12 Should-Know Digicam Settings for Live performance Pictures

Essential settings for concert photography

Struggling to find out the precise live performance pictures settings for stunning photos of musicians, bands, and even symphonies? You’ve come to the precise place.

Deciding on the right digicam settings is a key a part of capturing superior live performance images, particularly in low-light conditions. When you get your settings proper, the outcomes shall be spectacular: crisp, clear, and stuffed with element. However if you happen to get them improper? Your photos will look blurry, disagreeable, and simply all-around dangerous.

That’s why, on this article, I’m going to share 12 settings for live performance pictures. These are the precise digicam settings I exploit in my very own live performance capturing, so you already know they work. (And I promise: They’ll enable you enhance your photos and your profession!)

Let’s dive proper in.

The very best live performance pictures settings, briefly

Concert photography settings

Earlier than we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a second to assessment my go-to settings for live performance pictures. When you’re desirous to seize your digicam and head to a gig tonight, these settings will web you strong outcomes:

  • RAW format
  • Guide mode
  • A large aperture
  • A fairly quick shutter velocity
  • A excessive ISO
  • Picture stabilization
  • Auto White Steadiness
  • Spot metering
  • Again-button AF
  • Burst mode

Consider this record as your live performance pictures cheat sheet. It’ll get you about 80% of the best way – however to actually shine on this difficult area, you should perceive when to fine-tune your settings, you’ll want to grasp why these settings are so essential and what they really do, and also you’ll additionally have to be taught a couple of extra digicam settings to think about.

Additionally, all the time do not forget that each live performance is exclusive. Lighting circumstances can change from one second to the subsequent, and what works for a high-energy rock live performance might not be ideally suited for a subdued jazz efficiency. Nonetheless, by dialing in these key settings, you’ll be effectively in your option to capturing stellar photos that carry the stage to life.

The 12 live performance pictures settings everybody ought to know

Seeking to degree up your images of rock concert events, symphonies, and the whole lot in between? Listed below are the settings that I like to recommend you bear in mind whereas photographing:

1. Shoot in RAW format

Concert photography settings

Right here’s your first live performance pictures setting, and it’s a giant one:

All the time, all the time, all the time shoot in RAW.

When you shoot in JPEG, your digicam will robotically add processing, equivalent to distinction, saturation, and sharpness. And whereas it’d look good, it’ll restrict your post-production freedom, so that you received’t be capable of additional improve your live performance images.

Then again, if you happen to shoot in RAW, the digicam received’t course of your photograph in any respect. That means, you may change parameters equivalent to publicity, white steadiness, saturation, distinction, and readability lengthy after you hit the shutter button.

(In different phrases: When you’re cautious and deliberate along with your modifying, you can also make your images look so much higher!)

2. Use Guide or Aperture Precedence mode

The Rolling Stones Concert photography settings
The Rolling Stones
Nikon D800 | 185mm | f/4 | 1/320s | ISO 1600

Once I began off doing live performance pictures, I used Aperture Precedence mode. I’d dial within the aperture, my digicam would set the shutter velocity accordingly, and I’d hit the shutter button.

And on the whole, Aperture Precedence works effectively. It’s nice for freshmen as a result of it partially automates the publicity course of, supplying you with one much less factor to fret about.

However after capturing for some time, I acknowledged that solely Guide mode would give me the flexibleness I used to be after. I wished to set the aperture, shutter velocity, and ISO – after which change every setting on the fly based mostly on my necessities.

So relying in your degree of expertise and luxury, choose certainly one of these two choices. Beginning with Aperture Precedence and dealing as much as Guide could make sense, although if you happen to’re already conversant in Guide mode, you would possibly check it out and see if you should utilize it successfully immediately.

Professional tip: When you do select Guide mode, ensure that to ceaselessly test your histogram to make sure your publicity is right!

3. Use your lens’s widest aperture setting

Concert photography settings

Struggling to resolve which lens to make use of for live performance pictures? I all the time give the identical recommendation: Use quick lenses and shoot them broad open.

Set your aperture to the smallest f-number your lens permits, which provides you with the largest aperture opening. That means, probably the most doable gentle hits your sensor.

A large aperture is particularly necessary in low-light live performance pictures. If doable, shoot with an f/2.8, f/1.8, f/1.4, or f/1.2 lens.

When you’re a newbie on a price range, I’d advocate grabbing a 50mm f/1.8 lens, which is affordable, contains a broad most aperture, and presents surprisingly good picture high quality.

4. Use a quick shutter velocity

Miley Cyrus Concert photography settings
Miley Cyrus
Nikon D800 | 340mm | f/4.8 | 1/320s | ISO 1600

Have you ever ever been to a live performance the place the artist was operating and leaping from one facet of the stage to the opposite?

Such a motion makes for some nice pictures – however to freeze such motion, you could use a quick shutter velocity.

