12 Should-Know Digital camera Settings for Live performance Pictures

Essential settings for concert photography

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

Deciding on the right digital camera settings is a key a part of capturing superior live performance images, particularly in low-light conditions. In the event you get your settings proper, the outcomes might be spectacular: crisp, clear, and stuffed with element. However in case you get them incorrect? Your photographs 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 images. These are the actual digital camera settings I take advantage of in my very own live performance taking pictures, so you recognize they work. (And I promise: They’ll assist you to increase your photographs and your profession!)

Let’s dive proper in.

The most effective live performance images settings, in short

Concert photography settings

Earlier than we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a second to evaluate my go-to settings for live performance images. In the event you’re wanting to seize your digital camera and head to a gig tonight, these settings will internet you stable outcomes:

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

Consider this listing as your live performance images cheat sheet. It’ll get you about 80% of the way in which – however to actually shine on this difficult discipline, it’s essential perceive when to fine-tune your settings, you’ll want to know why these settings are so essential and what they really do, and also you’ll additionally have to be taught a couple of further digital camera settings to contemplate.

Additionally, at all times 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 is probably not ultimate for a subdued jazz efficiency. Nonetheless, by dialing in these key settings, you’ll be effectively in your method to capturing stellar photographs that deliver the stage to life.

The 12 live performance images settings everybody ought to know

Seeking to stage up your images of rock concert events, symphonies, and every little thing 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 images setting, and it’s a giant one:

At all times, at all times, at all times shoot in RAW.

In the event you shoot in JPEG, your digital camera will robotically add processing, comparable to distinction, saturation, and sharpness. And whereas it would look good, it’ll restrict your post-production freedom, so that you received’t be capable of additional improve your live performance images.

However, in case you shoot in RAW, the digital camera received’t course of your photograph in any respect. That means, you’ll be able to change parameters comparable to publicity, white steadiness, saturation, distinction, and readability lengthy after you hit the shutter button.

(In different phrases: In the event you’re cautious and deliberate together with your enhancing, you can also make your images look loads 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

After I began off doing live performance images, I used Aperture Precedence mode. I might dial within the aperture, my digital camera would set the shutter pace accordingly, and I’d hit the shutter button.

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

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

So relying in your stage of expertise and luxury, decide one in all these two choices. Beginning with Aperture Precedence and dealing as much as Guide could make sense, although in case you’re already acquainted with Guide mode, you may try it out and see if you need to use it successfully instantly.

Professional tip: In the event you do select Guide mode, be sure that to steadily examine your histogram to make sure your publicity is appropriate!

3. Use your lens’s widest aperture setting

Concert photography settings

Struggling to determine which lens to make use of for live performance images? I at all times give the identical recommendation: Use quick lenses and shoot them huge open.

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

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

In the event you’re a newbie on a price range, I’d suggest grabbing a 50mm f/1.8 lens, which is reasonable, incorporates a huge most aperture, and provides surprisingly good picture high quality.

4. Use a quick shutter pace

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 working and leaping from one facet of the stage to the opposite?

Any such motion makes for some nice images – however to freeze such motion, it’s essential to use a quick shutter pace.

Usually, I set my shutter pace to 1/200s or quicker (and relying on the extent of motion, chances are you’ll need to push this even increased.) Sure concert events will let you get away with a slower pace, comparable to 1/160s, but it surely’s usually higher to err on the facet of warning and go increased moderately than decrease, even in case you’re compelled to extend your ISO consequently. Talking of which:

5. Enhance your ISO

Concert photography settings

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

Your digital camera’s ISO vary possible begins at 100. However in case you’re taking pictures a low-light live performance, I’d suggest kicking this as much as 1600, 3200, and even 6400. In any other case, your pictures will find yourself far too darkish (otherwise you’ll be compelled to drop your shutter pace, 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 coloration and lightweight that look fairly dangerous. The specifics will rely in your digital camera (trendy sensors do an excellent job of minimizing high-ISO noise!), however you must at all times be cautious when boosting the ISO. Solely increase it when completely vital, and be aware of your specific digital camera’s high-ISO capabilities.

