Tuesday, 07 July 2009
Red lights are a gig photographers worst enemy, they make photos look awful plus more than often end up in loss of detail & an image which really cannot be saved....
Tuesday, 07 July 2009 16:26:22 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
 Friday, 29 February 2008

After being asked a few times & recently receiving the question below, I thought I might try and clear a few things out when it comes to taking photos at events.

'how do you go about bringing your camera in to the mosh pit though?? xx lis'

First up, something is wrong with my comments, they aren't showing any email addresses which are filled out, only websites...so I am sorry that I can't respond to you directly, hopefully you come back and stumble across this post.

The gig photography business is not something you can overnight decide to do, unfortunately for large scale events/festivals you need accreditation from the artist, their management, the promoter & sometimes the venue. In order to achieve this you need to be representing a legitimate media organisation - being either a magazine, newspaper, webzine or agency.

Before you make it to this level you obviously will require a decent camera, no one wants to look at fuzzy/blurry images that can be achieved on a mobile phone - the best entry level DSLR setup you can buy in my opinion is the Canon 350D (RebelXT for you overseas viewers) with the Canon 50mm f1.8 MKII lens. Though now days you might have to purchase the upgraded model which is the Canon 400D as the 350D is pretty much fazed out.

This is the setup I used when starting out, one which can achieve amazing results when in the right environment. If you look at my portfolio, at least 50-60% of the shots you look at is with this setup.

The 50mm f1.8 is a sharp and fast lens that can be used in any situation - from your large scale arenas down to the low light pub setup down at your local venue. It's a lens which is kept as back-up by many professionals should the lighting ever be a problem & it comes with a great price tag of only $100-$115 in the shops. 

OK, so you have your camera setup now, how do you go about shooting bands?

Myspace can be a powerful tool - I've arranged many club shoots by just contacting the band directly, of course you cannot start charging $$$ right away - without a solid portfolio you won't receive any positive answers...starting off you will be doing a lot of favours - look in your local street press/venue website for upcoming shows & offer your services to the bands in exchange for free entry.

Try shoot as much as possible to become familiar & comfortable with camera settings in various situations/environments - don't forget to switch up your angles to avoid shots looking the same, move around the stage every few minutes.

Some ideal club venues in Sydney to learn in: The Annandale Hotel, Gaelic Club, The Factory & Manning Bar

Once you are comfortable and taking great shots on a regular basis, join a webzine/street press i.e. FasterLouder & The Dwarf - these frequently cover club shows but also some of the large scale events. They ask for photographers to cover shows every week, so put your hand up for club shows & meet their deadlines for a number of shows before requesting to shoot one of the big name shows.

This is where you really test yourself - you have to contend with a number of other photographers in the pit trying to capture the ideal moments, so there can be a bit of tension when getting a good spot in front of stage - be sure to move around to allow the others to snap away, you don't want to get a bad name for yourself amongst the scene if you become a regular - now instead of being able to shoot the entire set, you are given restrictions which are preset by the artist & their management...this can range from the first 30 seconds of a song at the sound desk to the industry standards of 3 songs infront of stage - remember no flash is allowed to be used in any case within the large shows, BUT you should be used to average conditions now from shooting in the clubs

If you produce some great shots regularly & impress the right people, more shows will come.

After a few years & now hopefully with a decent portfolio you can start to look at shooting for a publication or photo agency to try and make back some of the cash you would definitely have spent on drinks/transport for the countless number of shows you have now covered.

Once you can afford an upgrade, do so - decent semi-pro/professional body such as the Canon 40D or 5D

Lens Range: Canon L Glass is the way to go - Canon 24-70mm f2.8 + Canon 70-200mm f2.8 seems to be the most used setup - however if you take a look at Triple J photographer Matt Booy, you can see prime lenses (such as the 50mm) can easily do the job (though you might get annoyed from interchanging lenses) Canon 20mm, 85mm & either the 135mm or 200mm will be enough for all situations

Anyway I'm sposed to be working in the office right now, so hopefully I've answered a few of your questions & pointed at least one person in the right way.

Any questions don't hesitate to email me - dan@dbedford.com

Dan

Friday, 29 February 2008 06:09:20 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)