Answers to frequently asked questions:How many pictures do you take per performance?
How do I download photos?
What kind of camera do you use?
What settings do you use?
Why don’t you use flash at concerts?
Can you give me any composition tips for concerts?
1. Most importantly know the venue and band you are going to see. This will determine what equipment to bring to the show, and what kind of energy the artist may bring. There is no guarantee on the last part.
2. Get the exposure right (see settings question).
3. Avoid stage clutter (monitors, mic stands, etc). Nothing will distract from a photo more than a random mic stand. Not only does the mic and stand get in the way, but most mics will leave a shadow cast on the performer.
4. As a general rule, do not crop at anything that bends (ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, etc). This also applies to most portrait photography.
5. Avoid copping off guitar heads.
6. Be mindful of lighting patterns and wait until the light is right.
7. Don’t stay in the same place. When possible, use different vantage points as there are better angles than others when composing shots.
8. Anticipate action. Pay attention to when they jump, kick, etc.
9. Avoid shooting straight up at artists. There is no need for a picture of someone’s nostrils.
Any other concert tips?
Do you edit photos?
How do you decide what pictures to make B&W?
1. First when I think it will add to the image or the moment. Some pictures just simply look great in B&W.
2. Mostly as a last resort. A dirty secret in concert photography, if the colored image does not work, the B&W might. Many images will be so oversaturated by gelled can lights, or simply be in too dark a venue. Cheap blue and magenta lights may look cool in theory, but they produce the worst lighting conditions. Not only do they make the performers look like Care Bears, but they take away much of the details. Plus some venues have these a couple feet above the artists. There is little one can do to save these images. If you have a wide enough lens, and can shoot at the right settings, you may get some salvageable images. While I generally avoid posting images I do not care for, I may post some B&W conversions that might not have made the cut otherwise. This is especially true for a newer band simply looking for some live shots, but can only play in dimly lit venues.
Can I see/have the photos you did not post?
Will you shoot me, or my band?
Do you shoot headshots, press kits, etc?
Can I use your photos on my site, press releases, Facebook, etc?
Editing of any of my original images (major color conversions, compositions, or any “graphic art” project) without my consent is also strictly prohibited and will likely result in a DMCA takedown notification, especially bad Photoshop compositions. I am very picky about my finished images, especially when my name is attached to it and someone could be under the assumption that it represents my photography or post production efforts.
Please contact me for any commercial use, non-watermarked shots or permission to use images in any graphic art form.
I love you your work, why do you not do this full time?
If you read at least the first article, and hopefully the rest, you might have a better understanding.
Few people can do photography for a long time successfully. The average photographer makes $29k a year and the top one percent of photographers? Average of $62k. Benefits? Nope, so that will reduce that income. 401K? Nope. There is a reason photography is consistently ranked as one of the worst jobs in terms of salary.
Not saying it can’t happen, it absolutely can, but I would be forced to choose between a guaranteed well paying job with a steady income stream, insurance, 401(k), etc and photography, something I can easily do because what I enjoy shooting, does not conflict with what I do from nine to five.
Not relying on photography for my income stream allows me to shoot what I want, basically when I want, and with whom I want. That is a liberty that would be gone if I needed to shoot for money. I am not David LaChapelle and can’t do both, there would be a lot of work and hungry nights if I tried.
Will you shoot my wedding?
I am fortunate to be in a position, where I do not have to rely on shooting engagement and wedding photos to make a living, and will always encourage someone who puts a value on quality wedding photos to spend the money to get it done right. Wedding photography is a tough business, lots of planning, editing, working with families, traveling, etc. Anyone offering to shoot your wedding for $500 is likely not a good photographer, and is DEFINTELY not a good business mind. Do your homework and get someone who will do it properly.
If you will not shoot my wedding, can you give me tips on what to look for?
1. Find a photographer that you can have a personal connection with. This person will be there for quite possibly the most important day of your life. Make sure their style and yours is compatible.
2. Ask about their equipment. Would you hire a keyboardist that showed up with a cheap Casio? Sure they might be able to make it work, but is it going to sound as nice and be as functional as person who has a nice Korg, Kurzweil, Yamaha, etc? Probably not. The same applies to photographers.
