Concert Photography 101 : Getting Started

9 01 2010

Greg Taylor Concert Photography Gear

So, you want to combine your love for music and photography but don’t know where to start. I’ve developed a series of weekly articles will help you get started.

The first place to start is with a Digital SLR (DSLR) camera. Sounds simple enough but many people don’t realize that the typical point and shoot camera will not produce the shots you want. Sure point and shoots are great for snapshots of you and your friends but not of the show. I use the Canon EOS xsi with two different lenses. The lenses I almost always use are a prime 50mm f1.8 and a 24-70 f2.8. I find that very rarely do I go into my bag to grab a different lens.

Why these two lenses? The 50mm prime (sometime referred to as the nifty-50) is a lens every photographer should have. The 50 is an inexpensive way to have something that is fast enough for the poor lighting conditions of concert venues. F1.8 is more than enough when shooting at ISO800 – 1600. The 24-70 allows me to frame the shot differently. Whereas the 50mm is prime (no zoom in or out) the 24-70 gives me some more freedom. F2.8 is fast enough with a shutter speed of 1/60 – 1/125 while using ISO800 – 1600.

If you notice I haven’t mentioned using a flash. I never use a flash when taking concert photos. Why? Unless you are on assignment from the band or band’s management the artists really don’t appreciate a flash popping in their face during the set – or even the three songs you’re allowed to shoot (we’ll get to that part later in concert photo etiquette.) Many times the conditions of using a photo pass is “NO FLASH”.

Basic equipment needed: DSLR Camera (which has at least ISO1600) and a f2.8 lens. (Above is a photo of my primary concert gear.)

So you have the gear – now what? You have to know your camera and know the settings. I’m not saying before getting started you need to be the most technical photographer. The knowledge needed is how your gear responds in different lighting situations. What shutter speed? at which ISO? what f-stop? This is what makes or breaks the picture. Get the lighting right and your chances increase dramatically of getting a good photograph. Below are samples of my photos with various camera settings I rely on:

(Links to more of my concert photography with photo settings can be found at www.flickr.com/grtaylor – select image and click on properties)

Know your camera, know your settings, trust your instincts and have fun – chances are you have the best seat in the house!

The next post in this series will discuss ambient light and basic camera settings. The article will also include metering, aperture, determining ISO, and shutter speeds. (Other upcoming posts will include how to get the shot, framing – concert photography composition, post processing digital images, getting your photo equipment in the house and photo credentials.)

I want to know about your concert photography experience. What was the first concert you shot? How did the images turn out? Please leave a comment and show off some of your music photos.

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com





Be Back Tomorrow

7 01 2010

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I planned on starting my Concert Photography Series tonight but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Thx





Photo365 Projects

5 01 2010

Here are links to some Photo365 projects from the photographers I spoke to about this post. Check out their work and let them know what you think.

Erin Taylor-Bell’s Project
Devon Adams’ Project
Stacy Ericson’s Project
Allan Saw’s Project

Here are links to where you can find other Photo365 projects – or create your own.

365 Project
Flickr’s 365 Days Photo Group

I want to know about your photo / art projects for 2010 – leave a comment and let us know. It’s all about collaboration! This blog places a high value on collaboration over competition!

My complete photography portfolio can be viewed at: www.grtaylor2photo.com





Five Photographers That Rock

2 01 2010

Everyone who has ever been successful has mentors. If mentor is too formal a word for art than people they admire and look to their work for inspiration. The access to online portfolios, flickr and tweets about photo shoots has expanded my view. But ultimately there are a handful of photographers over the years whose work has stuck with me – so here is my list of FIVE Photographers that I respect and admire their work. (In no particular order.)

