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Druish_00 04-24-2010 12:50 PM

Any photographers out there? Need some advice!
I got backstage passes to a concert coming up to shoot some photos of the acts. Im by no means a photographer...just a right place right time, knowing the right person type thing. I was wondering what speed film i should use (yes i still shoot on 35mm). I have an old Canon AE1 Program and a newer, more automatic one. Obviously the show is going to be dark except of the bright stage lights. Any help would be great!

pcollins 04-24-2010 01:22 PM

Whoa! Didn't expect this kind of question on HBT but here it goes...

I'm also a photographer who still shoots film albeit less so since a year and half ago when I switched to digital.

My recommendation would be to use two films if you have two bodies. I LOVE Ilford 3200 for b&w low light shooting. It's grainy and contrasty but gives a great look to the shots and would give you plenty of latitude and comfortable shutter speeds. If you need colour I would go with Fuji 1600 (I think it's superia, it's been a while). It's not a very contrasty film but gives a nice grain and will give decent shutter speeds as well.

I haven't shot concert situations but you probably won't be able to use a flash. I'm much more of a natural light photographer anyway plus the stage lights will give you some interesting lighting to deal with.

Hope that is helpful. I'm sure other people will have other suggestions.

Soonerbourne 04-24-2010 02:08 PM

Here's a helpful link for your Canon AE-1 Program: low light situations, depth of field, shutter speed, aperture, etc.


I don't have any experience with this camera, but reading about it leads me to believe you have a more than capable camera for some awesome shots. If time allows, I would advise a test run to mimic the low light situations to gauge how your camera handles certain lighting situations. Good Luck! :mug:

mullenite 04-24-2010 03:04 PM

I guess I can help you even though you are a Canon shooter... ;)

This all assumes a night/indoor concert.

First things first, find out the rules of the venue. Many of them limit photography to the first 2-3 songs per band. Break these rules and they will take your credentials and kick you out.

Second, bring fast lenses. The body you use doesn't matter as long as it has shutter priority mode. You won't have time to shoot in manual and you need to make sure your shutter speed is above a certain speed (I usually do 1/250th or if I can 1/500th) or your photos won't come out. NO FLASH.

Choose a fast film. Ilford 3200, Tmax 3200 or Tri-X 400 pushed to 3200. It's going to be grainy but you are shooting film so deal with it. If you want color your choice is really limited to Fuji 1600.

Best of luck.

Druish_00 04-24-2010 03:31 PM

thanks guys! the local photoshop hooked me up with some b&w 1600 and all they had for color for me was (kodak?) VC 400. I guess im gonna bump the ISO to 800 or 1600 and use the option to under expose it per the guy at the shops advice. Ill try and post my best shot on here when i get them developed.

mullenite 04-24-2010 03:43 PM

Don't go above 1600 with that VC400. Even at 1600 you may see some color shift.

northernlad 04-24-2010 04:04 PM

THe AE1 has the preview button on the side of the lens. Make your settings then push the button to get an idea of how your lighting is. Unless it is really dark I can get some great indoor pics with mine.

friarjohn 04-24-2010 05:25 PM

just curious, what bands?

kjung 04-24-2010 05:29 PM

I shot a lot of concerts back in the '70s and '80s, but never from BACKstage. I can tell you that back then, a 400 speed was fine. Use Kodak, as the colors are truer. Fuji's colors always came out too soft and muted for my tastes.
Your best action shots will come from the front of the stage, or as close to it as possible. You don't want the lighting in front of you, obviously, because it will affect your shots too much.
Some of your best shots will be from pure luck. I caught Frank Zappa flipping the bird, Peter Gabriel (back when he shaved his head and wore a black jumpsuit) looking straight down my lens......and didn't realize what I had until the film was developed. I also had shots almost ruined because of bad timing with the lighting, too.

Good luck, and have fun!!!

brewmonk 04-24-2010 05:39 PM

hey kjung, i hope that it was that shot from the 'utopia' tour that I've seen!! (can I see?)

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