Taking pictures of musicians is definitely harder than it seems. Two main obstacles, low lighting and their movements are at times unpredictable. Oh, and then the third obstacle, restricted positioning for taking the artist.
What are some of the things that I do for the first two obstacles? Going back to the three things that make up a good exposure or a good picture. Shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. Due to the musicians movements, I wanted to keep the shutter speed high. This will freeze the motion because the camera is opening up for a split second. But due to the high speed, not a lot of light comes in. So, next I boosted the ISO. The “sensitivity” of the sensor. By doing this, there is a chance to introduce noise. When the camera can’t “see” certain parts of the location due to low lighting, it kind of makes up something. This is where high quality camera bodies come into play. They are able to deal with noise in a more graceful way then certain intro bodies. And finally we come to aperture, or the opening of the lens. In order to get the most light for the picture, we want the opening of the lens to be the biggest. So, I adjusted the aperture number as low as it can go.
Now, for the third obstacle. The restricted positioning sometimes prevents you as a shooter from getting a clean shot. The microphone might be in the way or there may be a vent or a light fixture behind the singer in which you can’t re-position to get rid of it. One of the tools you can use is the aperture. Decrease the aperture number in order to get a better bokeh(blurring the background) affect. Though there are distractions, try to blur them so they don’t stand out.
And finally, when at a concert, pay attention to the musicians and artists. Guess if they are going to get louder or softer or if there’s a high energy part coming, or what their behaviors are. It’s impossible to keep the camera to your eye the whole time, so anticipate. It might not hurt to listen to what’s happening to prepare yourself to what’s coming up next.
How do you anticipate where you’ll be in five years, or in ten years? I have trouble imagining where I’ll be eating lunch tomorrow afternoon, let alone try to figure out where I’d like to see myself in the future. But if I go along the theme that we can apply photography concepts to real life, we should be able to anticipate the next shot. Or where we will be in the future. To anticipate the next shot, or the next action the singer/musician will do, we try to find a pattern in the past. We listen to patterns in the singer/musician. After a few songs, we can guess when they will get loud, or how they will close their eyes on the last chorus of the song, or how they stomp their right foot when they start strumming the guitar louder. What are the clues in life that help us anticipate for the future? Looking into the past. I don’t mean just look at the past and learn from them, because life is good at throwing us a curve ball all too often. When I man look at the past, look at your blessings. Look at how you were able to stand back up after falling. Look at you were able to overcome that seemingly impossible situation. Look at Who has stood by you all the time and has never let you go. Life is uncertain, there is no denying it. Life never gives you a break, when all you want is smooth sailing. You are not guaranteed your five year plan, let alone your next breath. But when looking up to a God who is unshakable. When looking to a God is invincible. When looking to a God who brought you out of that dark time in your life. When looking to a God who gave you hope when it seemed like darkness all around. When looking to a God who gave it all for you…why won’t He help you now? Why won’t He give you peace now? Why won’t He move heaven and earth just to be with you? He may not solve the problem you are facing the way you want it, but know this: He is there.
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both
alike to thee.