In our previous guide, we gave some tips about shooting in darker jazz events. But what if the jazz event is outdoors, on a bright and sunny day?
Choice of Lens
For shooting outdoors, you don’t necessarily need a very wide aperture as you would have to stop down the lens to counter the extremely bright sun. Instead, the lens should be able to handle glare well and it should not have too much distortion.
To help you take better photos outdoors on a bright day, you should take along a good lens hood that helps combat any sort of glare. You should also keep an ND filter with you just in case you need to reduce the amount of light getting into your camera and increasing the shutter speed further in order to do so isn’t an option. A tripod is also a great accessory to always have handy, whether day or night.
Not Much Editing Needed
Once you are done taking your photos, you may not have to do too much editing to make them look great. The good thing about shooting in plenty of light is that your photos will be sharp, detailed, and free of noise. So even if you don’t shoot in RAW (which you should just always do though), you can use a lightweight automatic photo editor and make some quick adjustments to the exposure and contrast to make your images look good.
Mind the Highlights
Whenever you’re shooting outdoors, you have to take extra care to not blow out the highlights in your photos. To prevent this from happening, the previously mentioned ND filter will come in handy. Another thing that can help you with this is to take HDR photos. However, HDR photography of a person performing on stage isn’t really ideal since they would be constantly moving. But HDR photos of the venue as a whole, or wide-angle HDR shots, will be a very good addition to your overall collection from the event.
Indoor jazz events are great! The music combined with the low lights really creates a unique ambiance in jazz events. But this can also be a nightmare for photographers who want to take photos on such a night.
If that is indeed what you are planning to do, don’t worry! Here are some tips to take good photos in the dark:
The Lens Matters Most
If you try to shoot a jazz event with your kit lens, you will most probably end up with not-so-great photos. The reason for this is not that kit lenses are not good. The reason for this is that kit lenses usually have a narrower aperture than is ideal for low-light photography.
So the lens you take with you should have a wide aperture. Something around f/1.8 should be great for letting in a lot of light into the camera.
The Shutter Speed is Important
Many people make the mistake of using a very low ISO which makes the shutter speed go slow as well, leading to bright but very blurry images. Instead of doing this, you should increase the ISO value and use a shutter speed that ensures your photos will remain sharp. The noise that creeps into the photo due to the higher ISO can be fixed to a great extent in a photo editing software.
The Format Can’t be Forgotten
In order to truly take control of the photo editing process once you’re back after taking the photos, you need to have taken the photos in RAW. If you take the photos in the more common jpeg format, then you won’t have any additional information in your image to adjust like you have in RAW. A RAW file basically contains all the data captured from a scene. This data can then be used by you in whatever way you please. So, changing the exposure, sharpness, colors, and noise is possible without affecting image quality when you have a RAW photo at your disposal.
With the help of these tips, you don’t have to worry anymore about shooting jazz events in low light!
As soon as you buy a camera with interchangeable lenses, you are faced with the very difficult decision of which lenses to buy. If you’re a casual photographer, you probably find yourself attracted to a telephoto lens at first, and then move to a nifty fifty.
However, as a jazz event photographer, you need to be aware of what you need most in a lens before buying anything else.
- You Need a Wide Aperture
Jazz events are known for their dimly lit atmosphere. For that reason, you need to have a wide aperture. Anything at or below f/2.8 will be a good way to go. The reason to need a wide aperture is to let more light into your camera and consequently be able to use a low ISO value and a fast shutter speed. This is crucial to get good photos with no blurriness. Also, if you want to take photos for creating HDRs (click here to learn more), you need to use a low ISO value to keep the noise down in the final image.
- You Can Benefit from Stabilization
Most of these events are shot handheld because you have to keep moving around to find the right angle and light. For that reason, getting a lens with image stabilization can be beneficial. This will allow you to shoot at a slower shutter speed than normal while hand-holding the camera without making the images blurred.
- You Might Want a Zoom
Prime lenses are mostly better in terms of handling and image quality than zoom lenses. However, for events where you have to constantly move around, it might benefit you to get a lens with a zoom range. Something that covers a focal length of around 24-70mm is good enough for most indoor shots. However, do note that zoom lenses usually have a variable aperture so you’d want to invest (a lot of money) in one that has a constant aperture value of around f/2.8 for getting the best results in low light.
Jazz music, unlike many other forms of music, requires a photographer to be very careful in how they do their work. Jazz events are known for their tricky interior lighting, small groups of people, and intimate gatherings that are mostly indoors.
That is why, if you ever want to go and take photos of a jazz event, here are some tips you should keep in mind:
- Be Mindful of the Light
As mentioned at the start, jazz events are notorious for their dim and moody lighting especially when they’re indoors. This lighting plays a big role in creating the ambiance of jazz music to be played and enjoyed. Therefore, you need to take photos in a way that does justice to both the mood of the place and also provides noise-free results.
The most important element to achieve this is what lens you use. Use a prime lens with a wide aperture to capture the maximum amount of light at fairly fast shutter speeds. Without a good lens, you won’t get very nice-looking images even if you take HDR photos with the best HDR software you can find.
- Keep it Light
To capture all the action, you’ll have to move around quite a bit. So it’s best to use a lightweight setup. Use a mirrorless camera over a DSLR if you can. It’ll give you the same results for much lesser weight. Another piece of kit to take along for more mobility is to replace your tripod with a monopod. It’ll help you stabilize your photos and videos while removing the need to create special space for it in a crowded setting.
- Get Close
To capture the real mood of a jazz event, you should also focus on taking some portrait shots of both the singers and the audience. Capture the feelings on people’s faces, capture the way a musician is playing the instrument. It’s advised to take along a specialized portrait lens with a wide aperture to achieve these kinds of photos.
With these three tips, you will see how much better your jazz photos come out. You won’t have to deal with noisy, uninspiring photos anymore so make sure you follow these tips whenever you’re planning to photograph a jazz event next.
Jazz as a music culture originated from New Orleans. The African American communities are its forefathers. The genre hit off in Spain after being infatuated with Dixieland and New Orleans jazz. Spanish jazz evolved into many other styles, influence by visiting Americans. Barcelona, one of the global hubs of music, hosts awesome music festivals such as Sonar. The city has become the second home to lively jazz music. The music festivals here invite a few of the biggest names from jazz world. These are the six upcoming jazz artists to watch out for, next time you visit the Catalan capital.
The AMJM award winner adopted saxophone as his prime instrument after being a trained violinist for years. His brand of music contains undertones of the proper classical jazz. He occasionally explores the experimental sounds too.
Popular for his piano solos, Marco is a composer and a music teacher. The Jazz Music Association of Catalonia voted him three times for the Musician of the Year award.
Being involved in tons of Barcelona’s local projects, Martin is surprisingly a self-taught musician. His allegiance constantly shifted between piano and bass guitar in last few years.
The jack of all trades – musician, composer and producer – released his first ever solo, Cruzar Mundos. It did enough rounds in social media circles. He lists Oscar Peterson, Nat King Cole and Stephane Grappelli among his role models.
He hails from Argentina, but he is Barcelona based. The debut album of this drummer, Gran Coral opened to positive reviews. He travelled most of Europe in his 15 years musician stint.
Trained at the Catalan College of Music itself, Jaume Llombart is a rising star in international Jazz scene. He is a regular performer across Catalonia along with the Jaume Llombart Sextet.