Quick Tips / 1 Low Light Band Photography

Hello and welcome to the first of a huge series of 80eight hints and tips! Now, I can’t promise they are all going to be about photography – some might be about cool things I’ve learnt to do with Final Cut Pro, Motion or indeed how to get the perfect hand-baked loaf of bread. Some may solve the biggest problems in your life, but crucially, as I personally have no idea what’s happening on your side of the screen, I can’t pre-judge what is going to be useful Therefore, the mix of usefulness is both going to be broad, shallow and eclectic at the same time. Think of it as an alchemists melting pot whereby through some mysterious means, there could be a trace of gold at the end of it. Anyway, enough adjective heavy verboseness for now.

Low Light Band Photography : Here’s what to do.
1. If possible, setup up a custom setting on your camera and then apply these settings :

2. Spot metering and Motor Drive on

3. Tv / Shutter Priority Mode, set to 1/160 or 1/100 if you’re feeling confident.

4. ISO 3200 or 6400 if really dark or your min aperture > f2.8

5. Servo/full time focussing

6. Centre spot focus only

7. If really dark go to 6400 ISO, or better, set exposure compensation to -1/3 ev.

8. Shoot RAW

9. Switch to the custom setting whenever you need it so you won’t be fiddling around at the gig.

This will allow your camera to choose the appropriate aperture (probably the smallest) while ensuring your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze most movement on the stage. Servo focusing will allow you to lock on to some lead singer thrashing about like a dervish, while the high ISO should allow you to get a decent exposure. I’m not that bothered with depth of field at gigs, if it goes shallow fine, if it goes deep, great. When you’re crawling around the pit in some fetid, steamy venue, the last think you want to be doing is thinking about apertures. Let the camera do it’s best to get you a blur free, decent exposure while concentrate on what’s important – getting into the right position, avoiding the mic-in-face vocalist shot and avoiding spit and spilled pints. Easy! Finally use a decent RAW processor and don’t be scared of the Noise Reduction. RAW will also allow you much more latitude in terms of pushing the exposure. Finally, buy a Canon!! Ha ha! Please no flaming! It was just a joke!



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