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

Advertisements




Not just Another 2009 List – It’s My List

23 12 2009

Yes it’s that time of year again…Everyone reflects about the previous twelve months and compiles a list. Some lists are made of resolutions – but not mine. This list isn’t just another Top 10 List – It’s my list. It’s my list of more things that I want more of in 2010!

Best Movie: The Hangover – one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen in a theater. No, I’ve never passed out and been face to face with Mike Tyson’s tiger. (Sorry if you were living under a rock and didn’t see the movie and I spoiled it for you.) I have however gone on a bender and woke up the next day and wondered what the hell happened and who do I need to apologize to?

Best Concert or Live Show: This was a close one but after really thinking about it – It’s Rusted Root and Crowfield at The Marquee Theater in Tempe.

It’s been years since I’ve seen Rusted Root and honestly if their PR Agency hadn’t given me photo access I wouldn’t have gone. It would have been my loss. The band sounds just as good as ever. Another thing about this show was the opening band Crowfield from Charleston, SC. Crowfield is band on the verge of getting popular. (Check them out on iTunes or wherever.) I bought their disc and it’s in constant rotation in my car.

Favorite Travel Spot of 2009: Boise, ID. We went to see friends in Boise on our way to Yellowstone National Park and The Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole, WY. I had never been to Boise before and didn’t know what to think. I was amazed. It’s a great small city that reminds me a lot of Denver only smaller and a little like Tempe but only larger.

Non Music Related Event: The Redneck Olympics on the Mogollon Rim. Buy me a beer sometime and I’ll tell you the stories. (Maybe.)

Favorite Restaurant: This category had to be broken into two – lunch and dinner.

Lunch: Green New American Vegetarian in Tempe – Awesome food, great prices, fantastic value. (Four Peak Brewery in Tempe is a very close second.)

Dinner: Mucho Gusto Mexican Bistro in Tempe – Our favorite place and some of the best Mexican in the Valley.

Favorite Bar: TT Roadhouse (68th St. & Thomas) Cold drinks reasonably priced and the best jukebox in Phoenix hands down. Some of the patrons may look a little rough around the edges but everyone there is good people. Grab a drink, drop some coins in the jukebox and settle in for a heated game of darts. (Note: TT stands for Tortoise Trophy – a motorcycle race in England.)

Best TV Show: I don’t watch much TV at all. My choice has been off the air for a while but it was something I found in 2009 and since this is my list here it is: The Wire. If you’ve never watched the wire. Get all six seasons on Netflix, lock yourself in a room and watch them all. Awesome.

Favorite Book: Tribes by Seth Godin. Stop fearing criticism and start leading.

Favorite Song: Again it’s my list so I’m going to pick a song I really liked in 2009 that is actually from 1997. Triburay Otis – Otis is track one from The Refreshments (now Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers) second album Bottle and Fresh Horses. Sometime older is a little better than the new and Otis always sounds great live.

So there it is – my list of 2009 stuff. I know there will be people who disagree with me and think I’m wrong. Let me know how wrong I am via comment but remember – this is my list…





Not just Another 2009 List – It's My List

23 12 2009

Yes it’s that time of year again…Everyone reflects about the previous twelve months and compiles a list. Some lists are made of resolutions – but not mine. This list isn’t just another Top 10 List – It’s my list. It’s my list of more things that I want more of in 2010!

Best Movie: The Hangover – one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen in a theater. No, I’ve never passed out and been face to face with Mike Tyson’s tiger. (Sorry if you were living under a rock and didn’t see the movie and I spoiled it for you.) I have however gone on a bender and woke up the next day and wondered what the hell happened and who do I need to apologize to?

Best Concert or Live Show: This was a close one but after really thinking about it – It’s Rusted Root and Crowfield at The Marquee Theater in Tempe.

It’s been years since I’ve seen Rusted Root and honestly if their PR Agency hadn’t given me photo access I wouldn’t have gone. It would have been my loss. The band sounds just as good as ever. Another thing about this show was the opening band Crowfield from Charleston, SC. Crowfield is band on the verge of getting popular. (Check them out on iTunes or wherever.) I bought their disc and it’s in constant rotation in my car.

Favorite Travel Spot of 2009: Boise, ID. We went to see friends in Boise on our way to Yellowstone National Park and The Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole, WY. I had never been to Boise before and didn’t know what to think. I was amazed. It’s a great small city that reminds me a lot of Denver only smaller and a little like Tempe but only larger.

Non Music Related Event: The Redneck Olympics on the Mogollon Rim. Buy me a beer sometime and I’ll tell you the stories. (Maybe.)

Favorite Restaurant: This category had to be broken into two – lunch and dinner.

Lunch: Green New American Vegetarian in Tempe – Awesome food, great prices, fantastic value. (Four Peak Brewery in Tempe is a very close second.)

Dinner: Mucho Gusto Mexican Bistro in Tempe – Our favorite place and some of the best Mexican in the Valley.

