While photographing a concert or a performance at a jazz bar, you usually have to deal with very low and unfriendly lighting. Pictures come out noisy or underexposed as a result. Pair that with the fact that you have to move around quite a bit and can’t use a tripod because of that, and you are suddenly facing a really tough night.
But there is a solution. Yes, you can’t use a tripod at such events very easily but you can always use a monopod. A monopod, as the name implied, has just one leg as opposed to three on a tripod. Therefore, you cannot prop it up on its own and stabilize your camera perfectly. What you can do is support your camera just enough to take noise-free photos at lower ISOs and blur-free photos at lower shutter speeds.
Easy to Carry and Setup
A monopod is much easier to carry than a tripod. It’s also easier to setup because you don’t need to create any space for it. Just put it down wherever you want to shoot from, attach your camera to it and you have added stability in a few seconds. This combination of light weight and small size makes them perfect for concert photography where you have to move around to find the right frame.
Additional Support at a Low Price
Monopods are cheaper than tripods, which makes them even more attractive for people who don’t need to have their camera stabilized on a tripod independently. For a low price, a monopod will offer you the necessary stability for taking photos in low light.
You can use telephoto lenses more easily with a monopod than without, which allows you to take those portrait shots of the singers on stage from a good distance. If you like using an HDR editor to compile multiple photos into one HDR image, monopods play a role in helping you get perfectly aligned brackets for your photo as well.
So the next time you have to cover a concert in tough lighting, take a monopod along. You’ll be able to take much better images, with lesser noise and better exposure.
A big concern for many photographers who wish to cover musical events like concerts is the kind of lens they should choose. While I don’t think there is one singular lens to cover a whole concert, there are certain kinds of lenses that are best for specific types of concert photos.
For a Wide Field of View
If it isn’t already obvious, you should choose a wide-angle lens for capturing things like the audience, the stage, or a large chunk of the venue. Fish-eye lenses are not a good choice for concert photos, however, as these warp the perspective of your photos because of the very wide field of view.
For Capturing the Action
When you want to capture the action on stage, a fast prime lens is my recommendation. Prime lenses usually have better image quality that those that can zoom in on their subjects. They also have wider apertures than zoom lenses in the same price bracket. And a wide aperture is very useful for capturing photos in dimly lit situations, like concerts.
If you want to carry just one lens, or something that will give you some more control over your camera’s field of view, a zoom lens with a wide aperture is your best bet. The zoom lens you choose, however, should have a fairly wide focal range and a wide aperture. Keep in mind though that a zoom lens with a wide aperture can be fairly expensive.
To get the best possible photos at a concert, I would recommend that you carry different kinds of lenses as these will help you capture a wider range of shots.
Smooth jazz, there’s nothing quite like it is there? For people who like to listen to jazz music, many other genres are just plain noise. Jazz is a purely American genre of music, which is why so many people are drawn so strongly to it.
Anyway, this article is not about everything that is great with jazz music but rather about how this genre of music deserves to be photographed a little differently than some others. Here are some things you should try incorporating into your photography if you cover jazz concerts or gigs on a regular basis:
- Get Close to Your Subject:
Jazz music is all about soul. The musicians are so involved with their music that it’s a sin not to capture all that feeling on camera. So don’t be afraid to get close to the stage and take some portraits of the performers. Invest in a fast prime lens with a little bit of reach that allows you to take close ups of the musicians from a good distance so that you don’t have to make your way to the front of the crowd every time.
It is true that black and white photography is timeless, and imbuing your jazz photos with this timelessness is a great way to create something unique. A monochrome photo will make sure that all background ‘noise’ recedes from the main focus of your photo – the musicians.
- Don’t Forget About the Instruments
A major part of jazz music is the types of instruments used to make the actual music. Yes, the singers matter as well, but it’s really the thump of that bass that get people’s hearts going. As a photographer, you should focus on capturing the essence of these instruments just as much as you focus on capturing the expressions and feelings of the musicians.
And lastly, don’t go to a jazz event with too much gear. Having too much stuff will only make you inefficient in your work. Carry only the couple of lenses you are sure you’ll need, and go handheld. Capture those emotions, take pictures of the crowd, get close to the music, and to do all of this you’ll need to be able to move around freely without having to carry bags and cases. Jazz deserves your attention, don’t deny it that because you’re too caught up with heavy gear.