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Dave Noisy
Minister of Chaos

Canada
4496 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2003 :  09:50:22  Show Profile  Visit Dave Noisy's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hey everyone, after seeing some *excellent* shots, i'd like to start a topic on taking good shots..

I've got a digital camera (Olympus C700) and i can control all the settings, what is a good way to go to get great pics in your typical dark show setting?

Any tips to editing the shots afterwards in Photoshop as well?

Cult_Of_Frank
= Black Noise Maker =

Canada
11606 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2003 :  11:45:39  Show Profile  Visit Cult_Of_Frank's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Since you're probably NOT going to have a tripod, you'll want to be careful with changing shutter speeds. A slightly slower shutter will give you more light but it also can get blurry if you're moving. On lots of mid-range cameras, turning the flash off will help too since they generally automatically adjust the shutter length a little longer.

As for editing in Photoshop, the easiest thing to do is Adjust Levels. There are three sliders, Black level, Gray level, and White level, from left to right respectively. The histogram shows the density from black to white. If there is none over an area, that means it doesn't have any colour in that range. On dark pictures, most of the information tends to be on the low end. You can easily adjust the white level down to where the information begins (or the histogram ends). That's an easy one. You can also play with the gray level a little (but not TOO much or it'll just look fuzzy) to tweak.

That's all I know... it would be nice to hear from people a little more involved in photography or digital imagery, though.. good idea for a topic.


"Join the Cult of Frank / And you'll be enlightened"
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Etienne
- FB Fan -

Japan
115 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  04:24:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi there

I don't know if I am a great photographer or not but my pics of FB shows are pretty acceptable (see Mun Chien Andalusia's website).

One thing I noticed : always switch the flash on... I mean even if you think your flash won't help because of the distance from you to the stage : this will let your camera "think" that a short opening time is enough and as a result the pics will not be blurry (=since the guys on stage tend to move a lot).

Just a tiny little tip from an amateur...

Etienne
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Etienne
- FB Fan -

Japan
115 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  04:27:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oops, I just noticed my tip was the opposite of yours, Cult_of_Ray. Consider it the French way to take picture...

Etienne

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Cult_Of_Frank
= Black Noise Maker =

Canada
11606 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  06:59:32  Show Profile  Visit Cult_Of_Frank's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nah, not the opposite, really. You do have to have a fast shutter speed (which is associated with flash), but for more advanced cameras you don't really need the flash (even if you're close, 'cause you'll miss out on some effects from the coloured lighting), and you can reduce the shutter speed a little but, like you said, too slow means blurry.

I suppose the big question is where are you taking the pics from. Far back? Close? If the stage is fairly bright, then you probably don't want to play with your shutter speed (unless you want the crowd lit a bit better). If it's or a dark moment, then it's another story.


"Join the Cult of Frank / And you'll be enlightened"
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Dave Noisy
Minister of Chaos

Canada
4496 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  10:18:08  Show Profile  Visit Dave Noisy's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That's the thing with the flash..you lose all the cool stage coloring and you end up with sickly pastey white musicians...hehe

I find i get better results if i'm closer to the stage.. The big trick is the longer exposure and moving musicians.
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morgan
- FB Fan -

USA
51 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2003 :  11:46:09  Show Profile  Visit morgan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've taken some pictures at shows before. I tend to agree with having the flash off. My Olympus is a pretty low-end point and shoot type of camera. I just wish there were a setting to let enough light in and keep the shutter from staying open so long. Here's what I've got from the past couple of shows that FB has done in Arizona... The first link was with a Canon Powershot S40 (which has been sold since then)...and the second link was done with my lower end Olympus C-230? Anyway... here ya go...
http://www.thecroutons.com/blackandwatt/
http://www.thecroutons.com/fb03/
-Morgan
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iMaReaLiveWire
- FB Fan -

Germany
5 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2004 :  07:30:29  Show Profile  Visit iMaReaLiveWire's Homepage  Reply with Quote
in my experiances with digital photography (which is hardly photography), you need a slow-sync flash if you want to catch a bit of motion in your photos. But this sometimes backfires, http://www.geocities.com/nathanvsgermany/frnkblck.html
but it can give you an intresting effect. for COMPLETELY STILL, almost Portrait-like photos, bring a tri-pod and ask the performer nicely to freeze and pose.

