Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage: Blog http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Trudi Knight. All rights reserved. NO reproduction without permission. www.bandsonstage.co.uk/copyright trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) Tue, 03 Oct 2017 14:16:00 GMT Tue, 03 Oct 2017 14:16:00 GMT http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/img/s/v-5/u503898350-o109049159-50.jpg Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage: Blog http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog 120 120 Amateur Photographer Magazine - gig photography article http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/10/amateur-photographer-magazine---gig-photography-article Recently I was approached to contribute to an article in Amateur Photographer on getting the most out of photographing bands in small venues. It was a privilege to be asked, and they had some great questions! The interview took the form of an email Q&A which was then shaped into an article, with contributions from myself and Shona Cutt. The print version was in the issue dated September 16th, and you can read the article online here: http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/technique/expert_advice/gig-photography-advice-110648

 

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) advice band photography interview http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/10/amateur-photographer-magazine---gig-photography-article Tue, 03 Oct 2017 14:08:57 GMT
The Red Wristband Special http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/8/the-red-wristband-special Thinks rarely go quite according to plan, do they? 

In Dan's words:

Long post warning-
Gang, I gotta take a leave of absence for the rest of the year. It's a medical thing. CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Knew i had it and it was coming but I thought it was a couple of years off. Not so. Older folks blood condition that wants to eat up you body and red blood cells as well as leave junked white blood cells like wrecked cars all over the blood stream. Inherited. Treatable. But debilitating in the short term when it picks up a head of steam, like now. 
Dern tootin I'ma gonna give it a fight. I got a good piece of stubborn in me, might as well put it to a decent use. 
The bad news is The Yayhoos shows, and the 2 weeks in the states and a month in Europe and England of db & HMS shows this year that I can no longer do. Sorry. 
I'll find a way to get stronger. Skip the damn crying emoji, please. It makes me feel like a death sentence. It ain't. One of the most addressable blood disorders. 
Besides, I'm the luckiest fucker any y'all ever even heard of, and I know it. 
Mick Brown has me set up in a nice English hospital right now, and am being treated to be well enough to fly home and start the real work. Great staff here at the hospital and this wacky idea that you shouldn't have to pay for it. Oh those crazy socialists! 
Shout out to Pete Mason for calling "its time, get his ass to the hospital ". 
Warner Hodges, Mauro Magellan and Micke Björk are doing the last 3 HMS shows as a 3 piece. Throwing it together to honor the dates in the back of the van rolling to the gig. Gentleman, you are truly what the good shit is made of. Certified dudes.
Now, if you don't put the top hat on the mic stand and play a huggy kissie/Freebird medley at least once I'll never forgive you. 
db

There ya have it. Dan will be off the road for the remainder of 2017 due to concentrating on kicking leukaemia's arse. On Dan's personal invitation Bluefields and Royal Court of China frontman, Joe Blanton is stepping-up to the plate to front Homemade Sin for the rest of the year.  In order to ensure that the autumn tour goes ahead as planned, the band are rush releasing a new CD as a 'tour support crowd funder'.

The Red Wristband Special features both sets from Dan Baird & Homemade Sin's recent show at Bootleggers in Kendal, UK, recorded on July 26, 2017. The CD also features four bonus studio tracks, plus a new demo from Dan. The CD will ship late August. 

Help us keep Homemade Sin on the road and order The Red Wristband Special. 26 tracks. Minimum price £15.

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) cll crowdfunding dan baird and homemade sin double cd tour http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/8/the-red-wristband-special Wed, 23 Aug 2017 21:34:39 GMT
Free mini-portrait sessions http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/5/free-mini-portrait-sessions I had an idea yesterday.

Things have been a little quiet recently - I've stayed close to home for a number of reasons, and haven't worked at a gig for a couple of months. All that changes shortly - Homemade Sin are back in the UK and Europe, and I will be at most of the UK dates (all but 3*, by my most recent reckoning).

It struck me that I will probably have little pockets of time available pre-gig on quite a few dates.

So, logistics and weather permitting, I am offering free mini-portrait sessions (and by mini I mean 5-10 minutes tops!) in whatever locations near venues I can find, early evening close to door times. This is not just for people going to the gigs (though you should definitely be doing that too, dates & ticket links are available at danbairdandhomemadesin.net), but for anyone living in those areas who can come down to meet me for a few minutes. Singles, couples, friends, family groups, pets - all welcome 

It will be totally informal (silliness is actively encouraged). No modelling experience necessary - basically all I want to do is use bits of free time to meet people and give them the chance to get a nice photo with minimal fuss and no obligation. Above all it should be fun! 

