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Old 12th of June 2008 (Thu)   #1
bens109
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Default Getting started in gig photography

Hi all,

I've been reading a lot on this site and getting some great tips. As I'm just starting out doing gig photography I thought I would post some shots up, any C&C would be appreciated - don't hold back! I have done nightclub shooting in the past but I've only lately had a chance to shoot bands through thanks to a music website here in Australia. It's unpaid but I guess I can't complain!

The main problem I'm having is with the lighting. I have fast glass but I'm not sure how to approach the white balance. Should I try and adjust in post for the stage lights or is it acceptable to have red/blue/green skin? The best shots I am getting are when there is a white light on the singer but that doesn't happen very often. The shots I see here and on the web that I like best have spot on WB but I'm not sure if that is due good stage lighting or post processing. Also does having the exposure correct affect the white balance? I find it hard to tell if a blue/red/green face is correctly exposed.

The other problem I'm finding is that a lot of my shots are very soft. I'm not sure if it is to do with noise as Im shoot a 800-1600iso or not. I'm shooting with a 30D plus 30 1.4, 50 1.4 and 10-22 3.5-4.5

Any C&C or tips on how to get sharp, bright shots would be great,

Thanks!

more shot on Flickr


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Old 12th of June 2008 (Thu)   #2
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

I like the colors of these shots...

In some of these ,the mike is really too close to the face... I always try to post those pics that show more face and less mike... My feeling is that it's all about the face.

My 30D did not take too well to the Sigma 30mm f1.4... My first and only shoot with it was a focusing disaster and I promptly returned it for an upgrade to "L" glass... However, the Canon 50mm f1.4 is usually spot on... I use the center focusing point and focus on the performer's eye...

The tilt in pictures might make for occasionally interesting composition... However, It's easier on the eye if the picture is straightened out to a parallel with the stage or backdrop or mike stand, etc. The tilt overwhelms the picture and in this entire set, less would be more.

Shoot in RAW and post process... Consider shooting "bracketed" 1 full F stop apart in sets of three... Shoot your entire memory card... And sort the best ones out at home after the show...

I can't actually see if their eyes are open, and if they are smiling and showing their teeth, till I view the actual captures on the computer monitor... I prefer shooting a lot of captures at the best moments of the stage action, with the hope of that perfect shot.

Regarding the noise... Use a noise reduction feature, Noise Ninja works like a charm... As for ISO 1600 or ISO 3200... there is always less noise when the lighting is real good.... Even at ISO 3200 on the 30D, the noise levels are not that evident when the lighting is strong... I'm nearly always shooting in ISO 1600. The stage action places the performer all over the stage and under different lights... The lights alternate and even move around... To hope for consistent, sustained lighting is not always realistic...

Off course there is that one show where the artist sits or stands still the entire time, and the same light is streaming down the entire show... That's not what we are talking about... It's obvious, we want to overcome the difficult part of this business, and that is the ever changing lighting.
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Last edited by johnstoy : 12th of June 2008 (Thu) at 03:56.
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Old 12th of June 2008 (Thu)   #3
bens109
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

Thanks for your comments and tips!

I hear what you say about the difficulty being in the lighting, I'm normally on top of exposure in my photography but with the stage lighting I find myself unable to be changing shutter/aperture settings and follow the action at the same time. Guess that is where the practice comes in.

I guess my main question at this point in time is what to do about unnatural skin colours? A lot of the time the stage lights are going off in one colour (normally red or blue) with no frontal lighting and I'm left with a image where everything is just that one colour. Are these throw-aways or is it possible to "fix" them in post production? I have been using lightroom but my attempts at WB correction just seem to make the images worse......
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Old 12th of June 2008 (Thu)   #4
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

Oh and I haven't tried the 30mm sigma out at a gig so far though I have used it a lot (much more than the 50 1.4) and love it. I also have the Tamron 17-50 2.8 but it says in the bag and I use the 30mm as a walkabout lens.

I'm on the look out for a 1D mkII so I plan to replace the 30mm with a 85 or 100 to get a little bit closer to the action.......
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Old 12th of June 2008 (Thu)   #5
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

The color corrections I do in Photoshop... When in RAW, there are a variety of temperature adjustments, saturation of color variables and black and white sliders... Still haven't found one steadfast solution to the myriad of problems with the occasional/rare but devastating *color extreme* issues.
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Old 25th of June 2008 (Wed)   #6
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

I was reading somewhere about "blowing out" one of the RGB channels. I think this has been happening to me a bit with the stage lighting leaving large patches of solid colour where there should be detail. Is this the same as over exposing the whole shot or is it to do with just one channel? Would you avoid it by changing your exposure settings or your white balance?

