My Adventure with Concert Photography
I love a good concert, especially if it’s free, and even more if it’s outside. Outdoor concerts are a hobby photographers dream, there are not “gate searches” or “bag inspections”, or at least not at the concert venues I’ve attended.
My favorite concert so far has been Huey Lewis and the News. I challenge anyone who grew up in the 1980’s to NOT like Huey Lewis and the News. Really, the songs from Back to the Future? “Heart of Rock and Roll”, “Power of Love“, and “Do You Believe in Love” are anthems of my generation. Ok, I might be exaggerating , but Huey Lewis songs take me back to my care free teenage days.
Huey is one of those rare performers that sound even better live than the recordings. Can’t say that about today’s artists that need a recording studio and a back-up of electronics to make a Top 10 song. He has real musicians, including saxophones, trumpets and he really rocks the harmonica! It was awesome!
This concert was in part of the 4th of July Celebrate America free concert sponsored by Bank of the West in Omaha Nebraska. What’s better than Huey Lewis in concert, watching him for free. My friend Beth volunteered her son to set out blankets at 7 am to reserve a spot for that nights concert. So much of the time the singing idols of my youth have been disappointing as they look like aging rockers. Not Huey, he looks just as good and his voice is still pure and timely. He puts on a great show and everyone thoroughly looked like they enjoy what they do.
We sat about 25 yards from the stage and below is a shot I took from our blanket. This is the closest I’ve ever been at a concert and it was very easy to go right up to the stage. The top two photos were from right up next to the stage. As I use my Canon Rebel XS more I’m learning how to tweak it to get great shots.
I have to say the top is my favorite, but I have many of the night. There are a couple I’ll post in the future. Scarlett Drive and Mockingbird Sun were the opening bands and they were very good. I took the opportunity that night to practice with my 75-300 mm lens and night photography. I’m becoming more pleased with the results all the time.
Night Photography Tips
This year I have upgraded to a Canon 7D camera, but you don’t need a fancy camera to get the great shots. All the photos here were taken with a low level Canon Rebel XS camera. The secret is knowing how to use all of your cameras resources.
- Shoot on manual, seriously, you can make your camera take better pictures when you have more control.
- Don’t be afraid to push your ISO to the highest level. If it’s grainy Lightroom has a great noise feature to fix in processing
- Shoot RAW, you can get another 2 stops exposure steps in a really dark setting.
- Shutter speed, the more you zoom in the faster your shutter speed will need to be to compensate for hand shake.
- Use a tripod, or mono-pod, if that option is not possible, brace your hand/arm against an immovable object. This is NOT your friends shoulder as she jumps and dances around. Let out your breath as you click the shutter.
- Push the aperture as low as you dare, most of mine were taken at f/5, it allows more light in and gives you a higher shutter speed in return.
- Meter for the light. Most stages are well lit and you don’t want to blow out the lights. The dark backgrounds on the stage remains “pure” Push your shutter half way down and move your camera to the background and the lighted foreground. Notice how the red light on your meter moves.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment and take LOTS of pictures. They can be deleted in Photoshop or Lightroom in editing and post production
- Use your histogram on the back of the camera, to a point. It’s night time, it will push to the left, but aim to have a lot of the information in the midtones.
My Favorite Huey Lewis Songs and Videos