Ep 16: Rock on!: How to photograph live performances


Shooting live events is an art form. In most cases, there is no second chance. So whether you are shooting a concert, theatre or live television, you need to understand the tips and tricks to make this happen. Gina and Valerie discuss everything you need to know from how to get the best angle, how to treat performers, what to do with low lighting, the gear you need so that you can easily move around – and much more.
#ginachallenge performance

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Show notes
This week’s #ginachallenge is “performance”

Mothers of invention

Performance Anxiety: How to shoot live bands, concerts, theatre, and television

Live gigs are tricky/many challenges

What’s the best way to get started?

The best gear for live events

  1. DSLR of choice
  2. Fast zooms
    2.8 is ideal 16-35 canon or 14 -24 nikon
    24-70( both)
    70-200 ( both)
  3. Prime lens 85mm
  4. Nifty 50 1.4
    85 1.4 ( Nikon) 1.8 (Canon) or 1.2mm

  5. Noise reducing Ear plugs $15-20

  6. Camera straps
    Black Rapid Camera Straps

  7. Memory Cards
    16GB with fast write speed

  8. Small bag for your bits and pieces
    – spare cards
    – camera batteries
    – spare lens

  9. Monopod ( optional)

From Glenn Dube on Google +

Was listening to your podcast were you were talking about McGivering things and how you like those things best. Well here’s one I’ve not seen posted anywhere.

There are lots of places tripods aren’t allowed, Museums and such or situations that make them just too inconvenient, Street festivals, concerts, standing room only venues etc.

I’ll just explain how to make one and you’ll see how to use it. For mine I used a thimble for sewing thread that I cut a convenient length. Tie a sturdy non stretchy string around it tightly (Mine is through a drilled hole) The other end on mine has a key of the sort that you used to open a can of Spam or Sardines.. (They were more common back then, and actually so was slow film). But any discarded key will do.

Through the middle of the thimble I put a 1/4-20 bolt that would hold the thimble with the string attached to the tripod socket in the bottom of the camera. So now you have your camera with a thimble on the bottom and a long string with a key attached. If you make the string the right length for you, Then you can stand on the key, with the camera at your eye and pull some tension on the sting and you would be amazed how stable you can make it. your whole body is the tripod and it’s completely unobtrusive. Nobody will notice it. and You could be the only photographer getting sharp shots. I find it works as well or better than a mono-pod that I see people slouching while using, They aren’t very effective like that, the mono-pod is rigid but the body holding everything else isn’t.

I showed another photographer this and he improvised by me loaning him my Manfrotto plate and he used the tightening loop on the bottom to attach his string to and simply tied a knot in the other end that he stood on, I suddenly felt like I over spent on mine…

How to shoot Live events

  1. Shooting in very low lightI shoot Manual mode wide open in
    Auto focus on AF Servo (Canon) AF continuous (Nikon)
  2. Metering modesCenter weighted metering
    CenterCenter weighted metering measures the light from the whole scene but places more emphasis on the center. Hence the name – center weighted. Genius.This is a good mode to use for portraits as it reads the area around the center of the frame, right where your portrait subject will be. Centre weighted metering also compensates for brightly lit backgrounds.

    Spot metering
    Spot metering takes a single reading from a small area in the centre of the frame. This is a good mode if you need to get an accurate light reading from a small area on a brightly lit plane, like a backlit couple walking in the distance.

    Matrix metering
    Matrix metering divides your image into segments and takes a reading based on the average of brightest to darkest. This is a good all rounder to choose and I use matrix metering as a starting point for my daylight shoots.

  3. Shoot raw
    When you shoot in RAW mode, no processing is done. When you shoot in JPEG mode the camera automatically adjusts the white balance, color space, sharpening, compression and saturation before giving you a JPEG image file.Or at the very least shoot both RAW and JPEGShooting in RAWraw-raw

    Shooting in JPEG


  4. Watch and anticipate
  5. Respect the performers
  6. Shoot, shoot and shoot some more
  7. Do your homework
  8. Edit

How to direct and pose like a pro

About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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