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Lesson 12 from: Getting Started in Music Photography with Red Bull Photographer Todd Owyoung

Todd Owyoung

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Lesson Info

12. Gear

Next Lesson: Location Scouting

Lesson Info


All right. Now let's get into the gear of music photography now in choosing cameras four live music photography, music photography In general, I prefer using full frame cameras because it's gonna give you the best image quality and especially at High I s O. Because the pixel pitch is going to be much larger than a P S C sensor. And so, whenever possible, using a full frame camera is gonna give you the best low light performance now, as far as what's in my bag right now. The two main cameras that I'm using for music photography are the Nikon Z seven and the Nikon D 8 50 The United NZ seven is not guns. New Mirrlees camera. It's a 45.7 megapixel sensor and the same for the Nikon D 8 50 The Z seven is an icon's mere list camera, offering the high res version in contrast to the neck on Z six. And it's a 45.7 megapixel sensor and is almost identical resolution to the neckline D A 50. Both are full frame cameras. The Nikon Z seven has the night Konzi mount, whereas the D A 50 has a Nikon F M...

ount and I can use lens across both systems because I can use the Nikon FTZ adapter to adapt the F Mount lenses to my C non bodies pretty easily. So there's no loss of any optical quality. It's basically just a hollow tube that accounts for the different flange mount distances. So I can use my example to 24 on the Z seven with adapter and have the same identical quality that I would within that kind. A 50 now in any system was gonna pros and cons of the systems. And for me, I'm using the Z seven about 99% of the time. I don't really use the Nikon D 50. Outside of really specific instances. Some advantages of May, when I might want to use the D A 50 over a Z seven is really bright conditions. When I want prefer that optical viewfinder over the E. F for mixed studio lighting, where because of the Z seven has E V f, it's gonna have a specific white balance that maybe I have the camera preset to my studio strobe white balance, and I want to maintain that for the raw files for ease of editing, I might have the pre set and I don't want the live you, for example, contrast ing with that experience. That's an instance where I might favour the G 8 50 you know, to have kind of a natural presentation where my eyes gonna just naturally and then but still have the files read and written. In a way, that's where the white balance is dialed in. In addition, you might prefer the DSLR format for more conventional grip for amore, you know, sort of larger, full sized body. If you prefer that, obviously the con of that is that it's gonna be a larger footprint, and it's gonna be a little heavier. And the weight and balance of 88 50 might be preferable. If you're using longer lens a zone option for me, you know I don't have huge hands. The grip of the G seven fits nicely. I like that. It's lightweight. It's a small footprint. Music photography working in a tight pit. It's a smaller camera. I like that. In addition, a huge benefit from me when I'm composing and using the C seven is the wider auto focus areas spread you basically have, you know, coverage across the entire frames. I can put the f dot you know, corner to corner and spill the composed extremely freely. So instead of being limited to a conventional diesel, are a spread where it's focused in the center of the frame. I can pretty much have almost complete control and freedom over where I put the a f dot. So that is a huge, huge boon for me. Actually found that use NZ seven has allowed me to compose more freely and has changed the way composed images because I'm able to put that F sensor closer to the edge and really maximize the space around my subjects. In addition, one personal pro for me and using the Newseum on lenses is that the sharpness is really for me on the next level compared to more conventional ends. Just the next generation optics allow for edged at sharpness, and for me, when I shoot wide open 99% of the time, it's a huge, huge advantage. Now let's jump into the lenses for music photography. For me, there basically three general ranges. I use ultra wide. This is the Nikon 8 to 15 millimetre here on this is a great it's a fisheye zoom. At eight millimeters, you have a circular fisheye and, ah, full frame fisheye at 15 millimeters and even it, um f range of 35245 It's still fast enough, especially shooting at a wider angle where I'm able to use this even a little light, which is a really nice option. And give me give me just a little bit of a different look. 14 to 24 is the lens that I love. We'll talk more about these specifically later on the images that make, but this image is a high impact lens. At millimeters, you get a lot of perspective, distortion and a look that is very different than your mid range. During, for example, in the middle range, I have the Nikon 24 to 70 f In addition, not pictured, here is the