Scrolling through the album app on your phone after a mind-blowing gig usually leads to disappointment. Plenty of movement and low light levels often combine to make capturing decent pictures of your favourite band tougher than you would expect.
We asked professional live music photographer Abi Raymaker, who has snapped musicians all over the globe, to give us her top tips for taking the best gig photos on your smartphone. If seeing is believing check out the pics Abi snapped on Xperia XZ Premium at her latest show below.
Abi, over to you…
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
Don’t think that you need tons of light to get a great photo. Sometimes, the contrast between light and shadow makes for a beautiful image, even if the subject isn’t fully illuminated. With XZ Premium, you can choose the ISO in manual mode. Keep the ISO low (around 200-800) for sharper quality and a darker image to produce something more dramatic with higher resolution. XZ Premium can capture 19 MB images if you adjust the quality settings.
BEYOND THE BAND
At a show, look around for other things to include in your photos besides just the band. Some of my favourite shots are more focused on the crowd, and sometimes don’t even include the band at all. Live music photography isn’t just about capturing the musicians, but also the atmosphere of the show.
FAST AND SLOW
Controlling shutter speed manually is a great way to improve the quality of your concert photos. If you want to capture fast action, like a drummer, you can manually adjust your shutter speed on the XZ premium anywhere from 1 second to 1/4000 of a second. I would recommend rarely setting your shutter speed slower than 1/125 of a second, as you may be prone to blurriness from camera shake. To catch an action shot of a killer drum solo, try 1/500th of a second.
BEFORE AND AFTER
No photographer can ever capture each image exactly as they want every time, especially in the fast-paced environment of a live concert, so don’t be afraid to make some adjustments after the show. A lot of concert photos can be oversaturated due to brightly coloured lights being used, so try adjusting the saturation of the image if it looks too blue or too red. There’s a built in Photo Editor on XZ Premium that also allows you to adjust saturation, exposure, contrast and many more.
XZ Premium allows you to choose what kind of metering to use between face, multi, centre, spot, or touch. Metering determines how a camera chooses to expose a photo, so if it is set to face metering, then the camera will decide how light or dark to make the photo based on the face of your subject. For concerts, I would recommend spot or touch metering. There are so many different lights at a concert, it can be difficult for a camera to meter properly, but spot metering and touch metering allow XZ Premium to meter based on a single point that you can select with your finger.