I’ve recently been building the new website for Manning and it has given me a little bit of an insight into what constitutes a BAD band photograph and a GOOD band photograph. I give you the example at right – I won’t name the band (unless you email me and REALLLYYYY PLEAD) but the example in question shows a few faults:
- The lighting is awful – it looks like it was photographed with the house lights on!
- Why do the band NOT actually fit together at all? – we have clubland singer, with mekkal guitarist.
- The backdrop is awful – again the stage generally looks like a working mens club.
- It’s too wide! – not a problem if you’re getting a photo of 2000 audience members, but where’s the audience here?
We were offered this gig as Deadline and we declined it. I am so glad we did!
Now my second example is how you SHOULD take a gig photo. This was taken in a similar sized venue, but has the advantages of both experience and equipment. Believe it or not this venue had less than 30 people in and the front stage presence was non existant… so why does this still look great?
- Get in close if you haven’t got a crowd in front of the stage. There is nothing nice about a back of house shot showing an empty venue.
- Lighting – even the restricted front only lighting in here was emphasised by avoiding flash and using timing and aperture.
- Bokeh – open up your aperture as wide as possible. Your depth of field will suffer, but you can use this to your advantage – the items on the top left hand side are out of focus and it draws your eye to the artiste.
- Your camera should be fast – 800 or 1600 at least! – this means you can keep your exposures fairly fast, although the cost of this will be noise on the images.
I hope this guide has helped you. I don’t profess to be an expert, in fact I’m hardly even a novice but I will share what I learn.