Back by popular demand! Last weeks Pic of the Week post went down really well so I thought I would do it again! That's usually what happens with a weekly blog but anyway. Side note, I'm actually writing this a day early. Your reading this on Thursday but I actually wrote this Wednesday night because I'm going straight out to the pub tonight (Thursday) to start the bank holiday. I don't drink that much. Ok i'm young. Ok I'm not that young! Anyway i'm writing this to a future version of you! I've just realised that's how all blog posts work. Your not actually here when I'm writing this! Moving on! Before we start this is a photography tech heavy blog post so if you just want to see pictures, then head back through my blog and I'll see you later. If your here to learn how I take some of my pics then buckle up because your in for a ride. Well a good read at least. Ok just a read...but you might learn something!
Lets begin shall we? First off why did I pick this image out to talk about from the two shows I did last week (see other blog posts for the pics from both shows). Erm, Ok confession time, I couldn't actually decide which picture to talk about this week so I sent them all to my friend and she chose this one as one of her favorites so I thought I'd talk about it. I take a lot of pics, sometimes its hard to pick out just one!
Why did I take this picture? So in this picture we have Ollie from Miss Misery (on the Left) playing the guitar of Connor from The Revenant (on the right). Seriously go and check out both bands, they might be the newer guys on the Andover scene but they have huge potential and will definitely go far. I will just add a side note in here and say that Connor bares a striking resemblance to one of my good friends, who shall remain nameless. First time I saw him I had to do a double take and had thought my mate had learned how to play the guitar and just not mentioned it.
I've digressed massively here! Why did I take this picture and pick it out to edit? So I was stood on a chair at this point at the side of the stage looking down over the crowd. This adds a bit of height to my images but also so I can see whats going on. Due to the size of the stage it can be a bit tricky to still get good shots of the bands when everyone is close to the front. So I saw that Connor was looking at the crowd while playing and I could tell he was going to do something. I think this has just come from years of shooting bands, I've learned to anticipate how the songs go and where people might do different things.
So as he walked forward towards Ollie and handed him his pic, I knew this was a moment I wanted to capture. The image above is actually just one out of 9 pictures from the same moment. Shooting digital gives me the ability to do this. I will often take multiple shots of the same thing/moment just to cover myself and make sure I am focusing on what I wanted to and don't mess it up! In this instance I wanted his face clearly in focus but also the pic clearly visible as it is the main point of the picture. This particular image was chosen out from the rest because the pic is most visible here and it is most obvious what is going on. Also because I thought it looked cool. Most of the time that's why I pick out a particular image!
So this is the original image before I did any editing. As I mentioned last time I shoot everything in RAW format. Refer back to #1 if your not familiar with what that means.
One thing I want to mention before I get into what settings I used. Flash! You'll notice that this image is very well lit. That's because 90% of the time I shoot with flash in the Rockhouse. You may of noticed if your there! Now most venues, especially bigger venues don't like you using a flash during the performance. It can be off putting. I agree, however, bigger venues are generally very well lit so no flash is not an issue. Due to the way the Rockhouse is actually built creates a bit of an issue for lighting. You will notice the low beams running across the ceiling. These limit where lights can actually go and results in a darker venue. Perfect for setting the mood for a show, nightmare for photography. The Railway in Winchester has a similar problem, if you've ever been there you'll understand.
Now the last thing I want to do is disrupt the show or put of a performer with a flash going off, but on the other hand I'm there to do a job, so its sort of a trade off. Everyone wants awesome pictures but with no flash all of my pictures will turn out looking like swiss cheese due to the amount of grain that would be in the images. I try and limit distracting people by using the minimum amount of flash I can get away with. I also mainly do bounce flash. You may of wondered why the flash on my camera is always pointed at the ceiling? Ok so direct flash, can cause big white spots (blow highlights) and also very harsh shadows on peoples faces. You can try this on a phone by the way. Give it a go, we've all come home from a night out with rubbish photos on our phone from using the flash. The ceiling and walls in the rock house are white. By bouncing the flash off this it spreads the light out over a bigger area and really softens it up. Creating much nicer looking images. I'm basically using my surroundings to my advantage and turning the room into a giant light modifier.