Stevie D of the Raging Lamos by Ben Cornish

BEN CORNISH: Who is Ben Cornish? Ben is a filmmaker that lives in Denver but growing up he was one of my best friends. Ben was the person who always had a 35mm camera or a video camera with him. I know somewhere there are umpteen boxes of VHS tapes and photographs from our high school days and thereafter. I’ve always liked the diverse subjects Ben shot. One day it would be a skate session and then maybe a concert we were going to later and probably along the way he would pull the car over to take a picture of a cool tree by the side of the road. Ben made it ok for me to take photos and to have a camera with me often.

GLEN E. FRIEDMAN: If you don’t know who Glen E. Friedman is – look it up. Glen documented two groundbreaking subjects in history (and my life) – early days of skateboarding and the east coast music movement (both punk rock and hip-hop.) Glen’s unique composition and powerful portraits are the envy of many photographer. Often before going to shoot a concert or a portrait I will look at one of his amazing books to get ideas on position, lighting and composition. I know I am not alone when I say – Glen E. Friedman has influenced me more than any other photographer. (Period.)

TODD OWYOUNG: Todd is a Concert Photographer from Los Angeles, CA. The thing that always strikes me about Todd’s work is the amazing colors. Concert photography is usually a fight with light. He is able to make the lighting work for him and produce excellent work. What I admire most about Todd is his transparency. Usually his posts include what lenses were used and his camera settings. As I refer to Glen’s books I also refer to Todd’s website to gain insight on technical aspects of concert photography. He has helped my progression as an artist.

CHADWICK FOWLER: I have known of Chadwick for a while now – but I first met him spring of 2009. Chadwick is a professional photographer from Phoenix, AZ that specializes only in great shots. His business is segmented into Commercial Photography, Concert / Music Photography and Portrait Photography. He has a passion for getting the best photo at the perfect moment. More than that he has a passion for his craft (photography) – I know because I have seen him in action. Chadwick sets the bar high for us photographers in Phoenix and we are all better for it. Check out his work. www.chadwickfowler.com

CRAIG BLANK: I’ve known Craig since the early 80’s. Craig was one of our best friend’s (older) brother. I don’t know what to say about Craig’s photographs – whether it’s about his architecture work, product work or portraits – His photos always capture that thing. (It’s difficult to put into words.) Again, these are the shots I am continually seeking. Craig is probably one of the most technical photographers I know (graduated from School of Visual Arts in NYC.) When I see Craig’s work it always makes me pick up my camera and photograph something.

There’s my list. These are the artists that I work to be named with at someday. Who are your favorite photographers – I want to know so I can expand my circle influence. (Happy 2010 to everyone.)

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit: www.grtaylor2photo.com





Declaration for 2010 – New Year's Resolutions are for Failing

30 12 2009

Greg Taylor & Kristina : Spring Training Baseball 2009 I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions unconsciously set you up for failure and who wants to fail. Not me.

Let’s face it 2009 was a rough year for everyone – but I can still count the many blessings that 2009 brought me.

2009 was the year I got my health in order and discovered what was really important. (Sidenote: I got fired – not layed off, straight up canned in November 2008 for some BS. Yep, I got fired from a job I freaking hated every minute of. I was bummed for maybe 20 minutes and then this amazing feeling came over me – FREEDOM. I traveled for four months off and on rediscovered my hapiness.) Money, material things and the like are cool – but in 2009 I set my priorities right. I’m no longer chasing pipe dreams and bar plans. That doesn’t mean I don’t have goals and aspirations but they are more aligned with the bigger picture.

That brings us to my Declarations for 2010. These are things that I focus on during the next year.

HEALTH: I will continue my pursuit of fitness. I will continue my pursuit of clean eating. I will continue my adopted vegetarian lifestyle. I will limit unnecessary late nights and make sure that I listen to what my body needs.

PHOTOGRAPHY: I will continue to make pictures at every opportunity. I will continue my pursuit to being the best photographer I can. I will have an exhibit in August for my 40th birthday. I will continue my informal study of the masters of photography. I will continue my pursuit of knowledge by asking questions, answering questions and discussing photography with others.

