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Photographing in a busy pub

meercat 9 278 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2009 12:57AM
Hi all, I'm taking some photos for a mates band on Sat night, and I'm after some tips.

Before I get told to search the forums for other people asking the same questions, I'd better explain.

I have taken a number of band gigs in tha past, but I have always had the luxury of them being in either quite quiet pubs or large halls where I had space and didn't need to worry about being in the way. Saturday I will be in a very busy (talking hardly any breathing space on a normal night) small pub, so does anyone have any tips on not being in the way or avoiding being trodden on if I shoot down low?

No idea what the lighting will be like so can only assume I will be using high ISO and low f stop, will be just camera and lens (prob only going to take 50mm, but might take more if I feel the need) no flash or tripod etc.

Thanks in advance and all tips welcomed.


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User_Removed 8 718 9 England
5 Nov 2009 3:03AM
Fairly wide angle lens might be a good idea too, with off camera flash if you have the leads. Would'nt bother with a pod, will get in the way and hinder more than help.

And drink some beer, get into the spirit but dont get pissed, Also,dont go looking for images, let them find you.

Good luck Smile
zed 14 551 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2009 10:17AM
Maybe ask the band if you can squeeze in onto parts of the stage, that may get you some unusual angles too.
Tarara_K 8 2 Northern Ireland
5 Nov 2009 12:14PM
I presume they'll be doing a sound check before it gets busy? Why not get some of your down low shots then before the crowds arrive...
User_Removed 9 1.4k England
5 Nov 2009 12:17PM
Get on stage liberally, no flash is a law.- A good place to shoot is behind amps slightly to the right projected side.

If they really value their performance you will shoot with out remote flash, and you could utilised a remote wide if you want full cover.

The crowd will block anything infront of stage; unless you have an eleviated platform on that side. Which is unlikely.

Even-so; it's only a pub and it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
theorderingone 14 2.4k
5 Nov 2009 12:33PM
As has already been mentioned, if they're your mate's band, you may be able to secure onstage access, but it will depend on the setup of the venue as to whether this is worth doing. Shooting from the back of the stage is ok for catching crowd atmosphere, but you'll only get decent shots of the band if they turn around. Ideally you'd want to be off to the side of the front of the stage.

If you can't get onstage, get there early (as the doors open or before), get to the front and stay there until you're done.

I hope you have fun at the gig.
WOWHOT 11 29 1 Switzerland
6 Nov 2009 2:55AM
A few ideas to chip in

• Try a 18-70mm
• Iso400
• Bounce flash remember your framing that’s what will make or break the night.
• As many extra batteries for flash and camera body as you can carry comfortably.
• 2 skylights and 2 cloths( splashes and drinks can be a night mare- also keep a eye on the front of the lens constantly)
• Plenty of cards
Take a look at the lighting of this shot from a lowlight image I tock in the south pacific

well I hope this helps a little
1 photo whan photo photographer
SuziBlue 15 16.2k 10 Scotland
6 Nov 2009 1:37PM
Not that I'm a pro or anything but one of my personal favourite shots was taken in a pub with very low light and the aperture wide open - and that was the 18-55mm on f/4.5 as I didn't have my 50mm/f1.8 at the time. I took photos between people so that they created dark or blurred shapes around the people in the folk band I was photographing.

I can't link to my site from here but if you go to my pictures page and then candids and portraits, it's called Green Violin.
meercat 9 278 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2009 10:11AM
Thanks for the tips, it went quite well, as previously mentioned not my first time shooting live music, just first time in a busy small pub.

Uploaded one of my pics from the night to my gallery.

Just incase anyone else finds themselves in a similar position, I would recommend a wider lens than the 50mm, another lady there was using a 28-70mm lens, one I will be saving for in the future!!
meercat 9 278 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2009 10:18AM
Sorry meant 24-70mm lens
funkeldink 14 1.6k 1 Australia
10 Nov 2009 11:13AM
just spark up a cig .. because they are the sole cause of death in the world everyone will soon be out of the way ... failing that,, beans for brekky
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
11 Nov 2009 9:33AM
Absolutely no flash, the ultimate atmosphere killer. If it's going to be packed, get to the front. Pictures of an entire band look really dull - concentrate on individuals.

Don't just hose away, watch the expressions of the players, try to capture something essential about their stage behaviour or unusual playing techniques.

Here's a pic of Del Brommham of Stray doing a bit of finger tapping at my local blues bar - 125@f2.4 70mm lens iso3200.

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