• Make sure they have at least two camera bodies capable of high ISO performance. Why two? What happens if one fails? NEVER hire a photographer for any shoot you are spending money on that does not have a backup.
• Are they using a full frame or crop? Full frame will offer greater ISO capabilities and the depth of field will be better. Crops will offer greater reach and in many cases speed. I generally shoot with crops, but if I made a living shooting weddings, I would shoot with a full frame. Both can yield great results.
• Make sure their glass is fast enough. Most wedding photographers will use a variety of set ups. For zooms, most will use a combo of 16-35, 24-70, and 70-200, all with a 2.8 aperture.
Others may use a combination of primes (fixed length lens). All of these have one thing in common, the ability to shoot in low light.
• Make sure they are using flash both indoors and out. Natural light is great and can yield some great images, but most weddings are early morning to mid-day, which yields the worst natural light. I cannot tell you how many times I see wedding and portrait images where the people in the shot are properly exposed, but the sky is almost pure white. This is a classic sign of an over reliance on lens for light. A good photographer will be able to light the subjects without blowing out the background.
The downside to having proper outdoor lighting is it generally requires an assistant to help set up and make the shot process efficient. Many wedding photographers either do not know better, others simply do not want to take the time required to do it right.
For indoor images, ask about how they plan on lighting the reception. If I was shooting a wedding, I would go with a basic set up of two remote flashes, and perhaps one on camera. They may be able to get by with one remote flash.
• Along the same lines, be sure to ask for indoor reception shots. Ever wonder why more photographers do not post reception images in their portfolio? Be sure to ask for sample images from receptions.
3. Are they shooting in RAW? This will touch a nerve with JPEG shooters. Some photographers I met have said, “I get it right the first time.” That is crap. They might get it right some times, but if they are not shooting in RAW they are not taking advantage of all the available data for the image which can be the difference in a keeper and trash bin shot, especially when dealing with low light situations. Most I know that insist on shooting in JPEG either do not want to use the extra storage space, the hassle of converting, or simply do not know better.
4. Review their composition. Are they cutting off people where they should not be? Remember what I stated in an earlier question, be sure they are not cropping at anything that bends (ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, etc). If it is suppose to be a full body shot, is the whole person in the frame? I cannot tell you how many images I see where part of one arm, leg, hand, or foot are out of frame.
5. How is the bokeh? The what? Bokeh is essentially blur. Meant to replicate how the human eye focuses. There should be a nice clean separation between the subject and background. For most wedding work, you do not want the entire frame in focus. Backgrounds can be a distraction and you want the focus on the individual.
6. Do they have insurance? What happens if someone trips over a flash cord, breaks an arm while falling, and takes out the DJ booth at that same time? Yes it is a what if, worst case scenario, but it could happen and you want to know that the photographer is covered for liability.
7. How long until you get proofs? And how will you review them? If they say months to get proofs pass. In the digital age, you should have proofs in a couple weeks. Preferably by a personal online review site where you can rate the photos you like. If they do not use that technology, they should sit down with you to do so. Ideally, you should also not be presented with untouched or unedited photos. I can give you unedited photos immediately after the event, but does it represent the final product? No. When you sit down to review your portfolio, you should be sitting with their best work, not work they are not ready to present for final presentation.
8. Contract, contract, contract. Be sure you have one specifically laying out the terms of the deal, including hours worked, turn around time, etc.
9. Make sure they have an assistant/back-up/second shooter. Simple enough and can yield more shots and reduce set-up time. Also find out their contingency if they get hit by a bus, or become ill. Always have a back-up in mind just in case.
10. Determine all costs. It is best to choose a package that includes everything you want. Many photographers will quote a lower amount that basically includes them showing up and shooting. Be sure the price you expect to pay includes everything you want, include high resolution non water marked electronic copies, prints, albums, etc.
Why do you not post your photos on flickr, Facebook, Photobucket, etc?
In addition, with free hosting come copyright issues. If I host my own images, I do not have to worry about keeping up to date on terms of service agreements to see if my free hosting company actually wants to make money off of my images. I cannot fault them for making money, especially if they are allowing free storage, bandwidth etc, I simply choose not to use them.
That said, you are welcome to download shots and share.
Have another question? Please use the contact me form.