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SilverTurtle
07-31-2005, 09:25 AM
Hey everyone, I'm new the boards... and pretty new to digital photography as well. I've already learned some new tricks here :D , and am hoping I can get some input on a specific problem:

I'm a musician, and have a lot of friends in bands, so a lot of the photos I'm shooting are of bands playing live in bars and small clubs. This means the lighting is dark behind me, and various, changing colors and brightness on stage. Add to this the fact that the subject(s) are moving most of the time... and it's hard to get really great shots.

My camera is mostly the point-n-shoot variety, a Kodak EasyShare CX7430, so I do have options to change the flash, white balance, ISO, but not a ton of control.

Any advice is really appreciated.... THANKS!

TheObiJuan
07-31-2005, 09:40 AM
without a tripod or monopod you probably will get either dark or out of focus pictures. It's a good point and shoot camera, but not designed for the extremes. Very low light work is an extreme.

Clyde
07-31-2005, 01:25 PM
...

I'm a musician, and have a lot of friends in bands, so a lot of the photos I'm shooting are of bands playing live in bars and small clubs. This means the lighting is dark behind me, and various, changing colors and brightness on stage. Add to this the fact that the subject(s) are moving most of the time... and it's hard to get really great shots.

My camera is mostly the point-n-shoot variety, a Kodak EasyShare CX7430, so I do have options to change the flash, white balance, ISO, but not a ton of control.

Any advice is really appreciated.... THANKS!

You are not really set up to take great pictures in that situation, however, you can get some. First off, don't be afraid to use flash. It will destroy the low light and colored light stuff, but it will freeze movement and can give you an effectively stark look (http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10269).

My camera has more controls than yours. I set my ISO high, aperture wide open, and use a relatively slow shutter speed. This gives me blur in stuff that moves, but can isolate a singer at a mike, or a posing guitar player.

At 400 ISO your pictures are going to be noisy, and not in the good music way. That is the price you pay for using your camera. Try not to zoom in on a scene, as your aperture drops when you zoom. Crop your pictures on your computer, not on your camera. This will let in all the light your camera can find. Since the color of the light changes, you are pretty much at the mercy of your camera for white balance. Stick with Auto white balance, and hope your camera is smart.

As with most things, you will get better with practice. Pay attention to what works, where you like to stand, what settings give you the best results. When you aren't happy with a photo, find something specific that is wrong with it. Try to figure out how to fix the specific thing that went wrong.

If I were you, I would be lusting after the fuji finepix f10 (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_f10-review/) .

Good luck,

Clyde

SilverTurtle
07-31-2005, 03:20 PM
Cheers to both of you on the advice. I didn't know that about not zooming... I'll get close and try not to zoom much at the next show.

(Here's a sampling of my band photos (http://www.flickr.com/photos/silverturtle/tags/bands/) ... you can see that in daylight they come out pretty decent.)

I'm not really looking to upgrade my camera any time soon. It was actually a Christmas gift last year, so I'm definately still learning & loving it.

paul_kelly
08-01-2005, 06:48 AM
Definitely get as close as you can. Leaning on the barrier at the front will help you steady your shots in the abscence of a tripod.

I tend to avoid using flash as I go to a lot of small acoustic gigs, and it would be distracting to the band and audience, but for rock gigs flash away! I'm not familiar with your specific camera but if it has any kind of "night mode" flash (one that flashes and then leaves the shutter open for a short length of time after) then use that as it will pick up the coloured lighting and a bit of motion.

Side on views of singers will usually look better than views from straight on, as there will be no microphone stand blocking your view. If you're standing at the side I'd highly recommend ear plugs, as you'll be very close to the speakers.

Play around with your camera's WB settings, as different venues use very different kinds of lights. If you find that you can't get accurate colours then try converting your photos to black and white - I've found that some of my best photos of bands have been ones that were unusable in colour but look amazing in BW.

Hope that helps!

Paul

SilverTurtle
08-01-2005, 06:31 PM
Paul,

Thanks - that was really helpful! I wish I would have found this forum to ask everyone a few days before the last show I shot. ;)

Can't wait to try some of these tips.