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Archive 2013 · Available light Club Photography
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Available light Club Photography

First try at photographing a band playing at a club. Everything I had read advised to use a wide angle lens and off camera flash, but the images are not of club patrons and I don't feel comfortable popping a flash into the faces of the band members while they're performing, so I shot available light. All shot with Canon 1D4 and 70-200/2.8L Mark II, handheld, ISO 8000. Also added some effects, as the band is interested in producing some advertising fliers and possibly a CD cover.

Comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Available light band images

Feb 11, 2013 at 02:16 AM

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Available light Club Photography

Hi Harry,

I don't want to come off mean or harsh, but these are my thoughts after viewing the pictures. I feel like these shots aren't very flattering on the subjects: the longer focal length perspective is isolating the subjects and by shooting front-on you're not conveying a sense of energy or performance. The multi-coloured lighting is playing havoc both with white balancing and causing posterising, especially in the reds. I'd suggest perhaps black and white edits would save some of these pictures for this reason. Also, the high ISO is causing severe noise and chromatic abberation that cheapens the picture quality. In my opinion a lot of the effects are also cheap looking and don't improve the pictures.

My advice would be to use a shorter, fast prime in order to be able to get the wider perspective and shoot at a high shutter speed without having to crank the ISO. I'd also recommend experimenting with standing to the sides of the stage to get pictures across the performers, rather than all being front-on. Some close-ups of the musicians' instruments in action always goes down well too.

Feb 11, 2013 at 04:22 AM

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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Available light Club Photography

I clicked through to your link to view the photos. It is pretty clear that you are comfy playing with the dials in photoshop and are adept at getting different looks from your shots. I would offer the following constructive comments.

Photos in general look a little static and could evoke more "attitude" from the band members. MK4_13-02-08_7243, MK4_13-02-08_7263 and MK4_13-02-08_7265 are notable exceptions.

I would suggest some things to try to put variety and action in you photos:
1) Move around the stage. Shooting a singer standing behind the mike from straight on hides the mouth and takes away a lot of the emotion. Get to the side. Get up close. Get below. etc...

2) Shoot different ISOs and shutter speeds. If you shoot at a lower ISO and a longer shutter speeds can give a sense of movement from an otherwise static performance. Think sweeping arm movement of guitarist captured as a blur!

3) Use lots of frames/sec. I watched the video, there was more motion and emotion in the performance than I see from the photos posted. If you use a high frame rate and a bunch of digital media you will capture moments that would otherwise be missed.

4) Monopod?

Hope this helps...if not toss it out!


Feb 11, 2013 at 04:33 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Available light Club Photography

Good suggestions, all. This job was quite a bit different from the kinds of photography I've been doing, so it's a learning curve. Thanks.

Feb 11, 2013 at 05:07 AM

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