On Location PhotographySubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2012-01-19 09:46

Big concert photography in your small pub

Last video before my Chinese New Year break! I hear some of you say: "Michael, why concert photography? Why shooting a musician on stage?"

On location photography can be pure fun. The fashion-, beauty-, and nude photo shoots which I show in the videos on this blog certainly are. But they only represent a super tiny part of all the photographic genres which are exciting, fun and with which you can make a lot of people happy. Today I’d like to introduce an example for a shoot which does not involve any bikini model, but which certainly is as much fun. The best part: You can do the shoot for yourself. You don’t need to be a concert photographer, you don’t need an accreditation, you don’t need to beg a concert organizer constantly for half a year so that they allow you to take a few photos during the first 3 minutes of the concert. In small venues the live of a concert photographer is much more fun. Have a look:



This diagram is just an example:

Lighting diagram for concert photography
Our position in front of the stage




And I am serious: If you go try it out now, then wear your earplugs. I don't want your hearing to suffer so that next time you visit my blog you complain that the sound of the videos is not working anymore. Speaking of the next time:


Finally, my out-of-office announcement

For the next weeks, I'll be on a trip to China. I am going to celebrate Chinese New Year with the Chinese part of my family. I won't have time for videos because I have to fully concentrate on all the dinners with all the nice food, you know. I am going to be back with the next blogpost in the last week of February. I hope until then Youtube adopted a cinema like widescreen video format, wide enough for me fitting onto the screen... even after I gained a couple of kilograms in China.

I wish you good light!
-- Michael



Here's the song that Jinri Liqui plays at the end of the video:


==> 江湖 / Jianghu / Vagabounds (MP3)


You want to sing a long? Awesome, here's your text:


A1:我们的理想呢 我们的誓言呢 我们的坚强呢 


我们的呼吸呢 我们的青春呢 我们的倔强呢 我们的笑容呢 

如果你都已改变 改变不了你的嘴脸 

岁月如风声吹过 吹过的都会如云烟 

A2:我们的脚步呢 我们的追随呢 我们的拥抱呢 


我们是混合的 我们是交错的 如果你们都变了 还有我们呢 

如果你们都改变 改变的只有你的尊严 

岁月如风声吹过 吹过的都会如云烟 

经过我们的身边 留下坚硬的谎言 

经过我们的侧脸 那些拳头的语言 

如果我们都改变 坚硬的穿透了谎言 

如果我们去那些 只有潮湿的语言 

潮湿的语言 潮湿的语言 

如果生命只是过程 我怎会如此的失落 



Hard to get my thick German accent? Here's the transcript!

Hey fellow photographer, how's it going? I'm Michael Zelbel.


Today I would like to show you
how you can make photos of a musician.
The musician is giving a concert in a small pub or small venue.
I want you to make the photos in a way
so that it looks like the concert is on a big stage.


That could be your favorite local artist in a local pub or something.
The photos would be really charming for that artist.

Last week, one of our cousins dropped a comment
under last week's video which said:
"You know, you are always shooting this girls,
but I cannot do that because in my country
this sort of photography would be illegal."
This cousin cannot do bikini- or nude photography, or beauty photography.
I thought, there are so many topics that are fun to photograph.
Why not show some of them. Today I'm into music.


I think shooting in a small venue like a pub is just lovely
because over there I'm in the front row.
I'm in contact with the musician. The musician is
throwing me special looks and makes special moves just for me
if I'm nice and if I cheer them up.
I can even use speedlights,
which I could not do in a big concert hall.


Big concert halls, they require me to be an
accredited photographer working for a music magazine.
I can only be there alone. I cannot use speedlights.
I can only shoot 3 songs or something.
You know, shooting in a pub is much more fun.


In any concert, I have to come with
super lightweight gear, super slim gear.
I cannot setup lightstands or something.
You know, that would be really asking for trouble.


So all I have is one speedlight, and, fortunately,
I have an assistant who is holding that speedlight.
In our case, this assistant is Cousin Jade.
She is holding the speedlight which is a very small speedlight,
not very strong, it's just guide number 43 and
she is just holding it up into the air, into the direction of the band.


Basically what we do is: We have a stage.
It's a pretty small stage. It got some lighting and everything.
It got musicians in the middle of the stage.
I'm shooting from one side of the stage towards the band
and Cousin Jade will go to the other side,
to hold the speedlight over there.


Or, if I change sides and I shoot from that side of the stage,
then Cousin Jade will change to the other side.
There is always a big distance between camera and
the speedlight which contributes to the lighting
so that the lighting setup is nicely 3-dimensional.


The ISO is pushed quite hight, because on stage it's very dark.
The shutter speed should be around 1/125th or faster
so that the action is sort of frozen.
Of course I'm shooting with open aperture.


So that is one trick: use a speedlight in a small pub.
Another trick would be: go low.
Go down to your knees and shoot upwards.
This does two things for you:
Point A it introduces a very good big stage feeling,
like you would be on a big stage where the artist is high up.


Another thing is, in a pub a lot of times there's
a lot of clutter in the background.
The walls don't look like a big stage and so on.
But if you go very low and shoot upwards,
then a lot of times you can avoid a lot of the clutter.
You are just shooting against the ceiling.
There is some lighting equipment hanging under the ceiling.
That is OK. So I would say, go down to your knees!
Shoot upwards! It will make your photos really really
different from everybody else's photos.


You can gel your speedlights to make the light a bit warmer.
That's up to your taste. Or you can use color gels.
All of that is fine in a concert.


Just if you now go and visit a concert,
don't forget your earplugs. It will be very loud.
And, yes, go there, have some fun.


Ok, that's it. Please click on the like-button. Click on the +1 button.
Please let me know if this sort of video,
this video about music photography instead of beauty,
is OK for you, if that is interesting for you.
Drop me a comment. Let me know if that
resonates with you, or if you just say:
"No, that's really not my thing. Don't bother me with that stuff!"
Alrighty! In any case: I wish you a lot of fun
with your photography and good light!


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