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Old Sep 1, 2011, 11:29 AM   #11
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Here are my thoughts:
shot 1: nice exposure & WB & sharpness on your wife. As mentioned, the angle doesn't work. Also, her body position is rather stiff so it's not that flattering. A tighter crop may have been better - and off to the side. Additionally, with the shallow DOF I just don't think all the space on the side with the keyboardist helps the photo. He's not in decent focus so why give him so much real estate in the shot?

Something like this:

Shots 2 & 3 - see shot 1 comments. Her body position just isn't too comfortable, so get in closer. And, you want a shot that conveys something. You're selling something. So forget it's the love of your life - if it were a stranger, does the shot have a positive impact on her or the band? I just don't think so. I think again you've got some technical things down - focus, WB, etc.

shot 4: I like the framing of this shot and you're in tight. Again, good sharpness and WB. But the look on his face is a negative. Looks like he's concentrating too much on the music sheet. If you can, you want a shot where he's showing he's "feeling" the music, not reading it. So, great concept but you have to wait for a good time to take the shot.
Now, it's worth mentioning - these photos have potential for training tools too. Live performances are just that - performances. If your wife is too stiff, that's going to affect the perception of her by the audience. If the band members are robotically reading the music and not 'feeling' the music - that's going to affect the performance too.

shot 5: Not much good here. Focus isn't sharp. Lots of uninteresting elements - the band member in the back left does not look happy. The guitar player on the right looks good but not in focus and then lots of uninteresting background elements. The reality is - this isn't a rock band with a stadium stage - where you have great outdoor lighting, can get good DOF and have interesting background elements. So you have to keep in tight. If they've got any type of stage presence there will be some interaction between them - get those shots in order to get more than one member in the frame.

shot 6: again, nothing to recommend this shot. Unlike the first few shots where there were good technical elements, there's not much going on here worth repeating. backs of peoples' heads, floating-head band members (bodies obscured by audience members) etc.

It's always more difficult when you know the people. But, you have to take off your husband/friend or even fan hat and put on your photographer hat. What story are you trying to tell? Can you even tell it? In a venue like that I would use close framed shots and try to capture each member in a flattering moment. That's tough to do with amateur musicians. But some are better than others. Shot 1 is a nicer facial expression than the other 2 of your wife. Shot from the side more and tighter it would be a very flattering shot.
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Old Sep 2, 2011, 11:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by tclune View Post
you should be able to use flash. Stop down your lens to get a decent depth of field when you are trying to shoot more than one band member, and use flash to get the illumination you need.
I completely disagree. When there is stage lighting you lose all sense of mood with flash. I would rarely to never use flash for a concert if I'm really trying to capture the mood and feel of a performance. In fact I would say "Don't use flash" should be among the first rules of concert photography.

For example - this shot would have been absolutely ruined by any flash usage:

All of the best concert shots I've seen have been flashless. Occasionally I've seen it used in a specific stylistic way that is kind of cool but in general avoid flash for any concert with any kind of decent stage lighting.

To me it looks like flash was used on #4. Pretty harsh, flat light; upward angled shadow in the background and the specular highlight that looks like it is coming from the same plane as the camera.


Last edited by DigMe; Sep 2, 2011 at 11:40 AM.
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Old Sep 3, 2011, 2:00 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by FaithfulPastor View Post
And they want to know what the photos look so strange.
Reminds me of seeing bands that looked tired when they got on stage at a small club and things drifted downward from there.

Do they have photos of the band taken by others that they like? If they compare those with yours and can put the difference into words that could help if you shoot them again.

Talked to a photographer once during the band's break at a small blues club. She was from a local music paper and was shooting with the band's permission. She said she was there when they set up to check out POVs and what F stop to use to include/exclude band members in the fore and background of shots. After the first couple of songs the singer announced they're would be a photog on stage for a few numbers. She worked fast, hit her spots, got her shots and moved to the next spot. Oh, and she also got the set list from the band so she could ask to shoot the ones she knew so as to be in position ahead of time to shoot the solos and photogenic high points.
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