5 Gig Photography Tips
Written 7 years ago by Mark Evans
Most people at gigs take point and shoot cameras that usually have presets for taking pics in low light situations. And although these settings can get you a half decent shot, you’ll be able to achieve so much more if you know what you’re doing and don’t mind the risk of taking your SLR along.
One of the most challenging things about gig photography is the light levels. It can be a bit hit and miss if you’ve got flashing lights going on, but a good place to start is to setup your camera for a low light situation and work from there. One of the first things you’ll want to tweak is your ISO. If you’re wanting to capture as much ambient light as possible then you’re probably going to have to set this to the highest it can go. This may cause some grainyness to your pictures but can add a bit of a grunge look too.
Shooting for as much ambient light as possible, its important to set your aperture wide. A fast zoom lens that can open as wide as F2.8 would be beneficial in these situations but as wide as your lens will go should be ok. Remember that shooting wide open will decrease your depth of field, so you’ll have to make sure your focus is spot on.
In darker conditions some cameras can have difficulty focusing, so in these instances try switching your lens to manual focus. This can really improve the number of ‘keepers’ you get, as sometimes you’ll wonder just what the hell your camera is actually focusing on if left on auto mode, but can be more fiddly.
When the ambient light levels are just too low to produce an acceptable image, and you can get within the flash range of your subject then shooting with a strobe can be your only other option. Try setting a slow shutter speed, to get as much ambient light as possible in the background and use the flash to freeze your subject. Experiment with 1st and 2nd curtain flashes. Ist curtain flash will fire when the shutter opens, and 2nd curtain will fire just before the shutter closes. These options are usually located in your cameras menu, so have a play and see what different effects they produce.
You’re at a gig right? Well don’t spend so much time photographing that you miss the concert!
Gig photography produces lighting situations similar to a lot of events so honing your skills on events like parties, weddings and nightclubs can be a great way of improving your photography, enabling you to shoot some inspiring images at concerts and gigs. As a side note, if you’re going to be taking your SLR to a gig/concert etc, make sure with officials if this is ok before hand as some institutions can be funny about whats perceived as ‘professional’ photography.