Willing victims will get a private online gallery of the best photos to look at, one complimentary web-res shot for Facebook etc, and the option to buy prints or digital files at a reduced price. In return I will ask you to sign a model release allowing me to put you on my website (don’t worry, you won’t find yourself advertising anything dubious on a billboard in years to come!).

N.B. Pics are intended for personal use, not as headshots/promos - those are longer sessions that come with a set of fully edited images and a range of usage rights included in the fee and details can be found elsewhere on this site.

Some days are going to be a lot more tight for time than others, and in a couple of cases I won’t be able to confirm times until we have assessed the traffic. I’ve never tried doing this on a road trip before, so I will be flying by the seat of my pants. If you're interested, please send me a message - it will be first come first served to grab a slot. 

*(I won't be at Wildfire Fest or Middle of Nowhere Fest, or at the Sutton date, but all other UK dates should be doable)

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) free photo session tfp http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/5/free-mini-portrait-sessions Wed, 31 May 2017 12:09:31 GMT
Anatomy of a photographer http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/5/anatomy-of-a-photographer I have been knocking ideas around for an alternative 'about' page... it doesn't have to be 'oh, so serious'! Not that mine is the most serious you will ever see. What you see is *most definitely* what you get.

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) biography photo photographer http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/5/anatomy-of-a-photographer Wed, 24 May 2017 11:08:43 GMT
Road trip resources http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/5/road-trip-resources When I'm not photographing bands, I still spend a lot of time going to gigs. The bands I want to see don’t always play locally, so I often end up travelling. If they can't come to me, I will go to them if at all possible! I love travelling, and I've had a lot of fun over the years combining gigging with travel (and over the years have become reasonably competent at the planning side of things). This page is basically a summary of resources that I most commonly use. Most of these are pretty obvious, and I know I'm probably missing a fair few tricks, but if anything here helps even one person who shares my stubborn mindset, that's my job done...

DISCLAIMER: This post won’t give you more money, or free time, or motivation, or find you a babysitter, or fix whatever other things stop you from getting to see bands…and it certainly won’t miraculously make them play in your home town… (for a really good read on the subject of why bands play where they play, please read Hayseed Dixie's Live Tour Primer). I'm in the UK, so I've concentrated on 'local' resources but you can take these ideas and apply them anywhere.

When a band I really like announces a tour, I usually start out by looking at the state of our finances, laughing hysterically, plotting to sell anything left in the house that's not nailed down, and thinking about buying lottery tickets. Once all that is out of my system, I open up my calendar, make up a shortlist of dates that looks like it could be realistic (to start with that includes any dates on weekends, and if in the UK, any places driveable from home in an evening, so that I can avoid using up too much annual leave in one hit). Then I start to figure out whether I can actually make travelling to any of them work. I like to set things in motion as far in advance as possible so that I can spread the costs out (and have a few months to figure out how to raise extra money if I really want to make something happen - eBay is more definitely a factor in a lot of my plans). It's not always possible to do things on a shoestring, but if you do the research, you can improve the odds dramatically.

Over the years it's become a game to see how far a limited budget and finite amount of annual leave can be stretched, and success often hinges on whether I care about getting a full night’s sleep (I've used overnight buses from Glasgow or Newcastle to London on a Sunday night and gone straight to work from the coach station on Monday).

UK travel

If driving isn't possible, or is prohibitively expensive, I may use National Express or Megabus, and subscribe to alerts on thetrainline if I'm looking far enough in advance that cheaper train tickets haven't yet gone on sale. 

Going further afield

First, get the big picture: travel planning sites such as goeuro.co.uk or rome2rio.com are connected to a bunch of travel (airline, train, bus, coach, car hire) and accommodation sites, and will suggest routes and prices. Goeuro even allows you to specify any discount cards that you have for modes of travel that it suggests so that you get an accurate price reflected. Both sites will connect you to the site that handles bookings for your chosen mode of transport. It’s far from foolproof - some operators won’t timetable or book journeys that are too far in advance, and earlybirds may not always get the best price (depending on whether services have set schedules for releasing cheaper tickets), but it gives you a quick sense of what might be possible.

