11 music photography mistakes everyone always makes (and how to avoid them)

11 music photography mistakes everyone always makes (and how to avoid them)

Common Music Photography Mistakes: 4. Exposing for the lights

Common Music Photography Mistakes: 4. Exposing for the lights

Left to it’s own devices a camera would’ve made much of this scene grey

You may notice that your camera’s exposure meter suggests settings that change wildly when you shoot a gig lit by stage lights.

This is because the brightness in the frame changes dramatically depending upon which lights are in operation and what they are illuminating.

One minute the whole scene maybe brightly lit, and the next the lead singer is spot-lit against a dark background.

Your camera may respond to the first situation by suggesting a fast shutter speed and the second by demanding a long exposure.

However, the brightness of the light when it hits your subject is usually constant – although it may move and turn on and off.

This means that if you set your camera to manual exposure mode and select an exposure that produces an image with your subject correctly exposed when they’re illuminated, you won’t go far wrong using those settings throughout.

Once you’ve set the exposure all you need to do is wait for the lights to do the right thing, or your subject to do something interesting.

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Common Music Photography Mistakes: 5. Mic or mic stand in the way

Common Music Photography Mistakes: 5. Mic or mic stand in the way

Sometimes stuff gets in the way

Microphones are an essential bit of kit for a musician, but they can be a real pain for a music photographer as they often seem to litter the stage and clutter up the scene or block your view.

Try to find an angle where you can see and shoot through any stands, or wait until your subject moves away from them.

It’s often best to shoot from the side rather than directly in-front to see more of the singer behind the mic.

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Common Music Photography Mistakes: 6. Shadows problems

Common Music Photography Mistakes: 6. Shadows problems

Watch out for shadows like this on your subject

Bright stage lights cast shadows and you need to keep and eye on them to get the best shots.

You might carefully line up a shot to exclude the mic, for example, only to find that its shadow extends right across the singer’s face.

Wait for the subject to move or the light to change so it comes from a different angle.

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  • Jackie

    I took my camera to a small invited guests concert and was told by the bouncers that I couldn’t use it because it’s a professional camera. EVERYONE around me was using their phones and tablets. I had my Canon 100D with my 55 x 250 lens. Hardly professional and I was in nobody’s way. Unlike all those holding up their tablets and blocking the view. Put me right off Music photography.

  • dvjm

    This is becoming an issue in many different areas. I am not a professional. I take photos for my own enjoyment, or of my kids or grandkids. I hate having to bring in some point and shoot or zoom because the DSLR or mirrorless is considered “professional.” And you are right” The I-pads and phones being held up all over are MUCH more annoying.