related run-ins with the authorities. His latest story involves being pulled over while shooting photos from a freakin’ boat!

Link Roundup 10-04-2008

As always, lots of great things happening around the web.

Link Roundup 04-26-2008

Link Roundup 03-08-2008

More great stuff this week from the World Wide Web! As always, I’m constantly amazed with the things people are publishing on a daily basis. Here’s what caught my attention this week.