Shooting a band?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jwt, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. jwt macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #1
    Hey all,

    I was asked by a colleague to shoot his band. It would be some shots of the band playing and then some group shots at a location he has picked out. I'm a little scared since I'm a hobbyist whose interests are more toward nature and landscape photography. I'm inclined to accept his offer because it is a new experience and may open a door down the road, but I'm not sure what to expect. Can anyone offer any advice?
     
  2. Piercey macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #2
    Let's start with what kind of gear you have. That will depend on what you can do and the advise you'll get.
     
  3. Hello.there macrumors 6502a

    Hello.there

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    Couch
    #3
    They can't be that bad, surely?
     
  4. Chris14 macrumors regular

    Chris14

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    Hamilton, NZ
    #4
    Hahahaha! Thats a classic!
     
  5. blairwillis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    #5
    I recommend a 9mm. Get as close to the stage as possible. If you need to be discrete, go for a classic sniper rifle, silencer, and scope, but who has that kind of time or patience, anyway?
    ;)
     
  6. jwt thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #6
    Ha Ha, everyone!

    My gear consists of a Rebel XTi with the kit lens, a 17-85 USM IS, and a 70-200 f/4L IS.
     
  7. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #7
    That's tough... no fast glass there.

    I'd go with whatever gives you the lowest aperture, leave it at that, ratchet up the ISO quite a bit, enough to get 1/60 or 1/100. Try to get pictures of the band while they're relatively still (unless you want the motion blur).

    Remember, a photo with some noise is still intelligible. Anything grossly underexposed or blurry won't work.
     
  8. patrickq macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    #8
    Hi, I used to shoot bands professionally many years ago (think most of the jokes have been covered, so should be safe now :)). I reckon the first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you really want to do it, there's no point in opening doors to potential business that doesn't interest you at all. If it is just a 'fear of the unknown' thing and you fancy it, then just give it a go. Presumably your mate can't afford to pay anyone professionally, so if he gets nothing because you screw up big time, at least it has cost him nothing! It is a lot easier now, with digital, to salvage what would have been a bin job with film and you can see what you're getting as you go along, rather than getting a blank film back from the lab later :(
    Have you seen the band perform live before, the type of venue makes a huge difference to technique, if they're at a small club where you are right up front using a wide angle, it's a lot different to being way back shooting them as a support act to a bigger band where you have no close access. So, more details would be good. I'll try and track this topic so I can reply if you want more info. What style is band, how many members etc, what are the pictures for, do you know the band members, whole load of things make a difference to how you go about doing pics. Bottom line is you can always create something, using whatever equipment and situation you have, even if it was a pinhole camera from 100 ft.
     
  9. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #9
    Buy a few pieces of fast glass... a 28 mm and a 50mm would be a good start.

    High ISO + wide open lens + faster shutter... But you'll need to play around with it once you're there.

    Also, try searching, I posted a bunch of info on this a few months back (here in this forum).
     
  10. jtblueberry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Location:
    Pismo Beach, CA
    #10
    Give it a shot. A 2.8 or better lense would definitely help...maybe look at renting or borrowing one. Maybe you can find a vantage point to set up a tripod and "sniper" them with the 70-200?
    Shoot in raw so that if you are underexposed you'll have a good chance at recovering the detail.
    Also, think about taking some shots of a grey/white card in different areas so that you can get all the color right when you process them too.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    A pro can afford to match his gear to the job. When you are not getting paid the best thing is to just take the shots that you can get and pass on the ones you can't. For example you are not going to be able to freeze motion with an f/5.6 zoom in low light. So don't try. Put the camera on a tripod an let the drummer's hands be big blurrs. No matter what gear you have there is something you can do. Do that and just don't what you can't.

    Many times I'll go shotting with just l one lens, say a 35mm f/2.0 or maybe my 135mm f/2.8 either way I'll get the same number of good shots but I get very different set of shots. If I took both lenses with me I'd get a wider range of shots but still about the same number of good ones. Amateurs can do this because we are not shooting on asignment for a client who wants specific kinds of images. So don't worry bring a camera and yu will get whatever kinds of shots that camera is good at.

