Tag: concerts

How to Become a Music Photographer

If you’ve decided to step out into the exciting world of music photography, you may feel a little lost and wonder how to get started. There are a few things you need to know right off the bat. If you follow these steps and tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a professional music photographer.

There’s Always More to Learn

Even if you’re already an expert photographer, you still have things to learn. A photographer is also a small business. Whether you’re an expert or beginner you need to know how to market yourself in the industry, how to speak with professionals, how to effectively manage money, and how to brand yourself.

No matter how well you can handle a camera, you should always seek to improve your skills as well. For the novice, consider taking courses. There are many courses available online and in traditional university settings, and you can get started with professional web tutorials from established experts.

Be sure to focus on people who work specifically within the music industry so you will learn what is expected. Photographing a band is not just about getting a good image for their album cover. The image should be framed, lit, and laid out in such a way that it captures the essence of their music and style. You’ll need to use the right settings to ensure you capture a quality motion image in a low-light area.

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In a 2013 interview with icould.com, legendary music photographer Steve Gullick gave the following advice to people getting started in the industry:

“You have to be absolutely single-minded and dedicated to perfecting your craft, there are loads of talented people that want to do the same thing, you have to be better than them; if you don’t do this, you’re probably wasting your time and should concentrate on photography as a hobby.”

Build a Portfolio

Education matters, but not as much as having an impressive portfolio of images. You can begin putting together a professional portfolio at any time. Go to concerts and music events in your area, follow your favorite bands on tour, and take as many pictures as you can. Choose from the best and use them to create a portfolio on your website.

Make Industry Contacts

This one might make you nervous, but building a professional network is a basic component of any kind of business. So how do you make industry contacts?

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The same way you build a portfolio: get out and interact with the musical community. Go to shows where the band has yet to be discovered, you’ll have an easier time getting to know them and their manager. New bands are always looking for professional photographers to help capture and design their image, and you can work with a new band for a discount rate. Use those connections to build your portfolio and get your name out there. As your notoriety and skills increase, you can increase your rate to match them.

Refine Your Craft

Your craft is photography, first and foremost. The secondary aspect of your craft is a business. Pay attention to your successes and failures. Has anyone complained about your images, work ethic, or how you present yourself to professionals? Find ways to correct these mistakes and you’ll continue to grow as a professional music photographer.

Continue to study photography. Learn how to use lighting and angles to capture the essence of a moment, the music, and the band. Make a study of how other photographers have worked with musicians to create sets that appeal to the audience and the performer.

Study the Masters of Your Trade

It’s easy to lose heart when you’re starting out in any endeavor. Taking the time to study the careers and lives of other professionals in your industry will help guide you through the rough terrain and give you the hope to keep going. Study the top photographers currently working in the music industry and learn from them.

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Tips for the New Music Photographer

Now that you have the basic steps to get you started, here are a few tips to help you further down the path ahead:

1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there

If you have a killer idea, don’t be afraid to pitch it.

2. You don’t need the most expensive equipment to start with.

While you will need to get expensive equipment as you progress, you can start with basic equipment.

3. Learn how to use social media platforms to build your notoriety.

Figure out which social media platforms work best for you and learn how to use them for marketing. Choose one or two to focus on at first, otherwise, you’ll be spending too much time building those accounts.

Now that you’ve learned the basic steps to getting started, grab your camera and find a show: you have some pictures to take.

How to Edit Concert Photography – In Depth Guide

Intended as a sequel to How to Get Started in Concert Photography

We all know the challenges of concert photography. The low light. The fast movement. The crowd. Your distance from the stage. And so much more. So just getting an exposed, focused image is challenging enough. But once you have that, now what? Is your image washed in blue light? Or worse, the dreaded red light? Getting the image is only the first part of nailing killer concert photography. Now you need to edit the image and balance the colors to your liking.

Below are some great steps as one option for color correcting. A couple requirements: the image must be in the RAW format, and the color wash needs to be somewhat minimal. In essence, if the red wash is too extreme, you can’t do much. The white balance dropper just won’t be able to find the appropriate blues and greens.

Starting Image

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Camera Calibration

When you bring your RAW image into Lightroom

, you’ll want to first adjust camera calibration. Play around with the options, because it will depend on the image. From experience, I’ve found Camera Neutral works for me. Play with the sliders as well once you’ve found an option that works.

You may also want to adjust Lens Corrections as well here. Go to the Lens Corrections tabs and check the first two boxes in the Basic subgroup. These are Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration. This will fix any lens distortion you may experience. I recommend checking them always, it can be surprising how much difference this makes.

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White Balance

Next, head to the Basics panel and find the white balance dropper tool. Click onto an area of the photo that should be white. This can be eyes, teeth, clothing, etc. Here is well you’ll likely be able to tell if this option will work for your image. Sometimes it just won’t. But if it does, it is amazing how much the tones will balance out. You can play with Temp and Tint, I leave them as is.

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Basic Settings

Here is where I’ll do my basic setting adjustments. This would be exposure, contrast, whites and blacks. I usually find my images tend to be on the darker, more contrasted side, so I’ll adjust to that style. In this image, I wanted to convey a dark, moody feel because that was the band’s image. The band being the MacDonald’s-themed Black Sabbath cover band Mac Sabbath. If you haven’t heard of them (as I hadn’t until this night), check them out or go to a show. They are amazing performers, and you can’t get a bad photo of them. Back to settings. Play around and see what works for the image and your style. It’s important to maintain style when editing photographs. You want people to recognize they are your photos immediately if possible.

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If Needed – Color Saturation

If you still find lingering color tones you don’t like, go to the HSL tab. You’ll want to desaturate any colors you don’t want and then adjust Luminance. See what I’ve done below and played around with the sliders. There is a chance you may not need this step, but play around and see how your image can change.

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If you want to salvage that image, you may need to convert to black and white. Some might consider this a cop out method, but if the image is strong and well captured, it is worth the edit. Experiment with your settings and see what works for your image. The below is an example where I had extreme red washing out, but I didn’t want to lose this image. To me, converting to black and white was a no-brainer. There is no formula here for perfect editing. Each image is different and should be representative of your style. Not someone else’s opinion (unless that is a respected photographer with valid advice).

A final word on dealing with editing concert photography is to just go with the flow. If there is an extreme red or blue wash, but otherwise the photo is strong, leave it as is. Adjust what you can, but this type of lighting is somewhat expected. Also, most venues are good about flowing through different lighting during shows. So, you’ll likely see red, blue, neutral and other types of lighting. Since you are shooting in burst mode (a must for concerts), you’ll have tons of options at the end of the night. You may not even need any of those images shot during the red lighting.