Last weekend I was given the privilege and rare opportunity to photograph the Goo Goo Dolls during a performance. I was their photographer! How cool is that?! My two absolutely favorite things in life, live music and photography. Photographing a live show was definitely on my bucket list but I can tell you it's not for the faint of heart. I really went into it thinking, how hard could it be? I've photographed people my entire career, I come from a music background, I have photographed horses jumping, this is just some guys with instruments. Piece of cake, I thought. Wow, was I wrong! My hat is off to those who do concert photography for a living. #notquittingmydayjob
Being all this is so easy, I did NO research on concert photography prior to the show - big mistake! Here are a couple of things I learned (too late) Definitely don't use a single focus point, it didn't even occur to me to make that setting change and I couldn't for the life of me see the little tiny black focus box through the viewfinder. Another thing, allow your camera to help you. Although I shot the show in manual I think I could have allowed myself a little help from the camera by using aperture priority? Lastly, shoot a stop or two under to compensate for the spot lights. I was constantly metering but the light changes every 2 seconds and the spots on their faces were intense. Oh, and wear ear plugs. my ears were ringing at the end of the show. Also, by the end I suddenly became very aware of where I was standing so not to be distracting to the audience with my bright hair. I have no idea why but before the show I asked each member of the band if they minded if I took their picture. They probably thought I was nuts... why else was I there? I don't know, it seemed like the polite thing to do.
I was so immersed in the experience, Pierre asked me what tunes they played. LOL, even after seeing the set list I have no idea. I remember hearing IRIS, Naked, and the beautiful song John wrote for his wife but other than that I don't remember. They did sound great. As always, whether the venue is big or small they are always there to put on a good show.
Anyway, many lessons learned, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Hopefully, the next time they have me come to a show they won't ask me to leave the camera home.
From an artistic perspective, one thing I tried to do going in was not only get some cool concert shots but also capture these guys being the artists that they are. Is it possible to create a beautiful portrait out of a concert photo? You be the judge.
I hope you enjoy a few (a ton) of my personal favorites.
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