Concert photography offers plenty of surprises for the avid photographer. Firstly, the lighting is challenging since it is not static and you have no control when it will change or how fast it will change. Secondly, the artistes and musicians aren’t predictable. When and where they decide to move around on the stage is something you have to constantly look out for so you can find a great angle to shoot them from. Sounds like a Mission Impossible? Not if you are a music person.
Next, flash photography is not an option. So you have no choice but to boost the ISO in order to shoot at high speed for fast action. A good camera and fast lens will help a lot.
Although this is not my first concert photography assignment as I have already shot bands like Def Leppard, Metallica and Muse, I did not assume a jazz gig was any easier. I armed myself with two camera bodies – Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 70D – that I know would not fail me under crazy colour balance and low light conditions.
I used an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens for close up shots to capture the artiste’s expression and a super wide EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens for the ambience from the lights and the stage. No other gear. Then waited for the magic moments to happen.
To shoot blind is a necessity in concert photography. So you have to master your camera and be very familiar with all the buttons without looking at them. Most of the time, you can’t take your eyes off the viewfinder, as you have no control of any parameter in the picture since you can’t direct the subject at hand. You need to always be fully alert because once you miss a moment, you miss the moment.
As usual, both cameras served me well and make me like a boss. The beauty of Canon EOS 5D Mark III gives me freedom on the high ISO. While the 70D ‘brings me closer’ to the artists on stage. Both cameras are equipped with super fast auto focus system, which means I will never miss my shots in any lighting condition.
I am thankful to have been involved in such a great music event with a fun crowd in a convivial atmosphere. There were moments when I could put down my camera to simply enjoy the music and move with the crowd. And that is the most important aspect of music photography: you have to enjoy it!
As published on Canon EOS World Website
All text and photos by Wisnu Haryo Yudhanto, Singapore Concert Photographer.
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