-Why am I Mr. Pink?
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mattb
= Cult of Ray =

Canada
474 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2004 :  05:52:35  Show Profile  Visit mattb's Homepage  Click to see mattb's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Does anyone have any experience taking concert photos with an SLR or any type of film camera? I too want to avoid using flash so I'm thinking if I use 800 or maybe even 1600 speed film then I should be ok even from far away. Does anyone have any experience with high speed film at shows and the results? I know the grain would be high but it would look better than using a flash.
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Trevor Stenson
- FB Fan -

Canada
4 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2004 :  08:25:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Years Ago (as a hack amateur kid) I used to "push process" black and white film at concerts when I was using a telephoto without a flash. For instance shoot 400 ASA at 800, or 800 at 1600 with a SLR. Just make sure you use a good photo lab and not a photomat and tell them what you did. I didn't find it overly grainy

For instance I took this shot of the CLASH in 1982. Which isn't spectacular unless you consider that I was what seemed like miles away on the balcony (the non-web version is higher res.).

http://www.punkhistorycanada.ca/gallery/show.php?photo=369

A better color example (SNFU):

http://www.punkhistorycanada.ca/gallery/show.php?photo=357



It's expected; I'm gone
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jbstevens
- FB Fan -

United Kingdom
102 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2004 :  09:45:25  Show Profile  Click to see jbstevens's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Trevor Stenson

Years Ago (as a hack amateur kid) I used to "push process" black and white film at concerts when I was using a telephoto without a flash. For instance shoot 400 ASA at 800, or 800 at 1600 with a SLR. Just make sure you use a good photo lab and not a photomat and tell them what you did. I didn't find it overly grainy

For instance I took this shot of the CLASH in 1982. Which isn't spectacular unless you consider that I was what seemed like miles away on the balcony (the non-web version is higher res.).

http://www.punkhistorycanada.ca/gallery/show.php?photo=369

A better color example (SNFU):

http://www.punkhistorycanada.ca/gallery/show.php?photo=357



It's expected; I'm gone



Push processing is a good way to make a film faster, but you could always buy a fast film in the first place. I think in general, an 800 film will always give you better results than a 400 film pushed to 800.

Also, pushing is for b&w print film, and colour slide film. I don't think it's recommended for colour print film (but I could be wrong). 800 speed film is pretty good these days, with not too much grain, and if you're using an SLR with a wide aperture lens, will probably be fine.

From that point of view, if you have a 'prime lens' (ie. not a zoom), it might be worth using that, as they usually have apertures like f1.8 or f2 as opposed to most standard zooms that only go as wide as f4.5 or f5.6.

Does anyone know how venues react if you turn up with an SLR? I want to get some pics at Brixton, but don't want to get it confiscated


"Yellow fifty-two / He's an undertaker bee"
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mattb
= Cult of Ray =

Canada
474 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2004 :  21:03:41  Show Profile  Visit mattb's Homepage  Click to see mattb's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Trevor, those pictures look awesome! I don't want to have to push the film though because I want to keep my costs down. But judging by your results I think I'll be safe enough with 1600 colour and 3200 black and white (why the hell doesn't colour go that high?).

I'm pretty sure you can push colour film. I don't see any reason why not. I unfortunately can't afford fixed lenses (yet) and am stuck with a 75-300 zoom that only goes down to 4.5 at 75mm from where I'll be sitting. It'll be even worse though becuase I'll probably be using 200 to 300 for most of the shots and that'll bring me up to 5.6. I totally believe that a large part of the reason that fixed lenses are so expensive is that the average consumer only buys zoom lenses which unfortunately have shitty aperature. I needed to buy a new 50mm lens a little while ago and had an incredibly hard itme finding one. I live in Toronto which is a pretty big city and most decent equipment stores didn't even have them in stock.

-----------------------
http://www.geocities.com/kittridge1/
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jbstevens
- FB Fan -

United Kingdom
102 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2004 :  02:53:32  Show Profile  Click to see jbstevens's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
It's annoying that they're so expensive, but it's sometimes worth a look on ebay - you have to be trusting re. the quality of the optics though.



"Yellow fifty-two / He's an undertaker bee"
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mattb
= Cult of Ray =

Canada
474 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2004 :  06:57:02  Show Profile  Visit mattb's Homepage  Click to see mattb's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Yeah, that's why I'm kind of weary of buying things of ebay. In terms of bringing an SLR I think it will cause a problem unless you can hide it. I'm kind of worried about the Winnipeg show because it says on the tickets no cameras. At the same time though my girlfriend used to work in a seated theatre and she said that the only time they approched people was if they were using a flash, and even then they would just make the person check the camera. I'm hoping to sneak it in pieces though. I'll carry the body and give a few people lenses so maybe they won't notice it.

-----------------------
http://www.geocities.com/kittridge1/
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mzajac
- FB Fan -

Canada
14 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2004 :  16:43:15  Show Profile  Visit mzajac's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Keep the camera STILL. This will help prevent camera shake at low shutter speeds.

The more you zoom in, the more important this is (conversely, you might be able to get very crisp wide-angle shots hand-held).

Get a good solid grip on it with both hands. Use a tripod or monopod (probably not possible at most performances). Press the base or side of the camera against a seat back, wall or column. Use the viewfinder and press it against your face (do some test shots and see how the viewfinder frames shots -- many are not very accurate).