Typically, I set my shutter velocity to 1/200s or sooner (and relying on the extent of motion, it’s possible you’ll wish to push this even greater.) Sure concert events will can help you get away with a slower velocity, equivalent to 1/160s, nevertheless it’s typically higher to err on the facet of warning and go greater slightly than decrease, even if you happen to’re compelled to extend your ISO because of this. Talking of which:

5. Increase your ISO

Concert photography settings

The upper your ISO, the much less gentle you want for a correct publicity – and in live performance pictures, the place gentle is mostly restricted, this can be a key setting to get proper.

Your digicam’s ISO vary seemingly begins at 100. However if you happen to’re capturing a low-light live performance, I’d advocate kicking this as much as 1600, 3200, and even 6400. In any other case, your photographs will find yourself far too darkish (otherwise you’ll be compelled to drop your shutter velocity, which is able to introduce blur).

Sadly, a excessive ISO does include a major tradeoff: picture noise.

In different phrases, as you push your ISO from 400 to 800 to 1600, you begin to get little flecks of colour and light-weight that look fairly dangerous. The specifics will rely in your digicam (trendy sensors do an excellent job of minimizing high-ISO noise!), however it’s best to all the time be cautious when boosting the ISO. Solely increase it when completely needed, and be conscious of your specific digicam’s high-ISO capabilities.

It could assist to spend a while capturing take a look at photographs at varied ISOs, then magnifying the pictures in your pc and evaluating the noise ranges in your photos. Additionally observe you could generally salvage noise-heavy photos with noise discount throughout post-processing, or you may convert your information to black and white for a grittier, noir-type look.

6. Activate picture stabilization

Concert photography settings

Trendy digicam gear presents numerous tech to make our lives simpler, and picture stabilization is a kind of fantastic developments. Out there in lots of at present’s lenses and a few (largely high-end) mirrorless cameras, picture stabilization helps to counteract the consequences of digicam shake so you may preserve your information trying tack-sharp.

Think about you’re at a live performance and attempting to shoot in low-light circumstances. In case your palms shake, you shoot whereas panning, otherwise you get bumped by an viewers member or one other photographer, you threat introducing blur into your photos, even if you happen to’re working at a fairly quick shutter velocity.

Flip in your digicam or lens’s picture stabilization, nevertheless, and it’ll compensate for minor digicam actions. In truth, it will possibly make a noticeable distinction within the sharpness of your images, and it’ll actually enhance your consistency.

Undecided whether or not your digicam or lens presents picture stabilization? This function could be labeled in another way relying in your gear. For example, camera-based picture stabilization is also known as IBIS (in-body picture stabilization), whereas lens-based picture stabilization goes by a bunch of acronyms like IS, VR, OS, OSS, or VC. When unsure, do a little bit of Googling!

Professional tip: It’s necessary to do not forget that whereas picture stabilization might help with digicam shake, it received’t freeze the movement of a performer leaping across the stage. For that, you’ll nonetheless want a quick shutter velocity!

7. Use spot metering

Atari Teenage Riot Concert photography settings
Atari Teenage Riot
Nikon D700 | 50mm | f/1.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 1600

Spot metering limits your digicam’s publicity readings to the middle of the scene – which lets you decide the publicity based mostly on a small topic (e.g., a face). It really works particularly effectively when your topic and background are in another way lit.

When capturing concert events, the artist will typically be lit by a highlight whereas the remainder of the stage stays darkish. So right here’s what you do:

First, change your digicam to identify metering mode.

Then place the artist’s face in the midst of your viewfinder and memorize the really helpful publicity settings.

When you’re utilizing Guide mode, you may dial within the settings, then compose with out worrying about fluctuating meter readings. When you’re utilizing Aperture Precedence, you’ll have to lock the publicity; that means, you don’t find yourself with assorted exposures because the performers bounce across the body.

When you don’t like spot metering and it’s supplying you with dangerous outcomes, you may attempt your digicam’s matrix/evaluative metering mode. The digicam will take a light-weight studying at a number of factors within the scene, and this will work – however you’ll wish to be looking out for overexposed faces, particularly when the background is darkish.

8. Use the center autofocus level

Zola Jesus concert photography settings
Zola Jesus
Nikon D700 | 50mm | f/1.8 | 1/200s | ISO 1600

Do you know that completely different autofocus factors function completely different ranges of accuracy?

It’s true. Peripheral autofocus factors are inclined to work positive in good gentle, however the efficiency weakens as the sunshine drops. Whereas the heart autofocus level stays efficient in each good gentle and dangerous.

That’s why I like to recommend you employ the central focus level in low-light conditions. It’ll be probably the most correct, and it’ll make sure you get the sharpest outcomes, it doesn’t matter what the artist is doing on stage.

