A few concerts

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New Member
Usually I document concerts by recording the audio which is generally much more interesting to me (and the bands who appreciate the recording), but a few of my friends let me try some pictures. Unfortunately for the pictures sake, none of them tend to be especially animated due to the style of music. Any tips or advice is more than welcome.
The first three were taken with an old 50mm 2.8 manual lens in places where stepping back wasn't an option. Do you have a preference to #2, or #3?

The other ones were taken with a 35mm 1.8 with auto focus, which was definitely easier. Color vs. black and white?
Thanks for looking!

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I don't have much experience shooting music performances, so as far as any recommendations I am afraid I will be no help.

The one image that really jumps out at me is #2. I really like the composition and there seems to be a good story here.

I can think of lots of cool shots to be had, but with the lenses you had on site, none of them would have been very feasible. I really like closeups of a vocalist's face, or a guitarists hands, etc...

Maybe even a wide shot of the entire venue (crowd silhouetted) and performers lit up, could be cool.

Thanks for sharing, Timmo.


Super Moderator
Staff member
I usually like the wild colors of stage lighting. Some genres of music, and musicians themselves, look great in b&w but to my eye b&w makes an image about form and texture and abstracts the subject matter a little. Considering that a photograph of someone making music is already abstracted due to the lack of sound, the lack of color usually compounds it.

I like the color photo of the man reading music from his laptop. The composition could be a little tighter and from a slightly different angle (though often you're limited by where you can stand), but I like it as it is.

As for bringing a slow manual lens to a concert, more power to you for having made it work.


New Member
I had the chance to see these friends play again, in a book store of all places. The individual pictures were not especially interesting, but I made this:

I feel it captures their music fairly well, disjointed, fuzzy, confusing.
In hindsight I wish I had this idea when I was shooting, but I'm still happy.


Staff member
I seem to have missed this series the first time around, not sure why.

You've got some great shots there, nicely done. Shooting concerts is almost always a challenge. The lighting is usually pretty dim at the local venues that most photographers can get access to. Even when you do have light, it's often in weird colors and from strange angles.

Often you'll end up with two choices, as you discovered. You can either go with black and white and try to minimize the strange lighting, or go color and embrace the "concert look" in your shots.

They both work, and it all depends on what you and your clients want. Typically I find that more "classic" shots, like your first ones, work well in black and white. The color ones are great for "action" shots, and the musicians often like them, since they make it clear that it was during an actual show, not just a picture of them practicing or jamming with friends.

The nice thing about digital is that you don't have to choose. Shoot everything in color, and then you can always convert to B&W later. On some cameras, the Nikon for example, you can also use a little trick. Shoot in B&W, and set the camera to B&W. That way, the images you see on the display will be in greyscale, helping you visualize that look better. However, because it's RAW, you can easily convert the image back to color. Obviously, you'll want to try this out ahead of time to be sure it works with your specific camera gear.

Note: This trick only works with RAW files! If you're shooting in JPG, shoot in color, since once a jpg is black and white, you've lost the color data.


New Member
Thanks Bob, for looking!
Personally I think I tend to gravitate towards B&W concert shots because just about all of my favorite ones are black and white, so I'm basically copying that.
That is an interesting idea of shooting in B&W and going to color later. I will have to try that out (I have just ordered myself a camera so I don't have to keep borrowing my girlfriend's camera).


Staff member
If your camera has that option, it works great. It's tough to visualize B&W sometimes, as colors that are total opposites can end up looking alike. So getting a good preview is really nice. If you shoot only I'm greyscale, you sure to see a shot and think "Man, bet that's a killer shot in color!" This way you can get the color back.


New Member
I figure I will just keep using this thread for any more pictures of concerts I take, is that better than making new ones?
In any case here are a few from a show in a tiny place lit by some candles and a shop light on the floor. I couldn't move around due to people, but here are a couple I liked. Feel free to remind me I need to focus better on people and not drums...

Thanks for looking!

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