Project 1

Are your cam­era skills up to the unique chal­lenge of a live mu­sic event? James Paterson puts his Canon DSLR and lens tech­niques to the test

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Chal­lenge your cam­era skills and shoot a live mu­sic event

When we think of mu­sic pho­tog­ra­phy it usu­ally con­jures up im­ages of fa­mous faces strut­ting their stuff in front of thou­sands. But if you’re just get­ting started with gig pho­tog­ra­phy it’s likely you’ll find your­self shoot­ing in smaller venues like pubs, bars, and clubs. While there’s less scope for those epic sta­dium shots we all as­pire to, this is more than made up for by the in­ti­macy, close­ness and ac­cess. Cramped con­di­tions, less than per­fect light­ing, and clut­tered back­drops all present a chal­lenge, but with a few sim­ple shoot­ing skills and a cre­ative ap­proach to com­po­si­tion you can get fan­tas­tic shots in the small­est venue. In this project we’ll ex­plain how, with ad­vice on the right kit, cam­era set­tings, and tech­nique.

The ad­van­tage of smaller venues is that ac­cess will usu­ally be more re­laxed, so you can of­ten get by with a few friendly words to the pro­pri­etor or band mem­bers, and per­haps an of­fer of prints or JPEGS. Of course, you might have been asked by a friend or fam­ily mem­ber to shoot their per­for­mance, which makes things easier. I was asked by the bassist here to shoot some stills and video of his band – the aptly named Humdinger. A gig like this can be the per­fect storm of low-light con­di­tions, fast-paced ac­tion and tricky fram­ing. It can be a chal­lenge, but it’s also great fun – not only do you get to see tal­ented per­form­ers up close and per­sonal, you also have the op­por­tu­nity to cap­ture lively ac­tion while putting your cam­era skills to the test.

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