F four version, but this is the newest lens in my bag, and one I really love again because the sharpness is just on the next level. For me in my use, the performance is really, really special. In addition, in the mid range, I'm using the 50 millimeter F 18 for a seamount and the 35 millimeter F one emphysema also, and these are just a nice option for lower lights venues where you might want, you know, the extra stop in 1/3 that that offers over your F 28 zooms. Finally running out the kit, I use the neck on 72 200 the lens and for especially lengthy 300 millimeter F four p f lens. And this is a Fresno design lens that allows for a lighter and more compact design. So in contrast to a more conventional lens, it's really small. It's actually not much bigger, Um, Lens, who decide from your midrange zoom your 24 to 70 and it's a great lightweight option to just have my kid. If I need to shoot from soundboard, I could have that lens pair of camera even keep that combo up a soundboard and, um, satellite option that is even handhold herbal because of the light size. Now for shooting small venues, I wouldn't bring this entire kit that would be way, way overkill, especially when with a 20 millimeter, you're gonna be you might not even have the framing the two want for lead singer is going to be far too tight in a small venue on and pretty much unusable. So for shooting is small venues, I'm going to use 10 toward using the wider angle lenses. That's the 8 to 15 fisheye the 14 to 24 the 24 to 70 and maybe even just that, In addition to the primes of 35 lower light situations in a small venue where you're shooting up against a stage, you're probably not gonna have cause to use the 7200 because it just, you know, 70 millimeters at the mid range. For the 24 7 he's gonna be just fine, that short telephoto that you want. You're not gonna need too much more than that on, and it's gonna free up space in your bag. You don't care that for larger venues, I might bring all of lenses with the exception of these two faster primes, and that's an instance where it's a lot of gear with a lot of glass to carry around. But every lens really serves its own purpose, so I use the fisheye the to 24 24 to 77 200 the syringe of millimeter specifically for music festivals. If I'm shooting for the production for the promoter, I would probably use all my F zooms the 14 to 24 24 to 70 7200 and I used the mil. Uh, as well. I probably tend to using the to 70 and the 7200 more heavily just because for festival stages there a lot higher than your normal venue stage and you're not really gonna shooting Whiting too much. I would still bring the 14 to 24 just because if I'm shooting for the motor, I want those wide crowd shots for the fan experience aspect of music photography. But it probably rely on Theseventies 200 is my main body and even supplement with the 300 millimeter. In addition, I want to run through some examples for live music photography with these lenses and kind of show you the effect you get using them in different scenarios. Now let's take a look at the ultra wide samples, which includes the Nikon 14 to 24 F 28 This is shot of Paul Stanley of Kiss, and this is Shot at about 19 millimeters and instance where I'm writing to the stage, and thankfully, he's, you know, Paul Stanley is a consummate performer. Ends is giving me plenty eye contact. It doesn't look heavily distorted, and it's not. At 14 it's a little zoomed in and but still captures plenty of the stage lighting and the production, which is an instance of one of the benefits of using an ultra wide angle. In addition, I use Whiting was a lot for shots like this that established the production and the venue here. This is shot of millimeters. It still gives a more rectilinear look as opposed to the fisheye, but it's an extremely wide feel the view, and so you get to take in kind of the whole venue. This is a shot of Green Day and another instance of the 14 24 shot around by 20 millimeters On an instance where you can see again, Capture is both a performer of the stage and the stage lighting kind of all pretty naturally in one look. This is a crowd shot from a Rusko and again showing the crowds. And I love getting close up and using the perspective distortion of an ultra wide angle to show and to emphasize fans when they're there having this exciting, thrilling experience for live music. Another example. This is Justin, transfer of the clam rock band Semi Precious Weapons and that instance one shooting in a really small club. This is pops and socially Illinois, every tiny club and on a side, the small side stage. But an instance where Justin was crawling towards me. I'm in between these two wedges and shooting at millimeters. You can really get this kind of larger than life in your face perspective using an ultra wide like this again. This is a girl talk using a wide angle when you may not be able to compose freely. This again was shot with a mono pod, Um, trigger remotely, and so I couldn't compose extremely tightly been ultra wide angle that me loosely frame it. These making educated guests make the