Concert Photography – Jeane Pifer

photography, photography tips, photojournalism
Jeane Pifer Concert Photography
Jeane Pifer Photographer

Today please welcome our first guest photographer, Jeane Pifer. Jeane is a personal friend, she is gentle and sweet but a bit of a rebel because where you will find her most comfortable with her camera is up close to live bands shooting concert photography or at the track getting up close and personal creating racing photographs. As I write this, I realize I forgot to ask if she carries ear plugs in her gear bag. Today, she shares some of her work and tips at the end for shooting any type of stage situations.

Why Concert Photography and why is it appealing to you?  I chose to pursue concert photography because of the excitement and the feeling you get when you nail an amazing shot. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had as a photographer. Everything is constantly moving. It’s a challenge compared to portrait shoots where you have more time to pose your subjects. It’s great to look back on my first shows compared to where I am now.

Jeane Pifer Photographer
Family Force 5 Concert Photography
Jeane Pifer Concert Photographer
Joel Smallbone – For King and Country

How have you grown as a concert photographer?  When I started I was only using the action setting on my simple DSLR. Now, I feel confident in being able to successfully set up my camera to manual settings to handle any lighting situation.

Jeane Pifer Concert Photography
Tate Olsen from Skillet

What are the biggest challenges in shooting concert photography?   Arriving at any show, you never know the lighting situation. Luckily, I have found with post editing I can make the best out of every image.

What type of venues do you enjoy shooting in the most?   In the sense of lighting, I always prefer the large concerts. However, smaller shows are much better for getting up close and personal with the bands which can also result in better shots. Shooting outdoor festivals during the day is my absolute favorite. There’s something about being able to capture the emotions of the crowd better with the blue sky in the background. 

Jeane Pifer Photographer
Benja Creation

Do you go into a concert with a clear mind about what you are going to shoot or do you have some dream ideas you are wanting to create?   Normally I go into a show with the mindset of just shooting. If  I’m seeing the same show- band more than once and I know what moves they will make on stage, I will then be able to picture the images I want to take.

I know bands have used your photographs, how did that come about?  Most of the bands that have used my images were from festivals. At the festivals, they normally have a meet and greets with the bands and I take the opportunity to hand out my business card. You never know what opportunities will come from marketing yourself. Other bands that have used my images have been from just finding me on social media.

And now for some tips from Jeane, that don’t only apply to concerts. You can use these tips and tweak them for upcoming dance recitals, children’s plays, parades, festivals and much more.

And after reading the tips, come join the conversation and share your photos here.

LENS:  I use 15-85mm f/3.5. Although the zoom quality of the lens is amazing, the aperture is something that I’m constantly fixing.  A low aperture lens is definitely something you need.

FLASH: Most places don’t allow flash photography so I normally don’t. Depending on the show size and the amount of lighting, a flash is not normally needed.                                                                                     Molly: I would add this is where Jeane’s suggestion of the low aperture lens is important and a tripod or monopod when you are able is great if you will be standing in one place.

SETTINGS: Experiment with different settings on your camera. Every show will be different, you never know what lighting situation you’ll be in so you can always learn from them.  I would definitely recommend a simple setting that you’re comfortable with. I started off with the action setting, but I also know of people who have used creative auto, auto, and aperture priority. I think starting out on one of the simpler settings gives you practice of how to focus on whats going on on the stage instead of stressing about your setup right off the bat.

ISO: I usually keep my ISO high and my Shutter low. Although that does occasionally leave the grainy look, I find in post editing it’s easy to cover up and really bring out the colors of the lights.

Concert etiquette:  Although a lot of famous concert photographers have lists of etiquette, I have had to worry about other photographers around me. But always be cautious of who’s around you. So many people just want to camp out in the same spot the whole night which is not only rude to the other photographers, but you also won’t get the best images if they are all from the same angle.

BIGGEST TIP: Just keep shooting. You never know what surprise shots you’ll get.

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