How did I get these great shots of Diana Rein? I have talked about shooting live events before, this time it’s about shooting in an intimate venue. “The Merc” in Temecula California. I had not shot at this location but I was confident that I could pull off another great set of images.
One of my magazine contacts got me on the list of photographers for the event & I arrived at the theater just before show time so I could look around to see if I could find the best places to shoot from and what the lighting was like. There are three things you need to know about a small theater. One makes sure you do not get in the way of people that have paid for a seat, find out who is the lighting director so that you might talk with them as they could advise you of the best-known views and what they might be doing with the stage lighting during the show. If there is security at the show let them know who you are and why you are shooting. (Check in)
Once you have done all this you might be able to meet the artist who is playing or their people so they know who you are running about taking photos. That way the artist might look your way for some shots as they then know who you are at their show and that your images could end up being published. You might find there are other guys shooting and a lot of them are just people with cameras who are nobodies. But if you do get to meet another pro make friends with them so that you don’t get in their shots or they don’t get in yours.
I can only advise you on what equipment I take and how well it works for me. My list of gear is a camera that will take great shots in low light when the ISO is pushed, I like to use are a 50mm on a crop sensor that acts as an 85mm and a 19-35mm I also have a 28-75mm zoom. I also take with me another camera as backup. When shooting in low light or just stage light you will have to use a high ISO so keep in mind that the higher the ISO the more noise you will get in your images. Now another thing is that the subject on the stage will also be moving about so it’s best to find a speed that can help stop motion so I like to use 250sec or higher which you can only get if you use the lens wide open and high ISO. Now the closer you get the better and if you move away or zoom out you will get more in focus which can work out just fine for the framing of your images. I also like to use a color setting that is set by my custom balance (Why) because I like the lights of the stage to be part of the atmosphere I don’t let the camera pick the color balance. I also shoot Raw so that I can make adjustments later in photoshop® or another program to set the images the way I like to see them for publication.
Never use a flash when shooting people on stage that is rude & you will look like an amateur? Good luck with your next music event.