frame papa camera down from the mono pod and, because it was a wide angle, ultra wide have enough feel the view to still easily nailed performer in the center of frame. Now it's gonna take a look at a few examples of fisheye lenses for live music photography. Here is a fisheye version of that reverse shot with Jason. I'm probably about three feet behind him, and this is just having the camera overhead in my hands. And you can see this perspective distortion and this optical discussion of the stage that curvature And then, um, really distorts Jason in relation to Tully and current stage left on stage, right, respectively. Here. Here's another shot from massive square garden. Ah, this is another kind of production shot, but you used to show the scale of a venue. And I love showing using lenses like the fish I for this effect because it really captures that, you know, kind of 1 80 degree look off. Feel the view, and it can really be special for showing a venue and what it's like to see a sold out show out of a large venue like this. This is the IRadio Music Festival and another example of how nicely fisheye lenses capture that production feel when you're shooting for promoter or the sponsor, or the organizer of an event like this as an official photographer. This is National Stadium and in D. C and, ah, look from the nosebleeds in another shot, where a Fish islands is really essential in and kind of key for showing what this sold out stadium looks like. So I love using what would otherwise be. I'd consider especially specialty lens for music photography like this. Alright, looking at mid range examples and a lot of these air kind of your more standard look. Obviously, Mitterrand June covers everything from, you know, wide angle to a short telephoto, and it's kind of my personal bread and butter lens. If there's one lens that I'm using, you know that I don't switch from its the mid range zoom. For most instances, this is Radiohead from their 2009 tour, and you know, I shot around 24 millimeters. It's wide enough, but not heavily distorted, which is kind of what you want with a midrange zoom. It's going to be utilitarian. It's not gonna be too specific in the look, but give you just a super useful range. Justin Timberlake suffer at radio. Another instance. Paul around 24 millimeters where it's going to be enough to cover those wider angles get you. These production shots show plenty of lights for a massive, massive production like this, you know, and likewise here, yet a little bit of the crowd. It's wide enough you get the production screens in the back on get plenty of detail without being like an ultra wide pushing these band members back farther without losing some of that impact. This is childish. Gambino again. This is probably at 70 millimeters. And here's where. The versatility wearing contrast, some of the wider shots we just looked at where a 24 at 70. You're gonna get a little bit of isolation, de focused elements in the background little bouquet that's coming through that you might expect more from a telephoto. But again, the short tele photo of the Minaret zoom. It just makes it so useful because you pretty much cover almost all your bases with that one lens. Taylor Swift, Another shot where you can get a little bit of isolation. The backgrounds d focus a little bit, but just an instance where this lenses ranges so useful to me for live music shot of mega deaf again this is about 35 millimeters. Pretty front up front and close to the stage for the day Mustaine. And just kind of here this range to 50 or so it is gonna give you really high impact images. They're gonna get a lot of detail here catching days, you know, hair whips, and kind of the emotion is putting into this guitar solo. Is Kanye West, um, again, Not too wide, not to telephoto, but capturing a really natural 16. 50 millimeters right to the front of stage. This is a production shot shot with mid range zoom and send instance where you know around 35 to 50 is gonna be great from shooting for the soundboard and really useful example of how a mid range can play in your kids. All right. Moving on to telephoto samples. These air images shot with the Nikon 72 200 the millimeters f four. He's that shot of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and probably shot around 135 millimeters on again. Plenty of isolation without losing context for the show. Santa Smith. This is shot at 70 millimeters. So it looks a little wider, but an instance where that 17 to 2 hundreds gonna be super useful without being too punched in for your subjects, you can still get a little bit of depth and perspective. And in addition, aside from four different performers, here's a crowd shot shot with this 7200 where you'll be able to kind of zoom in, get a little tighter and on elements in the crowd. For example, this is shot at the rave in Milwaukee and photograph from the balcony at the base of the front of house and an instance where you focus on individual in the crowd, get a tighter shot, kind of capture the atmosphere, even with a telephoto, says Fancy, Graham photographed ATS Gove ball in the New York City and just a kind of classic festival photo where that stages might be a little taller. You're gonna have plenty of haze and production and use one a little isolation, and the 7200 is gonna be a go to festival lens because of that. Now, this is an example of the 300 millimeters. So I'm shooting for Jason Aldean. His management. They might want this flatter shot where It's very clean. There's no distortion from perspective, and this is something that they could also cut outs, put on a shirt, put it on merchandise or use it in a more commercial capacity on. And it's very easy for them to use that, um and and use the image at this is a photo of Travis Barker. Blink 1 82 in an instance. Where. 