That was a lot about flash there! I'll go into it in more detail later, or as usual just go online and have a look. There's plenty of videos on YouTube explain all of this stuff!
Settings! So over a period of time shooting in the Rockhouse I've worked out settings for most situations. These are my general live music settings for this venue.
Shutter Speed 1/200th sec
As always this was shot on my Canon 5d MKiii with my 24-70mm lens attached. This particular image was shot at 30mm, so it was pretty wide. Well it was wide-ish.
As i mentioned last week I always tend to shoot music at f4 for gigs. It gives me more margin for error and more of the image is in focus. For example in this image, if it had been shot at f2.8 then the pic would of been blurry due to a shallower depth of field. (Google). 1/200th is the fastest I can shoot normally with a flash on my camera. I can shoot fast but you get black lines on your image. I'll explain why another time. Anyway I want to shoot as fast as possible to try and freeze that motion on stage. ISO 3200 because I'm trying to reduce the amount of flash power I need and balance this with a nice image. Refer to last week and the 'exposure triangle'. Basicly if I had a lower ISO you'd need more flash power to compensate.
The only thing I ever really change settings wise in the Rockhouse while shooting music is the flash compensation. I dial it up and down slightly depending on where I am in the room. I just kind of play it by ear and make changes on the fly. The flash is the only setting that is on automatic. It just makes it a lot easier for the camera to work out how much flash it needs depending on distance from subject and then I can adjust this accordingly. Just for your general wondering. My flash is usually on about 1/16th to 1/8th power so it can get proper bright if i need it to. My friend looked into it once when it went of on full power. Don't do that. He couldn't see for about ten minutes!
That's an awful lot of writing so far isn't it! I'm not even sure it all made sense to be honest! We'll stop here for a break for a bit because I'm starving. I'm going to pop to KFC quickly. Any body want anything?
Ok I'm back. I had a large boneless banquet with gravy in case you were wondering. Lets carry on!
So how did I edit this pic. Well you above you can see the settings I used. This picture worked a lot better in colour than it did it black and white. I really crush the black in my black and whites, as I mentioned last time. This would of meant the pic and the guitar would of been lost and as there the main focus of this image it made sense to leave it in colour. Every time I import a new set of images from the Rockhouse into light room, I sync a few of them up with the previous weeks pictures. This is to get a consistent colour across all of the pictures shot there. The venue hasn't changed colour so the pictures should generally look the same-ish.
The white walls and the flash can leave images looking cold or more blue so I boost the yellows and warmth of my colour images. I want them to have a warm cosey feel. Cosey is the wrong word but I cant think of an alternative! By the way, just because I sync the settings up for pictures doesn't mean I just edit one and then there all done. It doesn't work like that, If everything stayed the same in the shot then it would work but things change during music shows, lights, positioning etc. I will sync to get a colour match and then fully edit the image.
So for this one I've boosted my contrast and lowered my blacks down. This really makes the image pop to me. I'm a big fan of contrasty images. I've also lowered my highlights down using the sliding and the tone curve. Dragging that line to be more horizontal. This basicly reduces the whites or the glare on the image. The last think I want is for Connor to end up with a big bright splodge on his head!
Like I do with my black and whites I also lifted the tone curve up a bit at the bottom adding that grey layer over the image. Why. Not sure. I just like doing it at the moment!
So here's a final side by side before and after. I've basically brought out the detail more and boosted the colour/contrast. There's not a great deal i had to do in this image which proves that I got it right in the camera. Its always better to get it most of the way there straight out of the camera and then just enhance it later. So that's my style. It would be interesting to see how someone else would edit the same picture though. Maybe I'll leave a link to a raw file one day and see how anyone else edits it. Now there's an idea that i totally didn't think of myself!
Ok I'm going leave this blog here. Well done for making it this far if you have. This has taken me about 4 hours and a trip to KFC to finish and now my brain is hurting! Like, share, blah blah blah you know the drill. Leave a comment or just let me know what you think, in general, not just about this blog! I'll be back next week with another picture to go through. I might have to book the afternoon off work to write it because it takes so long! I'm gunno go send this to someone to proof read it while I go lie down!!