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
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.