7200 Just key for closing the distance between you, who might be in the photo pit and the drummer on stage. You know, Travis is at the back of the stage, um, the farthest member of the band and yet with its 7200 and close that gap and still make a high impact image. Bruno Mars. This is probably at about 200 millimeters. You're getting a lot of isolation on by, um, just able to separate the performer from the background, get a really clean shot, almost kind of a portrait shot without the clutter of the production necessary, or what's behind him, and the nice example of using a telephoto to get that isolation. So for carrying around what's arguably a lot of kit at a music festival or when I'm doing tour photography, I use a belt system. The brand I use think tank. It's super comfortable, unlike a backpack that we talked about fourth photo etiquette, it's gonna be close to my person. It's not going to swing around and hit somebody of him in a crowded pit. Aiken move around really quickly, nimbly, nothing swinging around on. And so for me, using two cameras, double strap, rapid strap and then the think tank belt system is the ideal way to carry a large amount of kit like this. So this is the general belt set up that I use for think tank. It's the pouch for the 7200. And to all those supplementary pouches I might use, for example, theseventies to 70 on my two main bodies and then have ah, mil or the two ultra wides in the pouches that against switch to. So for a typical shoot, this is probably what they wear, um, again, 24 to 70 7200 like the set up because I can keep the shorts, the straps short. They're basically at hip height. If there longer, it might be more comfortable to grab, but you're gonna be having the opportunity where the camera's going to swing around more. Um, I usually will try to keep one power tree so that if we need to change lenses, drop that on and then simply switched to the other one. You and and I do fill up all the lens wells basically, but you're gonna have to kind of juggle lenses, which I don't find ideal. So if you can have one mawr pouch than you need, it's gonna allow you to, you know, double lens really easily switch in this case, announce it and then get on your way really quickly. So that's my preferred way of shooting. Um, with this and it's super functional built system makes you look like a supermodel. So there's that benefit, and there's no easier, more comfortable way to carry for me. It's music time for my gear, then a system like this. So outside the main lenses and camera bodies that use something that I always have with me on tour at a festival, whatever will be having option of it is a 1.4 tele converter. This is just a nice, really compact way to extend your reach if you need it At 1.4, it's gonna basically w apertura. So going from an F to a zoom, you're going Teoh F four, which is kind of a reasonable trade off relatively as opposed to using a two s converter or in the 1.7, we're gonna keep a little more light. I think it's a reasonable trade off between reach and losing light as you would with Tele Converter. In addition, I'll always have a speed light with me just because you never know when you might need Teoh shooting a situation either backstage that say the band's doing, you know, a cheers or shots before the show. It's happening in complete darkness. My preference isn't to use flash, but it's going to give you options and that you might not have if you're shooting only a meat lighting. One thing that I suggest all music photographers have is a flashlight in your bag. Obviously, concerts happen in relative darkness, and if you drop something in the pit, you need to find something having a great you know, a good flashlight that you can use in this reliable, something that's you know can be essential to you working. It's the Nikon W R R 10 wireless transmitter and remote, and this is something that will use when I'm using the cameras, either for treating them remotely from positioning them on stage. Or, more likely, if I'm using a mono pod to have a camera held overhead where I can, you know until screen down on the Z seven, for example, and then still trigger the camera. And the shutter with remote here on gets done via radio. So this it's like super reliable and extremely easy to use. And it's these take up no space. They wait nothing. And so it's a nice option. Even