Hey all, I thought about doing a segment like this for a while now, and I’ve finally decided to give it a go. I am often asked HOW I prepare, shoot and edit my concert photography. So today, I shall do that with my last memorable gig which was Crystal Castles at the Kool Haus in Toronto last month.
Anyone who is familiar with this band know how challenging it is to get some decent shots of them. This is primarily due to the fact that they have no front light and their entire show is filled by strobes that can cause some serious problems if you are prone to them. Thankfully, I diagnosed that I am not epileptic…photographically, this often results in dozens of black frames.
Usually, the moment I find out that I am accredited to cover a concert, I will look up their setlist on the web such as Setlist.fm. By researching the last couple of their gigs, I was able to determine that the first three songs would be Plague, Baptism and Suffocation. By knowing this information, I search for some live records of these performances on YouTube where I can preview the lighting conditions and any cool poses they might do on stage. Quickly I learned that Alice would be stage diving and interacting heavily with the crowd in the 2nd song Baptism, so I readied myself for that with ease.
It doesn’t hurt to ask other fellow photographers (or creep them on forums) about what tools they used for shooting the same band. I discovered that instead of the getting the normal 3 songs, pit, no flash rule….accredited photographers actually got 3 songs, side of stage and flash! Most of you know that I am not a flash kind of guy at all, so no SB-910 would be coming with me. Instead, I decided to shoot high ISO (6400-8000) on the D4 with 3D tracking for fun. Surprising, the D4 was able to focus and lock on to lead singer Alice Glass. I shot primarily with the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 from the side of the stage. After the first 3 songs, we were able to shoot from the back of the crowd where I used a the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8.
Unsurprisingly, I did end up with MANY black unlit frames. I ended shooting just over 700 frames and I was able to get around 25 useable shots. I used LightRoom 4 for the bulk of my editing as usual. Because of my preparation and research, I envisioned the stage dive shot in my head and you know what? I got it, as seen above. If you want to see the full set of my photos and a review by one of our writers Mike Gallagher, check it out on Live in Limbo.