Music for Hope – My First Concert Shoot!

Posted On: November 29, 2008
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I think it must have been either the excitement or the stress factor that caused me to stay awake at 3am on a Saturday morning, tossing and turning in bed. After some time, I decided to give up and do some web surfing. I checked out a couple of web sites and blogs that explained the difficulties of shooting for concerts, one of which was Boudist’s tutorial on Concert Photography Masterclass. However, no amount of preparation was enough, when No Eye Candy‘s gig for Music for Hope was due in less than 18 hours! OMG!! I just had to go out there and do it!

I was not even sure if I could make it, if the Army had recalled and mobilized my unit for the afternoon. Luckily, as the clocked ticked past 3pm, I knew it was not going to happen. Thus, I was at Heeren with my Warden just about 25 minutes prior to No Eye Candy’s scheduled slot at 7pm, and fortunately for me, the organizers seemed to be slightly behind schedule.

After greeting the band members and supporters of the band, I went about my business taking test shots, checking the lighting, the ISO settings required, the shutter speed required and the angles possible that I could take. It wasn’t pretty man… I could not set the ISO too low, and I needed a shutter speed of at least 1/250. Good thing my lens afforded me a wide-aperture of f/2.8 that allows more light to enter the camera. Unfortunately, I found that the focal length of my lens is a little short if I wanted to zoom in tight on the performers’ faces. Luckily for me though, this was not one of those concerts that do not allow flash guns to be used, and the crowd was so polite (or shy) they all stayed far away from the stage. I could make my way to the bottom of the stage and take pictures, but I tried to stay away from the center, because other supporters were busy taking in videos or photos as well.

I could not have comprehended how stressful my first concert shoot was going to be, until now. First, I had to make sure that I covered all the band members, as well as the band as a whole. And I had to look for interesting view points from different angles – high, low, left, right and center. Coupled with the technicalities of camera settings, and lighting considerations, the task was becoming overwhelming. One of the major problems I had was with the auto focus of my camera. Somehow, I had trouble getting it to focus on the right place. Many times, I had thought that the picture was good, but when I zoomed in from the LCD for a look, the AF had focussed on *GASP* the mic instead of the face! The task was perhaps made even tougher when you’re trying to take pictures of a rock band. They just don’t stay still!

After about 30 minutes of madness, in which the sense of panic was constantly rising, I had made it through my first concert shoot. And congratulations to No Eye Candy on their first public performance! It was an extremely valuable experience for me. Thanks to Wilfrid’s contagious and infectious enthusiasm, I was able to do this.

Visit No Eye Candy’s site for more information about them.

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