PERSONAL: I will continue to be a friend and a trusted confidant. I will continue my pursuit of being the best person I can. I will make sure that I tell the people in my life how grateful I am for their love, friendship and support. I will engage in off-line social activities in Tempe / Phoenix with the great people of Social Media in AZ (I will let myself be known to everyone in person rather than in 140 characters.)

PROFESSIONAL: I will continue to hone my craft and ward off complacency at every turn. My focus will be on achieving results that help my clients move toward their goals. I will continue to be a conduit of information, ideas and creativity.

There it is – posted to live forever. Here’s a question to anyone who reads this and to everyone: What are you going to do in 2010?

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit:www.grtaylor2photo.com





Declaration for 2010 – New Year’s Resolutions are for Failing

30 12 2009

Greg Taylor & Kristina : Spring Training Baseball 2009 I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions unconsciously set you up for failure and who wants to fail. Not me.

Let’s face it 2009 was a rough year for everyone – but I can still count the many blessings that 2009 brought me.

2009 was the year I got my health in order and discovered what was really important. (Sidenote: I got fired – not layed off, straight up canned in November 2008 for some BS. Yep, I got fired from a job I freaking hated every minute of. I was bummed for maybe 20 minutes and then this amazing feeling came over me – FREEDOM. I traveled for four months off and on rediscovered my hapiness.) Money, material things and the like are cool – but in 2009 I set my priorities right. I’m no longer chasing pipe dreams and bar plans. That doesn’t mean I don’t have goals and aspirations but they are more aligned with the bigger picture.

That brings us to my Declarations for 2010. These are things that I focus on during the next year.

HEALTH: I will continue my pursuit of fitness. I will continue my pursuit of clean eating. I will continue my adopted vegetarian lifestyle. I will limit unnecessary late nights and make sure that I listen to what my body needs.

PHOTOGRAPHY: I will continue to make pictures at every opportunity. I will continue my pursuit to being the best photographer I can. I will have an exhibit in August for my 40th birthday. I will continue my informal study of the masters of photography. I will continue my pursuit of knowledge by asking questions, answering questions and discussing photography with others.

PERSONAL: I will continue to be a friend and a trusted confidant. I will continue my pursuit of being the best person I can. I will make sure that I tell the people in my life how grateful I am for their love, friendship and support. I will engage in off-line social activities in Tempe / Phoenix with the great people of Social Media in AZ (I will let myself be known to everyone in person rather than in 140 characters.)

PROFESSIONAL: I will continue to hone my craft and ward off complacency at every turn. My focus will be on achieving results that help my clients move toward their goals. I will continue to be a conduit of information, ideas and creativity.

There it is – posted to live forever. Here’s a question to anyone who reads this and to everyone: What are you going to do in 2010?

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit:www.grtaylor2photo.com





Concert Photography Series: Tips, Tricks and Other Notes from Experience

27 12 2009

Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers

Concert Photography Series:  In this series I will discuss things I have learned along the way from both my experiences and from other photographers. Topics will include lighting, camera settings, equipment and how to obtain the elusive photo pass.

Living in Tempe, AZ I am at both an advantage and a disadvantage with concert photography. Cons: we are a small market. Not every band has Tempe / Phoenix on it’s touring radar. Quite often when I research tour schedules it’s common for a band to go from Los Angeles to Dallas or to Las Vegas and skip the whole Southwest. Pros: This is a smaller market and there are not a lot of photographers specializing in live music. So there are less requests from media for credentials. We have a vibrant local music scene and the bands are very lax with photography and the small clubs are very photo friendly. We have a number of smaller venues (i.e Marquee Theater, Dodge Theater or The Orpheum) where with the right credentials you will be able to photography national acts. (Please replace the names of venues etc. with your local venues that have a capacity of up to 10,000 people.)

Where to get started? Vote on the poll and let me know where we should begin.

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit: www.grtaylor2photo.com