Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   Tips & Tricks (
-   -   Need Tips for Taking Shots of Live Music Shows (

cristovao12 May 11, 2007 12:58 PM

I just bought my first dSLR (Olympus E500) and am going to take some pictures of a live show tonight. I actually write music reviews and have often taken picks with my Fuji FinePix a345. Unfortunately, flash pics don't turn out that great and I usually resort to not using the flash which in turn leads to a slower shutter speed. The results are usually motion blurred images with vibrant colours from the spotlights. Here's one of my favourites:

Now, with the new E500, I wouldn't mind recreating similar type shots but I know that I can capture better shots. I did a trial run at an open mic last night but I found that I'd either need to use the flash or else the image would be blurred and not in a creative way (plus, the lighting wasn't as colourful).

Anyone have any tips on how I can get some excellent photos with the new camera? Thanks!

Mark1616 May 11, 2007 5:04 PM

What lens/lenses do you have as this will help/hinder what you can get.

You are going to have to use the highest ISO that is available which on the E500 I think is 1600 and will unfortunately be quite noisy but with the right noise reduction software you will have something usable. Shoot in aperture priority or manual if you have reasonably consistent lighting and get the aperture as wide as possible.

Even so you are still likely to have quite a slow shutter speed so ensure you are keeping the camera as steady as possible and then use continuous shot so you have a chance of getting one with reduced motion blur.

Here are some low light samples at concerts.

Norm in Fujino May 11, 2007 5:42 PM

Two things:
1. If the lighting is variably colored like that shown in your photograph, you probably won't be able to get "natural" looking shots due the wonky color balance. If shooting only white spots, you should take a custom white balance setting (using a white card, whibal, etc.) before the show starts if at all possible.
2. As was mentioned, you'll have to use high ISOs, depending on the lighting level, between 400 and 1600, particularly if you're using the kit lenses. The kit lenses are very good, but not very fast, so that limits the shutter speed.

My own practice (with E-1 and E-300) is this:
1. Take custom white balance before start.
2. Mount E-1 with 50-200mm lens, ISO 1600.
3. Mount E-300 with 50mm f2 macro @ ISO 400.
4. Set both cameras for shutter priority, usually around 1/100 for the E-1, 1/60 for the E-300.
5. Shoot using SHQ jpeg.
6. Run all photos through Noiseware or Neat Image before beginning other PP.

Good luck (YMMV).

Mark1616 May 11, 2007 5:49 PM

Norm in Fujino wrote:

4. Set both cameras for shutter priority, usually around 1/100 for the E-1, 1/60 for

If you are going to use shutter priority then I would ensure you confirm that you can get a proper exposure with the desired speed, the reason I suggested aperture priority is that you won't have the possibility of under exposure and you guarantee the fastest possible shutter speed. Using Tv means that you might be missing out on a faster shutter speed meaning you are more likely to get blur free shots.

I'm not saying don't use Tv but just to be aware of potential limitations of this mode, also Av does have limitations but I would say shooting on stage action you generally want the narrowest depth of field and a high shutter speed so for me Av wins in this environment.

cristovao12 May 14, 2007 3:36 PM

Thanks for the tips guys. Sadly, I didn't get a chance to check the forum until after the show.

I have the two kit lenses with the E500 (the 14-54 & 40-150mm) and since I'd only had the camera for less than a week, I just played around with all the different pre-sets to see what I can manage. Although I realize they're not great, some did turn out. Here are a couple:

As you can probably tell, I did crop them a bit but that's a couple of the best shots (these are also compressed from the original full sized format). I know I have a lot of work to do when it comes to taking photos of dark bar events like this but hopefully I'll get there someday. Any critiques would be appreciated.

Mark1616 May 18, 2007 4:43 AM

you should be pleased with yourself as these have come out well. One thing that I like when shooting drummers is getting the sticks when in motion rather than at the peak of the movement as it adds an extra dynamic.

Looking forward to seeing more.

reppans Jul 13, 2007 11:07 PM

Mark1616 wrote:

...the reason I suggested aperture priority is that you won't have the possibility of under exposure and you guarantee the fastest possible shutter speed.
Agree with aperture priorty and use of camera's auto exposure to select the fast possible speed given a fixed widest aperture. Otherwise, my tips for concerts are here:

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 7:19 PM.