The other day I wrote about concert photography in a small venue. I had another chance to photograph my friends during their gig at a local restaurant/bar. Having made some notes from the last time I did the photo shoot, there were a few things I wanted to try.
The first thing I thought about was my lens selection and how I would carry my gear. The last time I used only a wrist strap and I didn't carry any extra lenses. My office is located across the parking lot and so when I wanted a different len, I left the venue and headed back to my office. I knew I didn't want to do that this time. I wanted to be able to change lenses quickly, but I didn't want to carry anything bulky and I didn't want to leave a camera bag lying around the floor of a bar. I decided to wear the camera across my body with my BlackRapid strap and carry my Tom Bihn Side Effect with two additional lenses. In that small bag, which I also wore crossbody, I was able to carry two extra batteries, a lens cloth, pen and pad, my ID and cash. My 75mm f/1.8 was on the E-M1 body and in the bag were my 17mm f/1.8 and 45mm f/1.8. The Side Effect can also be worn like a fanny pack if desired. I was very comfortable and I was able to easily switch lenses. (Check out my video on the Perception Tablet where at about the 13:45 mark I talk about the Side Effect and I demonstrate how it can be worn.)
Before the shoot, I checked all of my settings. I've been shooting a lot of video lately for the blog with the camera on a tripod and therefore my image stabilization has been off. If there is one thing I needed shooting wide open in a dark bar, handheld, it's image stabilization! I made sure everything was set the way I wanted it before taking my first shot.
Here are a couple other tips that might come in handy for your shoot:
- Check your histogram - I check my first few shots to make sure I'm in the right ballpark for exposure. I can't always rely on the small LCD. You can choose to have the histogram constantly display, but I find it distracting, so I just check it when I need to. You should get in the habit of checking it after you make any adjustments to your settings as well.
- Check your photos for sharpness by zooming in on your photo through the LCD. If your photos are too soft, make some adjustments. Better to find out during the shoot while you can still make corrections vs after the shoot when you will have very few, if any, usable shots.
- Play around with your exposure settings to get some different effects
- If your camera has art filters, give them a try. I use a custom B&W setting, but due to the harsh red, blue and green lights at the venue, I was getting some strange hues in my images, so I switched to the monotone setting. Because I was shooting with RAW + JPEG, I still had the full color image if I wanted to switch to that later.
- Take photos of other things besides the band. Foot pedals, speaker grills, bar glasses, and instruments all make interesting subject matter and can contribute to your story.
- Take photos from different angles. Get low and shoot up. I was lucky enough to be at a venue that had a balcony and was able to shoot down at the band.
Here are some photos from the night's shoot: