Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The View From Fez’s Guide to Concert Photography

Over many years of covering festivals one of the most often heard complaints concerns photographers and TV camera crews blocking the audience view, wandering onstage during a performance or using a flash or TV lighting. With the proliferation of smart phones and iPads, now the audience can join, resulting in a sea of selfie sticks and tablets held above their heads
A sea of smartphone screens is always fun to watch

Photographer Hedd Thomas decided it was time to take a look at the problem, and, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, has come up with a list of five points to remember when attending a concert.

Crawling into a distracting position is fun for everyone

1. Shoot at quiet times in the music. Composers include quiet sections specifically to be filled with the sweet sound of a DSLR’s mechanical shutter or a point-and-shoot’s electronic beeps. Only you can provide them.

2. Always shoot with flash. Musicians secretly want to be distracted by a sudden bright light so as to have an excuse for their mistakes, and audiences and lighting directors alike crave clarity, if only for a millisecond.

3. Get in people’s way. The audience is there to appreciate the music, so what does it matter if they can’t see? By obstructing their view you’re helping them remember what’s important. It’s a win-win situation, and they’ll thank you when they see the results.

Always hold your selfie stick high so everyone can enjoy it

4. Show others what you’re shooting. Brighten that LED screen and stick it up for all to see. You give value for money by letting the audience see not just one performance on stage but two, three or eighteen identical ones dotted all around.

Always stand when you pose for a photo

5. Remember, you’re the most important person there. Music passes in the moment, but your work will endure. Because if you don’t document it with 397 stills, 20 selfies, 9 videos and a sound recording, it’s as if the concert never happened.

Performers love flash photography and extra video lighting


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