if I don't know that I'm going to be using, um, trigger, it's keeping in the bag. In addition, a lens cloth and a lens pan are two items that every photographer should have in the bag. You never know when you get your lens could use a little cleanup and especially the music photographer. If I'm photographing a band that spring beer or champagne or water on the crowd, it's gonna get on me and for for me, I'm generally gonna hold the shots and not show shy away from getting my cameras soaked because that makes for great music photography. But you have to be prepared to sacrifice your gear a little bit. I don't use personally. I don't use protective filters over my lenses. I like using them. Bear natural. It's gonna be less instances of flare and ghosting if you don't use a filter. Um, but you know, it means you're going to clean off the lens elements a little more if your cameras get spread by beer and one piece of a gear that I advise all music retired issues are earplugs. He's my custom earplugs. So they're specifically mold with my ears. If you could put it in yours, they're not gonna fit and their individual right and left ear plugs. And these are custom earplugs. So they this particular brand you get ones that are just solid on block sound, as they would with solid material. But these actually include filters by automatic research that attenuate sound and, um, or even way. And so these air considered musicians earplugs. Um, and he's actually filters. You can change, so these are the maximum strength. I think These are the 25 decibel reducing versions There are, I think, 15 maybe 12 decimal, reducing versions as well, if you want a lower level of sound reduction. In addition, have a card case filled with extra executed cards. I personally just happen to use 64 gigabyte versions you could get away with. Smaller for using. If you're shooting just for an editorial shoot, you're not shooting 32 gigs, maybe not even 16. But for me, if I'm shooting a festival or shooting tour photography, where we're shooting for the entire set, or even all day, having 64 gig is a nice balance for me. I don't have to generate the shoot. Our change cards between for a single set 64 is generally good for one concert. But for a festival where you're shooting, maybe you know dozens of bands in a day. Obviously, more memory cards are better. It's about obviously, with electron equipment, batteries important, and I always I'm sure, to keep lots of extras on hand, especially for four different festivals. When you're shooting all day, you might be shooting from noon to midnight. Having extra batteries is gonna insure you just keep shooting all day long. Finally, in my tour bag, I keep all the credentials for the artists that I'm working for. I'll keep them even if I'm not in the bag. Even not on tour, the particular artist is because you never know what you might need them. In addition, I'll keep the previous year's credentials in my bag simply because even if I'm jumping on a tour for the new year and have the last year's credential, it makes it easier just because I can show a security guard. You know, I'm crew is going to production to get my credential. Here's last year's pass, and that's generally good enough, as opposed to not showing it with any credential. And having called tour manager or otherwise trying to get in just makes it easier. Just like any photography job. When you're preparing for live music, you want a tale, your kit to what you're shooting and for specific for live music. You want a tale, your kit for the venues and the situations you might expect to encounter. So for a small venue, you're gonna tend towards the more wide angle range. And for larger productions and festivals and shows, you're gonna tend toward more telephoto ranges of your kit.

Ratings and Reviews

Alexandra U

I highly reccomend this class for any one who would like to get started or dip their toes in the concert photography scene. This class has many useful tips and trick for any level of photographer, not just beginners. I have been in the music scene for over 10 years and I was able to gather so much information in every chapter. Watching this video boosted up my confidence as a photographer because it validated that I am already succeeding in my concert career. Thank you for this amazing stream. It sparked my creative soul once again.

Kris Comer

Wow, this was awesome! I have been a concert photographer for almost 3 years now and I still learned some great tips! I loved that he covered different ideas for promo shots which is one of my weaknesses. Any beginner should definitely check out this course! It is straight and to the point with all of the most important steps.

Mark Balmer

This is a really great course! I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in this type of photography. It is presented in an easy to understand way. Todd gives clear and informative tips and shows how to set up lights, poses etc! I found it very helpful, and will definitely put what i've learned to work. Thanks, Mark

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