Repeatedly Capturing the Same Shot

Celestial Lights

Celestial Lights

I have had the fortunate opportunity to be on a few tours taking photos of the concerts for various projects. These photos have been published in tour books, tour programs, calendars, printed as 8x10s, even put on coffee mugs and other items. I can honestly say this is my favorite type of photography, both for the fun of the environment and the challenge of capturing great photos in difficult lighting situations.

Most of the concerts I have captured, I have had the coveted “all access” pass that has allowed me to shoot through the entire concert. The press and other media typically only get the first three songs and are limited to the pit area in the front of the show. I would love to have media access to more local shows, but I must admit full access for the shows is hard to beat. Along with having more songs and lighting situations, the unique angles from back stage, on stage and even the wide view from various vantage points in the venue.

I often get asked why I keep shooting the same scenes I have already captured in a previous concert.  When I get the chance to shoot the same concert on more than one night, I will review the photos I took from the previous shoot and see what I can get better.  When I reshoot a concert I am typically trying to accomplish one of a few things.

Those Goofy Expressions

Sorry to tell you performers, but when you sing, though it may look great in video, sometimes when stopped in a still frame you can look downright goofy.  Exprssions that coincide with emotional vocals, whether sincere or energetic, can come out looking pretty funny when caught in a moment of time.  I usually try to solve this by shooting in bursts of 3 or more frames; but, even then I may get a great scene with no useable expressions.  Being able to shoot on subsequent night(s) allows me to go for a better expression on a killer scene.

Better Angles

When you get to know certain artists and even their lighting directors, you often can start to predict the best placement for certain shots.  Yet, no matter how familiar you are, you will never be in the right place for a shot every time.  Though most shows have some element of spontenaity each night, the bulk of the show follws a set that is choreographed for order, lighting and even positioning on the stage.  Having seen a show once and captured in the best that I can, the next night I can go predictively to a location that will best capture a certain song, pose or lighting situation knowing that it is coming.

Wide versus Tight

Everyone has their preference when it come to wide angle versus closeup and even extreme closeup.  As a photographer I have my biases of course, and often what I think looks great isn’t necessarily the shot that “sells” for the fans.  I tend to lean towards shots that incorporate the lighting for unique looks, at times minimalizing the artists in the scene.  Most fans of course what to see more detail of their favorite artist, and some want to be so close they can count the pores on his/her face.  In reality, all of these can be great shots, so I try to shoot as much variety as possible to give me the widest variety of options for final publication.

Shoot ’em All, Sort ’em Out Later

So whatever your preference may be, in today’s world of digital photography there is no reason to not shoot as many photos as possible and pick out the best ones later.  Sure, you may have a lot of data to capture and store, but in the end storage space is relatively cheap.  Weigh the cost of storage against the value of getting “the” shot(s) that everyone loves in the end.  What is the cost of having not captured that shot because you were being stingy on your shots taken and time taking them?

Canon 40D, EFS 17-55, 1/60 at f/5.6 and 640 ISO
see it larger on flickr