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Jeremy McMillan
- FB Fan -

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2004 :  11:40:15  Show Profile  Visit Jeremy McMillan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If you can set your light meter to spot, dial in your settings based on the light on the poorest-lit musician, and tolerate some underexposure. You can probably tweak the curves later to bring the detail out of the dark end of midtones.
If your camera has automatic "bracketing" and you can set the aperture manually and let the camera bracket on the shutter speed:
*set up bracketing for small variance in shutter speed
*crank open the aperture all the way
*set your zoom as necessary
If your digital camera has multiple-frame action shots when you hold down the shutter button:
*set up the camera for high-speed with manual everything.
*frame your shot, dial in your settings for max aperture and slight underexposed shutter speed, take your pictures starting a second early, and get 3-4 per series.
*pick the best one to tweak the curves later.

Most digital cameras sample the CCD multiple times for each color channel: RGB. If you need better contrast, then switch to B&W mode or use settings that lower the color saturation. See if this gives you better detail. It depends on how the image is computed from the raw CCD data. Colored stage lights have low color contrast anyways. You're not going to lose much information tweaking the saturation/color balance afterwards, but you need good exposure detail to work with in any case. Generally, the more surface area of your lens, the wider-angle shot you're taking, the more leeway you have in exposure. This is true for any nighttime or poor-lighting conditions.

Also, if you can take raw CCD data images, these will be much better than compressed images like JPEGs for post-processing and enlargement. That is why they can charge so much for 256MB and 512MB flash memory for your camera. If you can't afford the high-end stuff, all that means is that you have to get your priorities straight and plan your shots very carefully. You can get better shots with a cheaper camera than someone with a camera that costs 3 times as much if you think about how to get the maximum exposure and the other guy doesn't. What you save in up-front camera expense, you have to make up in effort and planning. It builds character


---
Chicago loves the Pixies.
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Dave Noisy
Minister of Chaos

Canada
4496 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2004 :  22:54:28  Show Profile  Visit Dave Noisy's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Cool - thanks for the tips guys!

Don't forget to post your pics in the new Gallery too!

www.FrankBlack.net/gallery


Join the Cult of the Flying Pigxies - I'm A Believer!
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pystdragon
- FB Fan -

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2004 :  09:05:57  Show Profile  Visit pystdragon's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mattb

Does anyone have any experience taking concert photos with an SLR or any type of film camera? I too want to avoid using flash so I'm thinking if I use 800 or maybe even 1600 speed film then I should be ok even from far away. Does anyone have any experience with high speed film at shows and the results? I know the grain would be high but it would look better than using a flash.



I took shots of The Pixies set(along with several other bands) with a 20 year old SLR. I highly recommend getting 1600 speed film. It's worth the extra bit you pay for it. Some advice:

Set your camera for auto, lighting-wise. Lights change during shows, so lighting is different from shot to shot. MAKE SURE you set your camera speed to 1600. I forgot to do this last year, and took shots using 1600 speed film set on 400. Needless to say, they didn't turn out well(or some at all).

Different color lights are harder to work with. Blues and greens do not make for good shots. Try to use warmer colors. White light is always best, but oranges are also extremely usable. Red works sometimes, but that's pushing it.

Learn how to change rolls quickly. (or bring a second camera)

That's all I can offer you for now. Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions(i'm still amateurish, but i've learned through experience so that counts for something)

-Justin
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mattb
= Cult of Ray =

Canada
474 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2004 :  17:37:18  Show Profile  Visit mattb's Homepage  Click to see mattb's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by pystdragon

quote:
Originally posted by mattb

Does anyone have any experience taking concert photos with an SLR or any type of film camera? I too want to avoid using flash so I'm thinking if I use 800 or maybe even 1600 speed film then I should be ok even from far away. Does anyone have any experience with high speed film at shows and the results? I know the grain would be high but it would look better than using a flash.



I took shots of The Pixies set(along with several other bands) with a 20 year old SLR. I highly recommend getting 1600 speed film. It's worth the extra bit you pay for it. Some advice:

Set your camera for auto, lighting-wise. Lights change during shows, so lighting is different from shot to shot. MAKE SURE you set your camera speed to 1600. I forgot to do this last year, and took shots using 1600 speed film set on 400. Needless to say, they didn't turn out well(or some at all).

Different color lights are harder to work with. Blues and greens do not make for good shots. Try to use warmer colors. White light is always best, but oranges are also extremely usable. Red works sometimes, but that's pushing it.

Learn how to change rolls quickly. (or bring a second camera)

That's all I can offer you for now. Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions(i'm still amateurish, but i've learned through experience so that counts for something)

-Justin



Thanks for the advice man. I posted that few months ago and ended up using 3200 speed film and good some pretty good results.
http://broszkowski.com/pixies/winn.html

Post a link to the photos you took!

-----------------------
http://www.broszkowski.com

Edited by - mattb on 10/19/2004 19:03:43
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Daisy Girl
~ Abstract Brain ~

Belize
5305 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2005 :  22:38:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just got done taking some concerts photos for my husband while he rocked out and enjoyed. It was a first for me with digital & taking them from the crowd.

Generally I am pretty impressed. I think what made the best ones (obviously) was when the lights were white or the house lights were up all the way.

I cliked away and my always best avise is take a ton and one of em will turn out. Well I am glad that a few turned out... I have taken some concert photos where none turned out well.

"I ain't goin to be what I ain't"
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