So far I have been taking jpegs as I managed to lose my 4gb CF card leaving me with only 1gb of space. As soon as I get another I will switch to RAW. Will RAW give me more leeway with the RGB channels?
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Old 25th of June 2008 (Wed)   #7
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

it's a music show, coloured light is part of the territory. Whilst I often see if I can process so that at least the skin looks a little more natural, often the coloured light is fine as is and can definitely add to many photos.
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Old 25th of June 2008 (Wed)   #8
bacchanal
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

Quote:
Originally Posted by bens109 View Post
I was reading somewhere about "blowing out" one of the RGB channels. I think this has been happening to me a bit with the stage lighting leaving large patches of solid colour where there should be detail. Is this the same as over exposing the whole shot or is it to do with just one channel? Would you avoid it by changing your exposure settings or your white balance?

So far I have been taking jpegs as I managed to lose my 4gb CF card leaving me with only 1gb of space. As soon as I get another I will switch to RAW. Will RAW give me more leeway with the RGB channels?
What I do is use the RGB histogram and just chimp for blown channels (most often red). Setting in camera WB won't help avoid blown channels, but it can help you find the right exposure to maxmize your exposure while minimizing blown channels (if that makes sense). I almost always set my camera to K=2800, because I generally assume stage lighting will tend to be mostly red or at least warm.
Obviously, with typical concert lighting, you'll have some blown spots. The key is just to make sure that you don't have a big spike on the very right edge of your RGB histogram for any of the channels.
Of course, shooting RAW gives you much more leverage in correcting exposure problems in software...personally, I would be lost without RAW.
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Old 25th of June 2008 (Wed)   #9
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

Colored lighting is fine; solid patches of color *not* IMO.
Red and magenta tend to give problems there.

I suggest shooting Raw, although that sometimes leaves something to be desired, depending on Raw converter used: LR does dreadfull things to blue lighting if uncorrected, DPP has a (smaller) problem with yellow spotlights on skin sometimes. RIT is more like the "in camera" processing (DPP supposedly got closer to RIT).
Raw does give a lot more leeway.

I have been doing conversions through DPP (main image), RIT (yellow color on skin) and ACR (recover blown areas) sometimes, blending exposures in PS, to get an image come out like I wanted

There is a (Raw) blending tutorial in the FAQ

For shots you've already done in jpg, you can try this: Click. (I think it's linked from the FAQ as well)
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Old 26th of June 2008 (Thu)   #10
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

Rene, What's RIT? I still haven't calibrated my LR, sigh. I've let it wait so long I can't even remember what to do. I think the biggest problem with Ben's images is softness ... the colors are always odd in concerts. So, Ben, do you sharpen after resizing?
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Old 26th of June 2008 (Thu)   #11
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

RIT = Raw Image Task. (In Zoombrowser / Eos Viewer Utility)

Different Raw converters give different colors. DpReview did a comparison on the 5D here. RIT is closest to the camera's jpg. ACR is off quite a bit in the blues (we knew that).
DPP got closer to RIT lately it seems, as can be seen in the 40D review here.
ACR is still off by a mile.
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Old 29th of June 2008 (Sun)   #12
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

So, if ACR is off by a mile, so is LightRoom ... which is my experience. I know I need to apply the presets and experiment. Can LR come close with calibration? I ask because an image of mine of Carole King you and I discussed a while back I never could make nearly as good as the embedded jpeg preview, sigh.
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Old 30th of June 2008 (Mon)   #13
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

I'm still experimenting with LR.
I had a calibration setting I was fairly ok with, but that turned the orange t-shirts in this shot to about the same color as what the singer is wearing:


So, I had to make a few other adjustments in the HSL tab.

DPP rendered the image just fine "out of the box"

You can get rather close in LR, but you might have to tweak for instance the HSL sliders for certain images. The "targeted adjustment tool" (bottom of this page) makes that quite easy.
This entire gallery was made using LR 2.0 Beta: Click
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Old 30th of June 2008 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: Getting started in gig photography

Thanks, Rene. I have set aside some time this coming weekend to work on this issue so you may hear from me. BTW, I may be in Holland next year to visit Frank Doorhof and travel around for a week or so ... now that I have my Danish and Dutch friends sorted! I will make sure you have all the details as they are worked out so you can take me shooting and show me everything I am doing wrong, sigh.
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