What I tend to do is use these sites to get a ballpark figure and get an idea of how much travel time & money is going to be needed, then go to the individual travel companies (or alternative ones) to price and possibly book each part of the journey individually.

It's ridiculous, but using budget airlines to get to venues in Europe and Scandinavia can be cheaper and faster than getting to many parts of England (the first time I did this was to go to a gig in Paris in 1994 when the artist wasn't coming to the UK or Ireland).

Google flightsKayak or Skyscanner are all useful to get initial info about airlines/price ranges for your potential destination and dates.

Accommodation

I always look up the venue, then go to Booking.com , which is really useful when it comes to advance planning (with perks for frequent users). I use the map view to see what's closest, weigh up locations for convenience, andalways look for deals that allow you to pay nothing upfront and change/cancel the booking free of charge until a day or two before the booking date. It can be a little more expensive than the pay upfront, non-refundable options, but I've had to make enough cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances over the years that I'll often err on the side of caution (it's sometimes possible to book a non-refundable, cheaper room closer to the day and then cancel the original booking, but that's not a given). universityrooms.com and hostels.com can be good budget options for some locations if know your plans are unlikely to change.

Sometimes you can improvise - there have been occasions where J and I have arrived at our destination with the intention of going straight back to an airport after a gig and taking it in turns to nap before a morning flight, but have checked laterooms.com on arrival for last-minute bargains. My favourite was booking a room in a 4* hotel for £28 while we were on the bus from Dublin airport, meaning that we could get a shower and sleep for a few hours before heading home. 

Other thoughts:

  • Asking friends, family and connections on social networks for help/recommendations is always a good bet. I've been a part of some great fan communities on the internet for many years now.  These can be great places to find gig buddies and transport buddies (and spouses, but that's a whole 'nother story!). People often post up alerts when they see cheap tickets going on sale, or if they have last minute spares, train tickets they can no longer use, extra seats in their cars, etc. Obviously you need to exercise a bit of caution, but J and I have met up with countless people over the years to facilitate getting to and from gigs, hosted people and been hosted in return, and made lifelong friends.
  • Research your destination online - if I'm going somewhere I'm not familiar with, I always look up the venue and accommodation on Google Street view so I'm not flailing around figuring out what to do when I arrive, and check walking distances and alternative travel options between key points.
  • Look up food shops, cafes and restaurants in the area - in Madrid thanks to a bit of research we found a great Mexican restaurant behind the venue we were going to which was open 'til 2am, great for post-gig snacks and cheep beers for those that wanted them.

  • Look for accommodation without breakfast, and pack some instant porridge, or shop locally for picnic food. Alternatively if you're heading somewhere that food and drink is comparatively expensive (Norway springs to mind), a hotel that includes an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast can be worth more than double what you pay for it.

  • Travel as light as possible so that you can comfortably walk around your destination without necessarily needing to stop by your accommodation first (I only ever take hand luggage that will fit comfortably under the seat in front of me).

  • Find out whether airport bus tickets can be bought cheaper online in advance (and be prepared to argue with bus drivers in Glasgow about print vs. pdf versions!).

  • If you need airport parking, try to book it more than a month in advance if you can - there's a massive price hike the closer you get to your departure date

  • Are you going to a city with bus passes/travelcards/multi-trip savers available?

  • Join membership/rewards schemes for hotel chains etc - perks may include things like include 10% off for direct booking, occasional free room upgrades, free wifi, early check-in or late checkout. Also sometimes cheaper than comparison sites.

  • If you're going to need to spend a lot of time at an airport, you may be able to research and book a cut-price lounge deal (and justify the cost of it with the food & drink that's included). 

  • If you're travelling in a group and don't mind room-sharing, many hostels (such as Danhostels in Denmark) have private rooms that will sleep 4-6 adults comfortably - this can cut costs significantly, as can booking rooms with shared bathrooms.

  • Hiring a car can sometimes work out cheaper than public transport for two or more people, depending on your destination and travel dates (approach this one with caution).

  • Check cashback offers provided by your bank! This month I got 10% cashback on airport parking by booking with my debit card and earned Avios at the same time by adding my reward number to the booking.

I will add more to this as I think of it, but spending a few extra hours planning can really pay off in the long run.

