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  • Photographing a band

    I'm planning on photographing a band on stage in a couple of weeks. I've been meaning to do it for some time, but have been somewhat slack

    A mate of mine is in the band, and will hopefully be playing his double bass. I'm not sure of the genre on the day, as he plays in both a Rock and Roll and Blues band. His wife passed the date and venue onto my wife

    This is a first for me. I'm planning on using the 35mm f/1.4 on the FF body, but I'm not sure what shutter speed I should start out with.

    I guess for drums a slower speed to get some movement of the sticks, but I'm not sure for guitars and vocalists. A closeup of the hands and strings (not sure if I'll get the opportunity with the 35mm) would be okay with a bit of blur, but where there is a face involved I guess still and sharp would be the preference?

    I've no idea of the lighting, it is in the afternoon and indoors.

    If possible, I'd like to get some feedback from others with regards this type of photography?
    Cheers Richard !

  • #2
    G,day Richard I am sure you will get lots of great advice here on composition and settings this was my first attempt taking photos of my brother playing the guitar I got the motion blur and ever thing else not too bad It would about last year sometime I took these. And what I learnt from the CC was make sure the sleeves are rolled up or they have short sleeves on if you can get a close up of the guitar player fab stuff but also the drums I would also go for the motion blur on the drumsticks and the drummers hand any way this just may give you an idea can't remember what my setting were with this so not a lot of help. I did get some great comments if you would like to have a read. good luck with the band can't wait to see what you do

    I found my data there just now ( camera nikon D3100
    1/10 exposure program Manual f/6.3 max aperture value f/5.7 ISO 100
    focal length 55.0mm
    I used a flash I think by memory I used my
    nikon 18-55 kit lens hand held how I did not get camera shake is amazing did not have tripod with me as I said this was off the cuff)
    All Experts at anything were once beginners

    MWAH Sandy


    • #3
      Prepare to be frustrated with the lighting unless the stage is lit by a pro. Fast glass is your friend.

      I've found 1/125 has been good enough to freeze the action for most musicians but I'm not talking about the young 'uns leaping all over the stage.

      You might find 35mm on a FF to be too wide but that said a double bass is pretty big and you may appreciate the width. I reckon you will want to zoom in close and get some 'finger' shots so a longer lens would be priceless.

      I found 50mm on a crop to be good for some shots but am loving my 70-200mm. Hard to say without knowing how much access you have to the stage and keep in mind I like to isolate band members rather than go for group shots.

      Here's one of a drummer taken at 50mm ( from memory I cropped out his feet/legs in pp) and 1/60. Drummers tend to sit still and you can shoot very slow speed and get away with it at times. This one is slightly soft but not enough to bother me. The forearm is quite blurred but hidden by the kit so this is as slow as you want to go.

      I've used 1/80 and still had nice blur on the sticks, it can depend a lot on the drummer. This guy plays harder than most but sits very still and makes my job dead easy.

      (Again from memory, I was about 3m away which is pretty close really.)

      Name:  b2e9d8293c2e95c51673b8daec73f90a.jpg
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Size:  167.3 KB
      Question everything ~ Christopher Hitchins


      • #4
        Listen to Mick - he's an expert at this sort of stuff! (I mean that in the nicest way Mick). I reckon your muso shots are terrific.

        "Don't touch". Must be the scariest thing to read in braille!

        My Gear
        Proudly supporting Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre


        • #5
          Ditto to that
          "Each of us has their own calling"


          • #6
            You're too kind Isac and Mikey, thanks for the compliment.

            Another thing I just remembered Minty - microphones are your worst enemy.

            Can't tell you how many images I've deleted because the mic is obscuring a muso's face. Impossible to avoid them totally of course and they are part of the story but pay close attention to them and how they are going to impact on the image. They can make or break.

            I shoot in manual mode too, just seems the easiest way to deal with the lighting imho. YMMV.

            Oh, and if the lighting on stage is predominately red put the camera down and head to the bar lol.
            Question everything ~ Christopher Hitchins


            • #7
              Mick has pretty well covered it.

              I would also add: Shoot RAW. The color balance, with all the colored lights that bands usually use on stage, is usually all over the place, so RAW will give you more head-room. It's amazing how much the red light Mick mentioned can be fixed using RAW

              And as Mick said, shoot manual. Expose for the highlights at the start, and leave it. The uneven lighting on stage make any sort of light metering on the run a waste of time.

              The lens you use depends on how close you can get, and the sort of shots you want. I find a 70-200 f2.8 very useful. For wider shots, something like a 24-70 f2.8 is fine.

              My indecision is final, I think.


              • #8
                Many thanks Sandy, Mick, ISAC, Mikey, and Charles.

                Love your photos Sandy and Mick :thumbs:

                Okay, I may need to rethink this and use the 24-70 on the FF and the 70-200 on the crop so I've got all bases covered

                Shutter speeds are within my ability to shoot without image stability, particularly if I've had a drink or three

                Thanks for the tip regarding the microphones Mick.

                Thank goodness this is just some practice for me. I'll see if I can get access to the stage, even if it's only during the breaks between sets. I feel the instruments will be great candidates by themselves.

                I hope I can get a couple of photos as good as your ones Sandy and Mick, I'll be over the moon if I do!
                Cheers Richard !


                • #9
                  This didn't go anywhere

                  We rocked up and they have these scanners for your drivers licences. The wife's scanned okay but mine didn't. The receptionist was playing Harry have a chat, and had another 3 queued up waiting for their turn to play. I have zero tolerance for this type of big brother BS, so home we came...
                  Cheers Richard !


                  • #10

                    Sorry to hear that Minty.

                    I've never heard of driver licences being scanned to enter a venue, sheesh, what won't they think of next.

                    The onus should be on the venue owners to have a backup system in place but I doubt they care that much.

                    The trouble is, if you stand your ground and demand to be admitted you'll be seen as a troublemaker. Too many troublemakers justifies more security.

                    Question everything ~ Christopher Hitchins