Many of the other forums seem to have threads devoted to the most often asked questions very similar to a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) so I thought it might be useful here. I see the same questions asked and answered over and over which is time consuming and boring and hope we can circumvent some of that. I don't really know the best format so I thought I'd just lay out some musings and see where it goes. Please, do not post questions into this thread ... it is for answers!
If you really want to maximize your learning then just start reading the concert related posts cover to cover starting almost anywhere and proceeding through the forum. For newbies to concert photography it is likely that you will find your own questions or questions that you will soon ponder have been answered repeatedly. Many of the posts will give references to other material including websites and Photoshop actions and tutorials. Please Note: some threads get tedious and can be ignored and some threads get contentious and should be avoided. If you run into someone who seems to always be an irritant or always finds some fault or insult or issue where none is intended please note that there is an "Ignore List" feature at POTN ... just go to the UserCP area and block that person's userid. It is amazing how just two or three ids in your Ignore List can brighten your whole POTN experience.
If you really want to maximize feedback and critique then start by using a meaningful title. Titles like "My First Concert" or "My First Submission" or "Newbie: C&C Please" are pretty off putting and useless. Try something like "Butterfingers & Twinkletoes @ Wrinkleford on Thames: Critique Please". In general having the artist/band/performer and the venue in the title is optimal. It also makes it easier for others who may have or will soon shoot the same act or place to find information.
For best feedback post five to eight images as close to 1024 pixels on the long side as you can manage ... bigger images are much easier to look at and appreciate. You can embed two hosted at POTN but you would be better to link (meaning they are at your own website somewhere) the whole eight. Provide links to websites with additional images. Just posting a link to a webpage with a zillion almost identical images and saying, "I wanted to show everything" tends to get a cool response, too. Explain what is going on. Also go to the UserCP page and turn Image Editing OK so that others can edit your images and repost to show you how they would do something.
To increase the amount of feedback/comments you get, do at least two things: (1) Make commenters feel welcome ... acknowledge criticism as valuable even if you disagree with it and don't whine that you wanted some other type of advice ... no one here is paid to be your therapist! If someone comments on your thread in a way that offends you, take responsibility for your half ... perhaps you were whining that there were 3333 views and no comments and they felt sorry for you, but don't just attack them. It does no good to say, "Only 13% of your words addressed the issues I wanted you to comment on and 63% were just drivel." If you want comments then you have to accept that they are not all going to be exactly what you want. Don't be so OCD! Relax! People here are trying to be helpful but we all have bad days. (2) Go out of your way to comment in as many other threads as possible. It is lame to say, "I am not expert enough to make a comment" or "I'm only here to learn, not offer advice." It comes across as sounding like you feel entitled to mentoring just because you showed up ... and you aren't. And you can always just say how you like the images someone else has slaved over to produce.
Ask specific questions. Questions like, "How could I do better?" tend to generate thoughts like, "By not posting!" But something like, "Are there tricks for dealing with stage smoke?" or "What lens do most use for this type of concert?" will bring out the most experienced to offer suggestions, particularly if you make it clear you have already gone looking through posts using the search facilities provided. Or better yet, find posts with images/techniques you like and ask specific questions about how they were done, what equipment, what post processing, what the lighting was like ... anything that you would like to emulate.
Don't whine about not getting any comments! I posted a picture of my wife yesterday in the G&N forum. There have been 1,293 views and ZERO comments. I did get one indirect comment from a guy because I posted in another guy's thread that I didn't think his portrait was glamor to yet another person and this guy felt utterly compelled to comment on my comment because my picture wasn't glamor ... even though I had explained why I had posted it. Please don't be a thread monitor, at least not until you have a lot of experience with the people involved ... we have moderators who are the only authorized "Hall Monitors" and you'll look like an idiot defending someone who hasn't asked for you to be their white knight. [Note: I often get PMs asking me to look at a particular thread and comment when I have time ... if you have made friends here at POTN you might try that tactic until you run out of friends because you keep nagging them! ]
Try not to be a Wuss: It serves no useful purpose for you to take any comment as a personal attack ... really, chest butting in a thread or sending PMs to people about how they hurt your feelings or how you think they ought to act reflects more on your issues than on whatever insult you think they have committed. 99.99% of the time you don't know the offender personally or have a sense of their background or style but even if they are BAD PEOPLE it really doesn't matter. This is the Internet and you should just let these little upsets go ... they are really infantile on your part regardless of what was done! If someone does something bad, contact a moderator or sue them, but keep it off the threads. Please don't others what they can and cannot say, what terms/phrases they may use and other "your preference" policing. If you have a preference, state it, but don't dictate or "guilt" others to use your particular brand of PC.
Where are you? It often helps to know where you are: Chicago or Liverpool or Vuulputtenfarber? [Sorry Olli, Kalle and Rene!] There are big cultural differences and it helps to know them.
What equipment do you have? It would do no good for me to say, "Use your 300mm f/2.8L IS in this situation" if you don't have one. We have a special Gear List thread where you can Reply and list your gear ... there are hundreds of examples. You can then edit your signature to put in a link ... look at my signature for an example. Notice that it is a special kind of 'one post only' link rather than a link to the whole thread.
EXIF metadata is optimal. If you don't know what this is then do a Google search or read my Q&A ... you need to know about it. It is the data that the camera injects into your image documenting the ISO, shutter speed, camera type, lens information, aperture, etc., so we know what you did.
By now you probably want some specific suggestions so here we go:
- In low light shoot with fastest ISO you have. You need to know what your camera can do. We have forums that can help immensely with this.
- If you shoot in low light a lot and only have the kit lens then you need to consider getting the 50mm f/1.8 for around $75USD.
- Don't cut off the guitar heads.
- Use a tripod or monopod with bigger lenses.
- FACES, Faces, faces. People are about faces.
- Minimize flash, but if you have to use it, learn all the fancy techiques from bouncing off the back wall or your white shirt to "Shutter Drag" techniques.
- Sharpen after resizing.
- Learn how to do Custom White Balance even if you shoot RAW.
- Learn about RAW. But don't obsess about it ... I made my first $100,000 shooting just jpegs, so if someone gets on their high horse about RAW just ask them how much cash they've made?
To others interested in this idea I have no sense of ownership. I would be happy to have this thread deleted and a newer and more organized one started. I would be happy to have anyone add their own tips, trick, suggestions. I would be unhappy to have religious arguments about "Legends", "RAW", Canon vs Nikon or other chest butting.