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) adventure budget creativity gigs resources road trip travel http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2017/5/road-trip-resources Wed, 24 May 2017 09:53:56 GMT
Keeping it fresh http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2016/7/same-old-same-old A couple of weeks ago I was scrounging a ride between gigs, when the question was  posed "how do you not tire of shooting the same thing again and again?". At the time I (hope that I) managed to explain myself *reasonably* adequately, but the question was clearly filed away by the brain cell for further rumination, because I woke up thinking about it a while later.

Answer - no two gigs are ever the same. Photographing a wide variety of bands is great, but there’s something that you (I) get from spending time with the same people that’s very different to photographing a band as a one-off. Different venues, stages, lighting conditions, lenses, viewpoints...the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) changes in the way people interact from gig to gig...each night is is self-contained and unique. Some days bring challenges, others can be serendipitous in nature (and that’s all without mentioning having the time and space to build a level of trust, which should never be taken for granted).

I guess it’s my equivalent of changing up the set or changing an arrangement, finding a different groove, going off-road, or laying things out in a slightly different way on stage. Essentially it comes down to colours and shapes and expressions, and where the mood and my gut take me. If things were the same night after night after night I’m sure there's a chance that I’d eventually run out of steam...but that’s not the way it is!

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) diversity inspiration photography variety http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2016/7/same-old-same-old Wed, 06 Jul 2016 15:03:25 GMT
Stolen gear http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2015/11/stolen-gear Not a fun update, this one.

My camera bag was stolen at a bus stop in Manchester on Saturday October 31st 2015 just after 4pm. The police have been informed, as have local camera shops and second hand shops. The bag and contents are as follows:

  • Tamrac 5584 Expedition 4X Backpack
  • Sandisk Cruzer Glide 128gb USB flash drive 
  • Nikon D600 camera body Barcode on box # HC1301011154 (HK import) - not sure if this is correct for serial # but is in the right place on the box.
  • Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro lens Serial # 3021819 
  • Nikon 14‐24mm 1:2.8G ED NIKKOR lens Serial # 299679
  • Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR lens Serial # 705162.&
  • 3xEN-EL15 Lithium-ion Batteries
  • 1x EN-EL15 battery charger
  • 3x SanDisk 32Gb SDHC memory cards
  • 1x mini usb cable
  • 8x AA batteries
  • 1x blue 2Gb ipod shuffle 4th generation (engraved with my name and mobile number in the back)
  • 1x black Sennheiser earbuds
  • 1x Apple iPad mains charger

The bag had a business card with all my contact details in the front top left pocket.

I got off the bus with a suitcase, camera bag and two other bags. The handle of one of my bags had broken so, thinking I was alone at the bus stop, I put everything down by my feet while I fixed the broken handle with gaffer tape, which took my attention for less than a minute. I picked everything up to cross the road to my hotel, and realised that I was a bag short. There was nobody in sight.

***update***

I found out later that contrary to the signs on the bus stop, there was no CCTV covering the exact area, so there was no way of identifying the thief. Moreover, because I had reported honestly exactly what happened, my insurance did not cover me as I did not have the bag physically ripped out of my hands and had technically left it unattended.

My heartfelt thanks go out to the music communities of which I am a part, who helped me to keep working; the friends who called to check up on me and those that looked after me for the rest of the day, and over the period that followed. It may have been a crap day, but I learned a lot about how great people can be.

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) band photography crime police serial numbers stolen camera stolen lenses theft http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2015/11/stolen-gear Tue, 03 Nov 2015 15:43:04 GMT
What makes something yours? http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/12/about-giving-a-damn I had a good question on my FB page yesterday (thank you Mark!)

'All your photos are recognisably yours - even if they had no watermark. Is this intentional?'

My burning-the-midnight-oil answer was: ‘The editing process is almost identical whatever the circumstances, so it's partially that (I guess that's the intentional part, I know where I want to end up with colour/saturation etc.) and part eye/gut (unconscious) - I wouldn't know where to start on making them not look like mine! I'm not overly fussed with the technical side, and probably a lot sloppier in that respect than a lot of people. If it feels right then it stays.’

Apparently I wasn’t entirely happy with this answer and my brain was mulling it over more in my sleep, because today I woke up with more to say.

