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Lighting at concerts is usually very difficult to manage. My photos always end up blurry/needing an awful lot of post-processing afterwards.

What would be the objective best way to shoot these photos?

EDIT: after much discussion, here is an update:

  • The event is now over (just FYI)
  • The event was a school festival/concert in a school gym hall (photo passes aren't a thing, but we did have special 'permission' to go to different places - so a type of photo pass I guess).
  • The lighting used was disco/stage/event lighting and these truly horrible point spotlights from point-blank range, resulting in a huge contrast between the foreground and background.
  • The normal gym lights are not on during this concert
  • There were many rehearsals of the acts (band, dance, etc), so I had many chances to get the hang of things. After several thousand images, I started taking decent photos; as I was not used to such difficult lighting conditions.
  • Most of my photos at the beginning looked like this (w/o post-processing): how to fail a concert photo 101
  • But, after several days of rehearsals, I started to get the hang of things, and some of my photos turned out not so bad.
  • I used a Canon 100D with a 10-22mm wide, 50mm prime and a Tamron 18-270mm telephoto lens. Most of the linked images are taken with the 10-22.
  • Since I had so much time to learn the environment, I started playing around with long exposures - and the photos turned out much better than expected.
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    I’m a little confused as to what you’re asking. Are you looking for these kinds of suggestions: shoot wide open, medium-high ISO, faster shutter speed? I shoot plays and similar events. My go-to is my 70-200 f/2.8 wide open (f/2.8), ISO 1600-3200 and shutter speed 1/125-1/500. – NoahL May 2 '18 at 19:18
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    We've got an existing plethora of concert photography questions. What specific problem do they not answer for you? – Michael C May 2 '18 at 19:38
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    @J... a 50mm prime, 10-22mm wide & 18-270mm Tamron. – bearmohawk May 3 '18 at 21:14
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    @bearmohawk does that mean you're a member of the crowd rather than having a pass? – Crazy Dino May 3 '18 at 21:44
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Theatrical/concert photography is about the most challenging there is, both in terms of pushing the equipment you use to the absolute edge of their capabilities and in terms of requiring every bit of skill and experience you might have as the photographer.

Photography is the art of capturing light. Most concerts don't offer much light to capture and what light there is to capture is changing rapidly and the subjects are usually very animated. So the traditional solution to not much light (longer shutter speed using a tripod to hold the camera still) doesn't work because nobody on stage stands still for 10-15 seconds while you take a picture. The traditional solution to capturing motion (faster shutter speeds) doesn't usually work because there isn't enough light to capture a good image on a small sensor with a narrow aperture. In the end you have to balance the two as best you can AND use gear that allows you to capture as much of the scarce light that is present in the scene in as fast a time as possible. That means fast lenses (wide apertures), larger sensors, and cameras that are highly responsive (fast handling).

Due to the nature of the less-than-full-spectrum lighting used at many concerts, post processing is a necessary step to get optimal results. Although you can use custom white balance an/or white balance correction in-camera, the range of adjustment they give you in-camera is very often not enough to fully compensate for the deficiencies in the lighting.

In-camera correction vs. post processing with Canon's Digital Photo Professional:

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II + EF 50mm f/1.4

Post processing the raw files with many applications will give you more room to adjust the white balance and also give you the power of an HSL (Hue-Saturation-Luminance) tool that lets you adjust each of about eight different color bands independently of the others. Please note that White Balance encompasses more than just Color Temperature. Color temperature is but a single axis in the two dimensional color wheel. (Brightness/saturation of any particular hue is yet a third dimension). White balance includes adjustments along the Green←→Magenta axis as well as color temperature adjustments along the Blue←→Amber axis.

The accepted answer to How to cancel purple stage lighting on subjects? covers white balance for photographing stage acts in smaller clubs that almost exclusively use LED lighting these days. This answer to Blown out blue/red light making photos look out of focus specifically talks about how to deal with LED lighting when only the blue and red lights are up and the green lights are dark.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III + EF 50mm f/1.4

For larger venues with theatrical type lighting, please see this answer to I'm having trouble getting sharp pictures while shooting a concert from a press pass location. It talks about shooting technique as well as about post-processing. The comment stream to the answer linked above demonstrates why post processing of photos taken in such challenging shooting conditions is vital.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II + EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS

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Canon EOS 7D + EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II

For what lenses to use, please see What are appropriate lenses for concert photography? It covers both larger theatrically lit shows as well as smaller, darker clubs.

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EOS 5D Mark II + EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II + EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III + EF 135mm f/2 L

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III + EF 50mm f/1.4

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III + EF 135mm f/2 L

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III + EF 135mm f/2 L

Pictures of dancers on stage covers theatrical productions, but there isn't much difference between shooting theater and shooting concerts in similar venues.

enter image description here
Canon EOS 5D Mark II + EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II + EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II

If you're trying to do this with a compact fixed lens camera, please see How can I best utilize a point-and-shoot for concert photography?

For further reading, including many of the links in the answer above:
How to cancel purple stage lighting on subjects?
Blown out blue/red light making photos look out of focus
What are appropriate lenses for concert photography?
I'm having trouble getting sharp pictures while shooting a concert from a press pass location
Pictures of dancers on stage
Nightclubs photography, setup to capture the real mood and atmosphere?

How do I diagnose the source of focus problem in a camera?
How can I best utilize a point-and-shoot for concert photography?
the best way to improve image sharpness on Canon 700D
How can I take photos during a school dance?
Which lens is better for concert photography: Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM or Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8?
What kind of filter (if any) should I use when photographing a theater scene?

  • @flolilolilo sorry that was me pressing the wrong button. Blame podgy fingers and a phone screen. – Crazy Dino May 2 '18 at 21:24

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