It will probably assist to spend a while capturing check pictures at numerous ISOs, then magnifying the pictures in your laptop and evaluating the noise ranges in your photographs. Additionally observe which you can typically salvage noise-heavy photographs with noise discount throughout post-processing, or you’ll be able to convert your information to black and white for a grittier, noir-type look.

6. Activate picture stabilization

Concert photography settings

Fashionable digital camera gear provides loads of 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 results of digital camera shake so you’ll be able to maintain 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 photographs, even in case you’re working at a fairly quick shutter pace.

Flip in your digital camera or lens’s picture stabilization, nonetheless, and it’ll compensate for minor digital camera actions. In actual fact, it could possibly make a noticeable distinction within the sharpness of your images, and it’ll actually enhance your consistency.

Unsure whether or not your digital camera or lens provides picture stabilization? This function could be labeled in a different 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 may help with digital camera shake, it received’t freeze the movement of a performer leaping across the stage. For that, you’ll nonetheless want a quick shutter pace!

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 digital camera’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 a different way lit.

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

First, change your digital camera to identify metering mode.

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

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

In the event you don’t like spot metering and it’s supplying you with dangerous outcomes, you’ll be able to strive your digital camera’s matrix/evaluative metering mode. The digital camera will take a light-weight studying at a number of factors within the scene, and this may work – however you’ll need 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 likely to work high-quality in good mild, however the efficiency weakens as the sunshine drops. Whereas the middle autofocus level stays efficient in each good mild and dangerous.

That’s why I like to recommend you utilize 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.

In the event you don’t need the artist to take a seat smack-dab within the middle 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 regulate your composition till you get the specified framing. When you’ve nailed each focus and composition, press the shutter button the remainder of the way in which.

Concert photography settings

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

(You may also arrange back-button focus, which many shooters – myself included! – love. With back-button AF, you utilize a button on the rear of your digital camera to lock focus, then use the shutter button to take the shot.)

9. Use Auto White Stability

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

White steadiness combats undesirable coloration casts in your scene, and it’s necessary to make use of in order for you handsome images.

Nonetheless, I extremely suggest you take care of white steadiness after taking your images, throughout post-processing. So set your digital camera to Auto White Stability, then ignore the WB setting till you’re again at house.

You see, in case you shoot in RAW, the white steadiness is totally versatile. Whether or not you identify 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 troublesome 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 digital camera’s burst mode setting, additionally known as steady taking pictures, permits you to do rapid-fire images. With burst mode activated, you’ll be able to shoot 5, ten, and even sixty frames per second, relying in your digital camera.

And that is vastly useful in live performance images for 2 causes:

  1. In the event you take a number of pictures in a row, no less than one in all them will most likely end up sharp even when the others aren’t in focus.
  2. A number of images enhance your probabilities of nailing the right body.

Now, I don’t suggest you set your digital camera to its high-speed steady taking pictures mode and use it nonstop. You’ll run out of space for storing fairly rapidly, 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 suggest analyzing the state of affairs, then – once you’re able to seize split-second motion pictures – activate burst mode and use it judiciously. In fact, be sure you top off on reminiscence playing cards, and be ready to spend some further time going by way of your information once you get house. Even a cautious burst-mode shooter will find yourself with loads of information on the finish of an evening, and whilst you’ll possible 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 identical time – it’d distract the viewers and the musicians.

And straight-flash footage don’t look nice. For good flash images, 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 images settings, comparable to a excessive ISO and a large aperture, for well-exposed information.

12. Think about using a silent taking pictures mode

Concert photography settings

Live performance images could be enthralling. However whilst you’re absorbed in capturing the occasion, the noise of your digital camera’s shutter generally is a distraction for these round you – and also you may not even notice it!

That is the place your digital camera’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 potential. Activate silent taking pictures, and the chatter of your digital camera will immediately disappear.

Not all concert events require a quiet digital camera, in fact. A heavy-metal band, as an example, will drown out the sound of your digital camera 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’ll be able to click on away with out drawing consideration, and each the viewers and the performers will thanks.

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

Should-know live performance images settings: remaining phrases

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

So the subsequent time you’re out taking pictures a live performance, be sure 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 utilize for live performance images? Do you might have any further settings you’re keen on to make use of for concert events? Share your ideas within the feedback beneath!