Confession: I don’t have, and never have had, a favourite music photographer or a specific influence. I honestly don’t pay that much attention - I can’t, it would drive me nuts. I have seen many, many great concert photos (which I’m sure my brain has taken note of and filed away to an extent), but an early self-preservation thing when I picked up a camera was to try to avoid getting too drawn in to what other people are doing/have done. Why? Because I know myself well enough to know how easily I fall into the trap of comparing, getting negative, hitting self-destruct. ‘Not good enough’ are words that rattle around my head constantly if I let my guard down. I became a lot happier with what I was doing once I forced myself to throw away my hangups about how things ‘should’ be, stopped looking for ‘good examples’, and just started to feed my desire to do something I loved in a way that felt right to me. I stopped being afraid of not being perfect, and forced myself to trust that I was technically competent enough to not screw up too horribly on a regular basis. After all, it's supposed to be fun, not a form of torture!

I want my photos to look like my memories (which are warm, rich, colourful and occasionally fuzzy). I love to see exchanges of emotion. I want to soak up and retain as much of the feeling of a gig as possible, and I am utterly selfish about it. I want to be able to point to a picture and say ‘that’s what it felt like’. That’s what (whether the outcome is successful or not) I always carry inside. I usually favour colour over black and white.

Ultimately, if anyone asked for my advice, it would be this: Don’t take photos for other people. Do what you care about. Be present. Immerse yourself. Make something that’s yours, that feels right to you. If you believe in it, chances are that feeling will be communicated to others. Nothing is ever as satisfying or as motivating or as authentic as doing your own thing. I think that’s the key to your work becoming recognisably yours.

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) authenticity emotion identity influence motivation http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/12/about-giving-a-damn Mon, 22 Dec 2014 15:46:40 GMT
Publishing and sharing on social media. http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/11/publishing-and-sharing-photos-on-social-media---copyright-talk Today's brain dump is about photography and social media. I'm writing this after some reflection on my own experiences with how people use images on the internet.

I publish a lot on social media. I like my photos to be seen, not to languish on a hard drive. Likes and shares are nice, they are instant feedback. I love the potential for promotional knock-on effect of publishing live concert photos - the chance that something I publish might entice someone to go to a gig, or listen to a band they haven’t heard before. It’s great being able to promote the shows of bands I love to the community of people that I am part of. I love it when sharing images starts a chain reaction of conversation that results in ticket sales. 

I publish for the enjoyment of all sorts of people. A lot of my friends are the friends and families of musicians, they are the support network, they are the people who can’t necessarily go to the gigs because they are holding the fort at home.  I have met and photographed some fantastic people because of connections I’ve made online. I value the relationships I have made; that can't ever be overstated.

On the flipside, music photography can be an expensive and time consuming business. A small fortune spent on equipment, time invested in learning, improving, developing a style, seeking accreditation, travelling, photographing, editing, publishing...pressing the button is such a very, very tiny part of it. As anyone in a creative role will understand, exposure on social media, good though it is, is NOT a sure fire fast-track way to paid work. Because sharing on social media is so easy, it helps to promote the "everything on the internet should be free" viewpoint. 

This is where it can start to drag you down a bit if you let it. It's a sad state of affairs when people are offended by someone's expectation or request to be fairly compensated for their work, just because it can be shared for free on Facebook! Basically it boils down to having a bit of understanding and respect. Obviously it's up to the individual to decide how to handle requests for free stuff, and decide what form 'worth it' takes to them (and personally I have a few scenarios where 'worth it' is not measured financially), but I also think it's really important for everyone to understand that a free for all should not be the default. 

There's so much more to be said on this subject, but the point of this blog is more about my approach to handling image use on social media and I'm already getting off track...

My simple requirements for anyone wanting to use my photos on Facebook are:

  1. No cropping or editing. I upload images how I want them to be presented!
  2. Share using the share button. This way I have a chance of keeping track of who is seeing the photo, and people can trace the photo back to my page.
  3. For any potential use elsewhere, contact me before using.

Keeping it simple, avoiding headaches. Or at least that's the idea!

As you will probably have noticed, I watermark most* of the images I put on social media with the copyright symbol, my name, and website address. Now, technically I don’t have to do this - copyright is automatic and exists as soon as the shutter is pressed. However, there are still a lot of misunderstandings, and the very nature of social media platforms is to allow easy sharing. Because I expect that a certain percentage of concert photos that I post on Facebook will get sharedI watermark them, primarily to:

  • Identify myself as the photographer.
  • Make it easy for people to trace the source of the photo 
  • Prevent the photo being claimed by someone else as their work 
  • Prevent the photo from becoming an ‘orphaned work’

Is watermarking foolproof? Absolutely not. Photos still get used all over the internet in all sorts of ways that haven't been agreed, and that needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Most people don't want to do wrong by you, and although this is no excuse, most issues arise from people simply not realising that there are dos and don'ts when it comes to using pictures that you find on the internet (though of course there are exceptions to that!), and from lack of communication.

