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| p.2 #5 · Need help photographing first concert - Lindsey Stirling |
Your D800 will be more than adequate to capture a concert. I started shooting music festivals with a rebel XT and moved up to a 5D2 a while back with mildly better AF and it helped but wasn't necessary. Your D800 has a signifcantly better AF than either of those cameras. The beautiful part of concert photography is that the goal is to capture a moment on stage and pray that most of it is in focus and exposed decently so you can fix it in post. Figure out before hand if Lindsey is right or left handed because it will determine which side of the stage you want to approach the photo from (as the violin might get in the way if she is left handed and you are stage left). It can be tough but try to get photos from a vantage point where it doesn't look like she is eating the microphone while hitting a big note or singing. The trick in my experience is to get their facial expression when the artist just nailed a great solo, long note, or some craziness on stage.
Another great opportunity is to focus on the crowd when the performer comes out on stage. You sacrifice the immediate smile of the performer but that is THE 5 seconds to get an excellent crowd photo (they have just been sitting there waiting for 30-60 minutes and their favorite artist just came on - this many people will not be excited all at once again throughout the show). Snap a few quick photos of that and THEN get the performer smiling.
Your metering system is going to go nuts. I have been playing around with different settings to try and figure out a better way to approach concerts but to date I haven't found one better than sticking the camera into aperture priority and boosting or decreasing exposure as I find necessary after browsing through photos of the first song (remember - you usually only get 3 songs or 15 minutes - its quick work and adjusting on the fly. If it is screwed up, fix it in post and don't lose precious time screwing around with camera settings). You will not have white balanced photos. Just give up on that now and accept the creativity forced upon you by the gods of colored lighting. You will want to boost the ISO to 1600 before she comes out on stage, see if you can achieve 1/200 or 1/250 shutter speeds in these ideal conditions. If not, boost it up to 3200, 6400, 12800 - whatever is necessary to keep the shutter speed fast enough to stop your subject from motion blurring. Blurry subjects make a photo unacceptable. High ISO just makes it grainy.
Depending on the stage situation you will either shoot the entire concert with a 70-200 because they are up and further away or you'll want a 24-70 for the whole show because the stage is claustrophobic and small. I haven't really found a stage in-between those two. Definitely bring the 35mm and 70-200 out of the choice you gave above. If you have an extra camera body, stick one of the lenses on that and then you wont have to worry about wasting time switching lenses (huge plus). Personally, my workhorse lens for concerts is a 70-200 because I generally like the tighter frame. Additional plus is that with a tighter frame, you avoid even more lens flare from the plentiful stage lighting.
I love concert photography because of its fast pase and the complete lack of control one has over the lighting situation. You are thrown into this and have to quickly adapt to whatever you get. On top of this, there is a massive adrenaline boost from the crowd and performer which all just compiles into this wonderfully addicting experience. I have found that they key is just being adaptable and not getting hung up on imperfections such as high ISO or flare from the lights and embrace them as giving your photos character! I still remember my photographing my first concert and am jealous that you get to experience the same rush .
Here are some of my concert photos that aren't locked up under agreements I had to sign to take photos:
PM me if you want to see the rest of the lot and I can send you a link.