    That said, in low light a wide lens is very helpfull. Remember the rule about shooting at 1/(focal length) it means that with an 18mm lens you can hand hold at 1/20th second where as that 200mm zoom forces yu to a 10X longer exposure. So yo see all the advice to get close and use a wide lens. Not only is motion blur reduces but you get that "in your face" perspective that looks more involving
     
  12. jtblueberry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Location:
    Pismo Beach, CA
    #12
    Good point. If you want to do it for fun, on an amature level, and not get paid, go with your current gear and have fun. That may be a good start to see if you like this work. If you already know you truely want a future in this, and want to get paid, rent the gear you need (a fast lense) and see if you have what it takes. You can always work out a deal where he buys the images if likes them, and doesn't buy them if they're bad. If things go well, you can buy the lense and start your "professional" career.
     
  13. jwt thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #13
    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    Like someone mentioned, they can't afford to pay anyone, so I'll be doing this for beer.

    Also, as far as shooting them while they play, that won't be done in front of an audience. That will be done in their studio, so I assume the lighting will allow me to get by with my slow lenses.
     
  14. jtblueberry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Location:
    Pismo Beach, CA
    #14
    Investing in some good flash might be smarter in that case. This sounds more like a portrait shoot to me than what I was envisioning. Do you have any off-camera flash and/or soft boxes? If not, that's cool, but maybe get a modifier and a good on-camera flash to do what you can. Plus, if you don't already have those tools, you'll find them quite useful for all kinds of stuff.
     
  15. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    In my imagination
    #15
    Just imagine how you want the band to look then take it from there. It would be nice to have some nicer glass but who the hell cares...? You have what you have and if you don't master that stuff what's the point of moving to faster, better stuff?

    Just start shooting and take it from there... OH and most important of all, use your imagination (the only thing left for true photographers) and never stop shooting even after the event/photo shoot is over. Keep getting gigs or taking your own photo documentaries/editorials/journals/etc.
     
  16. uMac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #16
    If at all possible, get them outside (weather permitting)then you can get some unique shots that fans/addicts/photojournalists can't get from a concert.

    That will give you not only a lot of light but make the pictures useful for things like CD covers, Band Posters, etc.

    Just choose a location that best fits with the band's music and appearance.
     
  17. zdobson macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Indiana
    #17
    Just ask the club owner to turn up the lights. They'll usually oblige.;)
     
  18. patrickq macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    #18

    If you're talking about a recording or rehearsal studio then you're unlikely to have much available light in my experience, you'll have no daylight and chances are that the studio lighting will be low level, even if everything is turned up to 11 :rolleyes:

    However, it does have the great advantage that you can move around wherever you want and take time to evaluate your shots as you go along, in fact if you can connect to your Mac laptop (if you have one) or download as you go, then it gives you/band a way to see if you're getting the shots you want. If it is a smallish recording studio then even just a bounced on camera flash will give you some fairly even lighting. I suggest you post very precise details then everyone can post more relevant advice, at the moment we're all having to guess the parameters. So, how many band members, what music genre, what is their style, age range, what are pics for (just a record of them now, for flyers, cd cover, posters, press releases, etc) as it makes a huge difference to what is required, are they aiming for fun/local/national/international stardom :cool:, you need to find out approximate size and details of studio, precisely what equipment do you have available (I'm not familiar with Rebel, so what speed is the 17-85 and is it variable or fixed f-stop) have you got any types of off-camera flash/tungsten (even putting in some high wattage photo bulbs into studio lights may be possible, which could give some great available light/mood shots), etc...
     
  19. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #19
    I googled it earlier, it's variable (similar to the Nikon 18-70) 3.5(or 4?) to 5.6
     
  20. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #20
    Tripod + your 70-200

    move around a bit

    if you move in close, use your flash & fix it in post

    motion blur is pretty crappy unless you are pretty good. aim for clear, sharp, and well composed. Just simple basic photography when the going gets tough.
     

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