Monday, March 31, 2014

I'm With the Band

We interrupt the behind-the-scenes series of fashion photography blogs to discuss a new (to me) genre - concert photography! Concert photography is, in many ways, like any other kind of event photography. Low light, people drinking, lots of interesting outfits and expressions to capture, it might as well be any other brand of party.

Yet, in many ways, shooting concerts is unlike any other photographic job. For one thing, taking photos of a stage show where you are on a different level than the subjects can make for either some awkward angles, or incredibly dynamic shots that look larger than life.

By far, the most difficult aspect of concert photography is the lighting, which is constantly changing brightness and color. When I worked my first concert last month at the Orange Peel - the bluegrass band Yonder Mountain, featuring the Travelin' McCourneys - I learned all too well that although I could have the perfect shot ready, right when I pressed my finger to the shutter the spotlight could suddenly change from red to blue, dark to light, and I'd have to start all over.

Luckily for me, a photojournalism background (a style which photographs authentic and candid human emotion and captures the atmosphere and story of an event) lends itself well to concert photography. While many beginners may focus on the band, spending the majority of their time front and center to the stage, crowd shots are often equally as interesting. Shooting from the pit in the few feet of space between the stage and the most enthusiastic fans, I had a front row view of Yonder Mountain's loudest head-bobbing, arm-waving cheering section.

I love close-ups, so I tried to add a few into my album, finding small details that could add to the larger story; such as the bass player plucking the beat of a bluegrass song.

Although I'd never heard Yonder Mountain's music before and I couldn't fully appreciate the concert by singing along like I could at the others I've been to of my favorite bands, the toe-tapping tunes made the joy of photographing in a new atmosphere that much better.