Shooting Bands On A Bigger Stage

shooting bands

Second Attempt at Shooting Bands:

Had the opportunity this week at shooting bands once again at the showcase semi final gig at the Wedgewood Rooms.

Was my second attempt at gig photography and loved being able to give it another go.

It’s still something I massively want to be part of my future.

Even more so since my first blog about gig photography.

Have spent the last few weeks thinking about it more and more. It’s in my head.

And once something is in my head, it tends not to go away.

Had a blast shooting bands once again, and as always enjoyed the editing process after.

But this time definitely felt different from last time. It’s not that I didn’t learn a lot last time, I did, It’s more this time my concern was greater than simply hoping I didn’t fuck everything up.

This time I took a lot more in.

Cyprian Sceptre

So What Did I Learn?

In short, a lot.

To start with I have to say I’m pretty happy with the final images I got and the bands seem happy with them too so that’s good.

But I would definitely do a few things differently and am glad that I’ve had the chance to do these few gig’s and learn from that.

I’m quickly learning what my camera can and can’t do.

It isn’t a full frame camera so does struggle under the low lights but shooting RAW means I can still get plenty of the detail in there.

Can still bring things to life in editing.

But Drummers don’t stand a chance at the moment. To far back, to little light. Without being on the stage myself, or buying a much more expensive camera and lens, it just isn’t happening.

So I’ve kind of accepted that at the moment.

But going to research what more I can do.

I shot this gig at F1.8 but I want to try to shoot a stop up next time. Maybe around F2.8 on the 50mm.

That might mean more grain but I think I’m willing to sacrifice that for slightly sharper images.

To many of my shots lost focus or were in soft focus. Especially shooting at angles which I like to do.

I think it’s worth looking into.

I love using the 50mm prime and want to stick with that but maybe just need to play around with my settings a little more and take a chance.

Used the 24mm a little at 2.8, but prefer the 50mm.

Grief Daddy

What Else Did I Learn?

Apart from technical stuff with the camera I feel my approach can be different as well.

I need to take a step back at the start of the gigs and just watch before I start shooting bands.

They were all so different, which musically was awesome, but shooting wise meant I had to learn quickly.

Was a steep curve and I know I could have done better.

One band in particular, Grief Daddy, the lead singer was massively energetic and I struggled to get a clean shot of him.

I knew straight after that I should have changed my shutter speed from 1/200 to maybe as high as 1/400 but just didn’t at the time and paid for it when looking back through the images.

If I had composed myself at the start, watched them for a song or two, and thought about it I know I would have made that change on the night.

Not beating myself up over it, but learning from it.

Another band one member near the front of the stage had less light on him than any of the other bands did in the same position.

Again I know I should have changed my ISO from 800 to probably 1600 and risked the grain for a more focused shot.

But didn’t.

Kind of annoying that I had the answers and didn’t apply them…

… But I’m learning.

And that’s what these gig were about for me…

… Learning.

The Wild Claims

How DidThe Editing Go?

What I realised firstly through the editing is that I need to be more selective with my shots.

I took to many pictures.

Looking through 20GB worth of pics took time. A little to long.

I think if I apply what I’ve learnt above I’ll naturally take less but with a higher quality. That will help all round.

The editing itself again I really enjoyed.

I always have an idea what I want to do with the pics I take but leave myself flexible to experiment as way.

Know that’s not everyone’s taste, but I enjoy the edit.

I find it to be part of the process rather than a cheat.

My favourite part of shooting with film was always developing in the darkroom.

I’m really liking Affinity. I have plenty to learn with it but am finding my way round it well.

Spent last summer learning a lot of it and am loving being able to put these skills into practice more and more with my photography of late.

Will only get better.

Third Time Luckie

What Did I Do Different With The Edit?

I tried to use colour a lot more this time.

This was a bigger stage than last time with more lighting so wanted to take advantage of that.

Last gig I shot the stage was ground level, tight, with little lights. This time it was a much bigger raised stage with full on light designs.

Wanted to show that in the editing of the photos.

Plus that way it would give me different looking shots than the first time round which was cool as two of the bands were the same and wanted to offer them something different.

I’m probably a long way of finding my voice in shooting bands so for the moment want to try a bit of everything and this time round was definitely playing with colours more.

Was very happy with the colours in Crxsses. Felt like the strong oranges and yellows suited the music well.

The Wild Claims and Cyprian Sceptre were two of the bands I shoot last time so wanted to offer them something different.

Again added a lot more colour to both and some different angles.

Played around with the white balance more this time as well.

Big advantage of shooting in Raw.

The other band Third Time Luckie was the one I was probably most experimental with. Switched between a cooler look and a warmer look with them.

Was braver with some angles as well.


What’s Next With Shooting Bands?

I asked myself this question last time.

The answer I think is still shooting bands in clusters so that I have plenty to practice and work with.

I want to do gig photography.

I want to set up a business that massively involves that.

And I will shoot bands abroad as well as that’s a big goal.

So for the moment it’s just getting in that little more practice…

… Then its time to start learning on the job and hopefully working myself up towards some better equipment.

But for the moment will continue to try to take big steps with what I’ve got.


Cyprian Sceptre


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  1. Happy with the thirs time luckie pics, good work and all the best 🤘

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