Monthly Archives: May 2012

Concert photography

Dushanbe jazz festival

Dushanbe was bubbling with Jazz last weekend. Once a year the ethno-jazz festival takes place in town. This year was no different. Concerts were organized on concert photographyFriday, Saturday and Sunday in various places in town. Bands flew in from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and of course Tajikistan to perform their best. With concert halls fully packed and a bunch of enthusiastic musicians it turned out to be a great event. Great opportunity to shoot some nice concert pictures. My first steps in to concert photography. I was curious to see what I could get away with.
The first impulse was concert halls are dark, so we’ll need to add some flash. Wrong! I tried it and didn’t like the results. The flash was giving nasty reflections on the instruments and threw ugly black shadows on the background. Since there was nothing I could bounce of the flash I gave up on that idea. Plan A trashed. Concert photography Plan B was required. In my case that meant cranking up the ISO to a 1000 and more, and opening up to the biggest aperture possible. With my lens, a 70-300mm zoom, that meant aperture f5 or so. I point measured the light at some bright spots and ended up with a shutter speed of around 1/125. I decided to shoot everything in manual mode at that speed. If you keep the camera really steady pictures will be pretty sharp, even when zoomed in over 200mm. In aperture mode I’d risk shooting at too low shutter speeds. Plan B turned out to work pretty well actually. No at least thanks to the brilliant ISO performance of my Nikon D700. With a DX camera results would very likely be less exciting. You can check out the full photo series here.

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photography babies

Baby photography

Here’s a nice and easy setup for baby photography . If you ever wondered what might be a good way to get those nice baby shots, this will work! First, keep things easy. Go for a simple lighting setup. Like that you can concentrate on baby photographywhat the baby does without having to worry too much about the lighting. For this shoot I set up a 90×120 Elinchrome softbox at camera right. The softbox was at a 45 degree angle from camera-subject axis. The light was kept horizontal and almost touching the floor. Like that you get a nice soft wash of light that wraps around the subject. On the camera left was a big white reflector, a polystyrene foam panel of 1.20×2 meters that I picked up from the construction market. We put the baby on a seamless white background that we lit with two strobes fitted with umbrellas. The seamless is in fact a roll of white painters’ canvas, the widest I could find. It’s not exactly photographers gear but it works wonders. We measured the background to be lit 1.5 stops over the subject and we got it perfectly white. My studio isn’t too big, so I actually got some spill from the background lights, which works as fill. Not according to the book, but the results look nice, so what the heck. Finally we measured the key light to be at f11, and we were all set to go to take some lovely baby photographs.

One thing I quickly learned is that babies don’t sit still. They move in unpredictable ways. So not a bad idea to shoot at f11 instead of lets say f5.6 or so. That gives you just a bit more focusing margin. What else do you need? You need a baby wrangler, someone to grab the attention of the baby with toys and moves and sounds and whatever have you. If they can’t sit up you need someone to keep the baby as well. Here we just worked with both parents. The baby was very comfortable like that. It only took a little while to get those smiles we were after.

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