Favorite Bar: TT Roadhouse (68th St. & Thomas) Cold drinks reasonably priced and the best jukebox in Phoenix hands down. Some of the patrons may look a little rough around the edges but everyone there is good people. Grab a drink, drop some coins in the jukebox and settle in for a heated game of darts. (Note: TT stands for Tortoise Trophy – a motorcycle race in England.)

Best TV Show: I don’t watch much TV at all. My choice has been off the air for a while but it was something I found in 2009 and since this is my list here it is: The Wire. If you’ve never watched the wire. Get all six seasons on Netflix, lock yourself in a room and watch them all. Awesome.

Favorite Book: Tribes by Seth Godin. Stop fearing criticism and start leading.

Favorite Song: Again it’s my list so I’m going to pick a song I really liked in 2009 that is actually from 1997. Triburay Otis – Otis is track one from The Refreshments (now Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers) second album Bottle and Fresh Horses. Sometime older is a little better than the new and Otis always sounds great live.

So there it is – my list of 2009 stuff. I know there will be people who disagree with me and think I’m wrong. Let me know how wrong I am via comment but remember – this is my list…





RCPM : Marquee Theater / Tempe, AZ

6 11 2009

What a great weekend of music. Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers delivered rock and roll to a hometown crowd like never seen before.

10/30/09 “When in Rome” Highlights: The band played in full Roman gear and/or togas all night. I don’t know how they managed to do so. The crowd, many also dressed in togas loved every minute of the 2 hour upbeat rocking set. The highlights for me were: “City Girls”, “Louie Louie” and “West Texas Moon” – great set selection. The energy is The Marquee was amazing as everyone was ready to have RCPM play full shows back in Tempe.
photos of “When in Rome”

10/31/09 “Disco Nights” Highlights: Roger and the guys were dressed as The Village People and played all night in costume. At one point Roger said, “I think I found the one thing more difficult to play in than a toga,” about remarking on his chief’s headdress. This set was full of all the stuff I love to hear that isn’t always played. I love Mekong and Nada – don’t get me wrong, but this night was full of old favorites. “European Swallow” to open, “Interstate”, “Buffalo”, “Tributary Otis” and “Persephone”. Just a great night.
photos of “Disco Night”

After one long night of RCPM security started to regulate alcohol consumption and weren’t as laid back and chill on night two. That aside – it was a great two nights.

I want to thank Keara Zito from RCPM Management for photo credentials and allowing me access – I appreciate it.

If you’ve never seen RCPM – go check them out. You’ll probably knock down a few beers and a shot or two
of tequilla, forgot all your troubles for two-hours and leave saying “Here’s To Life!”

Link to my live music photos

NOTE: I saw Lucero and Jack Oblivian last night 11/5/09 and will post photos and a review. Tonight I see Rusted Root and that will follow.





Ear Candy – Music Is The Weapon of the Future

2 11 2009

There are really good things happening here in AZ. I wrote earlier about MADCAP Theaters and how they are revitalizing Tempe with the arts. Here is another: Ear Candy.

I had a chance to meet Erin Friday night and we spoke a lot about what they do and how people can get involved. Go to their website for all the details – but I’ll paraphrase:

Ear Candy collects and distrubutes musical instruments to schools for in-school education and works with programs such as The Boy’s and Girl’s clubs on after-school programming.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up with a father that played guitar and a mother who loved music. I associate various events and memories of my life with certain songs and artists. At a young age I decided to play guitar and had encouragement throughout my life.

Ear Candy also has an emerging artists series which supports up and coming musicians and gives them a place to showcase their skills.

Do you have a guitar(or any instrument) laying around that is not played? This is the way to give it a new home and give the gift of music.

If you see Ear Candy at an event (and you will) I encourage you to stop by say hello and see how you can help. (Link to Electronic Press Release Video) – Enough said…





RCPM Back Home For Halloween in Tempe

21 10 2009

From the RCPM website (www.azpeacemakers.com)
[The biggest rock-n-roll fiesta in Arizona this Halloween will be at the Marquee Theatre.Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers return for two highly anticipated performances Oct. 30 and Oct. 31! To help everyone get into the Halloween spirit, each night there will be a different theme.Friday – “When in Rome” Toga Party. Saturday ? 70’s Night.A $500 Marquee gift certificate will be handed out to the best]

I am excited for these shows for many reasons. Besides the shows (which will rock) being home – I am moving back to my adopted hometown of Tempe, AZ that week. After moving out of Tempe – just South to Chandler, a couple of years ago – I’ve been planning my move back. Chandler is good, just not for me and Tempe is home.

RCPM playing once again (almost) on Mill Ave. in Tempe at one of those cruxes in my life. Coincidental – maybe, but probably not.

So on 10/30 & 10/31 – friends will be toasting one another, singing and laughing. “Here’s to Life!” (Photos and show reviews to come.)