When you don’t need the artist to take a seat smack-dab within the heart of the body, you’ll want to make use of a focus-and-recompose approach; merely push your shutter button midway right down to give attention to the artist’s face – it will lock focus – then modify your composition till you get the specified framing. When you’ve nailed each focus and composition, press the shutter button the remainder of the best way.

Concert photography settings

Notice: To make use of this focus-and-recompose approach, you’ll have to set your digicam to One-Shot AF, also called AF-S. In any other case, the digicam will focus repeatedly when you reframe your image.

(You can even arrange back-button focus, which many shooters – myself included! – love. With back-button AF, you employ a button on the rear of your digicam to lock focus, then use the shutter button to take the shot.)

9. Use Auto White Steadiness

Skunk Anansie Concert photography settings
Skunk Anansie
Nikon D700 | 85mm | f/3.5 | 1/500s | ISO 1600

White steadiness combats undesirable colour casts in your scene, and it’s necessary to make use of if you’d like handsome images.

Nevertheless, I extremely advocate you cope with white steadiness after taking your images, throughout post-processing. So set your digicam to Auto White Steadiness, then ignore the WB setting till you’re again at dwelling.

You see, if you happen to shoot in RAW, the white steadiness is totally versatile. Whether or not you establish the white steadiness setting on the time of seize or whether or not you wait till you’ve opened up Lightroom days later makes zero distinction.

Plus, setting the white steadiness throughout a live performance is tough to do, particularly when you might have completely different lights flashing throughout the stage. So do your self a favor and depart the white steadiness setting for one more time!

10. Use burst mode

The Prodigy Concert photography settings
The Prodigy
Nikon D800 | 85mm | f/1.8 | 1/320s | ISO 1600

Your digicam’s burst mode setting, additionally known as steady capturing, permits you to do rapid-fire pictures. With burst mode activated, you may shoot 5, ten, and even sixty frames per second, relying in your digicam.

And that is massively useful in live performance pictures for 2 causes:

  1. When you take a number of photographs in a row, a minimum of certainly one of them will in all probability end up sharp even when the others aren’t in focus.
  2. A number of images improve your possibilities of nailing the right body.

Now, I don’t advocate you set your digicam to its high-speed steady capturing mode and use it nonstop. You’ll run out of cupboard space fairly shortly, plus you’ll simply find yourself with hundreds of pointless images.

Korn concert photography settings
Nikon D700 | 130mm | f/2.8 | 1/250s | ISO 3200

However I do advocate analyzing the scenario, then – while you’re able to seize split-second motion photographs – activate burst mode and use it judiciously. In fact, you’ll want to top off on reminiscence playing cards, and be ready to spend some further time going by means of your information while you get dwelling. Even a cautious burst-mode shooter will find yourself with numerous information on the finish of an evening, and when you’ll seemingly find yourself with some absolute gems, storing and discovering them can require actual effort.

11. By no means use flash

Concert photography settings

This can be a fast tip however an necessary one: Don’t use flash at a live performance.

First, you’re not allowed; think about ten photographers bursting their flashes all on the similar time – it’d distract the viewers and the musicians.

And straight-flash footage don’t look nice. For good flash pictures, you’ll typically have to place your flash off to the facet of the artist (i.e., you’ll want an off-camera flash), which isn’t actually possible in a live performance setting.

So flip off that flash and depend on cautious live performance pictures settings, equivalent to a excessive ISO and a large aperture, for well-exposed information.

12. Think about using a silent capturing mode

Concert photography settings

Live performance pictures could be enthralling. However when you’re absorbed in capturing the occasion, the noise of your digicam’s shutter is usually a distraction for these round you – and also you may not even understand it!

That is the place your digicam’s silent mode can turn out to be useful. You see, many mirrorless cameras, and even some DSLRs, provide silent-shooting choices; these are designed for quieter occasions like weddings and award ceremonies, the place it’s important that the photographer stays as inconspicuous as doable. Activate silent capturing, and the chatter of your digicam will immediately disappear.

Not all concert events require a quiet digicam, in fact. A heavy-metal band, as an illustration, will drown out the sound of your digicam shutter – however in settings like low-key acoustic concert events or classical performances, the quiet or silent mode could make an enormous distinction. That means, you may click on away with out drawing consideration, and each the viewers and the performers will thanks.

Plus, some cameras provide elevated steady capturing speeds when set to their silent-shooting mode, which lets you seize extra frames in fast succession!

Should-know live performance pictures settings: closing phrases

Now that you simply’ve completed this text, you’re well-equipped to seize some gorgeous live performance images! Whether or not you’re a newbie or have been capturing concert events for some time, I hope you discovered these live performance settings tricks to be each sensible and simple to use.

So the subsequent time you’re out capturing a live performance, ensure that to dial within the settings I shared. Your images will immediately enhance!

Now over to you:

Which of my really helpful settings do you employ for live performance pictures? Do you might have any extra settings you like to make use of for concert events? Share your ideas within the feedback beneath!