Monday, 1 April 2013

Three songs, no flash...

After contacting the Western Morning News I was lucky enough for them to do a spread on my work 'Puddle Paintings' (will post about that later). I contacted them via a phone call as one of the things I am learning, and learning fast, is how the use of e-mail seems to get no where these days. I can fully understand how busy people are these days, and I'm sure some receive a vast amount of messages but in my personal opinion if someone genuine takes the time to send you a message with a well thought out proposal, you should at least dignify them with a reply...rant over.
Phones calls and face to face conversations can't be surpassed in my opinion. With text you lose any real passion and no amount of punctuation will cover it!!!

After talking with the editor and forwarding her some links to my work she was keen to tell me about an opportunity to work covering local events, mainly at Plymouth Pavilions...I jumped at the chance. I have already worked with small local bands and as anyone will tell you if you want to get into this style of work you NEED to start small and local. Regarding my style I think one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt comes fro Robert Capa, one of my inspirations 'If your images aren't good enough, you're not close enough'. I look at this on two levels, the physical and the inside knowledge. When you have no real restrictions and don't require a photo pass, get to know the band you want to work with. It's a two way deal, you get work for your portfolio and they get promotional material. I've had people moan at me in the past about how close I get and then ask for the very same images captured to be used for whatever. It's a good idea to work with the photographer too, don't forget they have a job to do.

Stereophonics ©Matt Elliott 2013

With regards to working professionally this makes life much easier with regards to space to work in, even if you are under a certain amount of pressure. The norm is to shoot the first three songs without the use of flash. This fills some photographers with dread knowing the light will be low, however I can't see why you would want to use flash anyway as it does very little and only take away from the atmosphere.
                                                      Paloma Faith ©Matt Elliott 2013

The one downside I have found with only being allowed to work on the first three songs is the band will come on fresh-faced and start on a fairly low tempo. I always make sure I focus on the frontman/ woman first as that's what the paper will want. If you can capture some wide angle shots of the stage then all the better, but make sure you cover you back first.

                                                       Plan B ©Matt Elliott 2013

From what I have learnt in a small space of time....
  • Arrive early and shoot the support act(s) first. You'll get a feel for the venue and some images for your portfolio.
  • Talk to seasonal professionals, they'll be in the know. Some will look down their nose at you and only see you as competition, that's no bad thing. However they act remain friendly.
  • Be wary of your surroundings while shooting. You can easily get lost while looking through a viewfinder and miss things or knock into other photographers.
  • Shoot on manual or shutter priority. You'll probably need to push your ISO and clean that up later. It's better to have an image with grain rather than a blurry clean image. I tend to shoot using an 85mm prime at ƒ1.4. It's unforgiving but you'll know when you've nailed it.
  • Security can be a nuisance, but smile and let them know they aren't the only ones with a job to do.
  • Try different angles but don't waste time moving around too much. Three songs isn't a long time!
  • Don't forget the crowd, they love have their picture taken and they are part of the event. Don't stand in peoples way too, they've paid to be there.
  • Be nice and treat people how you would want to be treated.
  • Upload your images and back them up as soon as you can. If you are working for the paper they have tight deadlines.
  • Have fun! I love photography and am happy when I have a camera in my hands, if you're enjoying your work it will show.
                                                   Stereophonics ©Matt Elliott 2013

You can see more of my work here....

1 comment:

  1. These are fantastic Matt, those shots of Kelly Jones are so dynamic, and that shot of Paloma, I just love how you've captured the emotion in her face.