As aesthetically annoying as it is, adding my copyright watermark to each image removes ambiguity about where the photo has come from, makes my life a little easier if I do have to have a discussion with someone about the way a photo has been used, and makes deliberate infringement easier to chase up. Also, if someone wants to commission me, license a photo for commercial use, buy a print...they know how to find me. 

Hit me up on facebook if you want to talk more about this!

 

*(the exception to this is when I create and share banners for bands, in which case the only message is 'please use this image as is to promote the crap out of this band', or when unwatermarked usage has been agreed).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) copyright facebook image theft sharing social media use http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/11/publishing-and-sharing-photos-on-social-media---copyright-talk Sun, 09 Nov 2014 14:46:35 GMT
More thoughts on colour vs black and white http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/11/more-thoughts-on-colour-vs-black-and-white So last time I blogged (yeah, ages ago I know) it was about dealing with colour. Recently I've seen a few articles published about dealing with 'bad' lighting, with the bold assertion that 'the only solution' when faced with a wash of red lights is to turn images black and white. This is becoming one of those trigger phrases that can send me in to full-on rant mode!

Maybe its a stubbornness thing, but when someone declares that something is 'the only solution', I need to challenge it.

Black and white to me is a matter of personal taste, not a default 'fix'. What I'm questioning is not artistic choice, but the seemingly growing number of people who appear to be saying 'don't waste your time, black and white is the only way to go' when what they mean is that it's the least challenging, least labour-intensive way to go. My approach is 'shoot what happens and present it in the most authentic to memory way that you can'. I don't see in black and white, therefore I want to present my memories in colour. Which means handling the lighting in the best way I can. Challenges are good for us, they help us to learn!

 

 

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) black and white challenge choice lighting red light http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/11/more-thoughts-on-colour-vs-black-and-white Sun, 09 Nov 2014 11:40:50 GMT
Never stop learning http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/6/never-stop-learning I'm re-working a few older galleries this week to apply what I've been teaching myself about dealing with red lighting. It's quite common when images are flooded with red light for people to convert to black and white to 'salvage' the picture. I've always really hated doing that (although I love black and white, I don't like it so much for my own pictures where I prefer to try to nail the richness of colour that I see on stage), so I'm on a mission to embrace the red and cope with it better both when taking photos and editing them at home.
 
Here's the first one: www.bandsonstage.co.uk/thebluefieldsapril2013. Originally about 25% of these shots were converted to b/w. 
The Borderline has a lot of red (both lighting and backdrop). It looks great in the venue, and (I think) adds to the warmth and intimacy of a show, but has a tendency to make anyone on the near side of the stage as you come in look like they've been sunbathing in a nuclear reactor! The other side of the stage often has more of a green tint, while the drummer often fares best with a more even mix of light. Sometimes the lights here cycle through a range of colours, but this night they stayed the same. For this gallery, I made little tweaks to white balance (colour temperature and tint), exposure, shadows and noise reduction. What's important to me when editing is that I don't spend ages on it - we're talking maybe a couple of seconds per image. 

Original settings:

  • Focal length 24-70 mm
  • Exposure between 1/125 - 1/200 at f/2.8
  • ISO 3200
  • Spot metering
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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) band photography red light venue lighting http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/6/never-stop-learning Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:47:14 GMT
Website anniversary http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/6/marking-an-anniversary-in-messy-and-public-fashion Friday was the 8th anniversary of my website. I feel bad for missing it, so with special logic, I'm marking it with a blog post/brain fart (there's no difference).
 
This blog starts with a niggle. It bothers me that the least creative part of creative peoples’ websites is often the ‘artistic statement’ type of page. This is in itself nothing to be frowned at (because deciding how to present yourself in a couple of paragraphs is not easy).
 
The niggle is that 95% of the time you will find some variation of the phrase ‘I have a passion for xyz’. Why do you say that? It should be obvious. You shouldn't have to point it out to people. If you don't have a passion for what you're doing, if it's not fun, then why are you doing it? (I am deliberately ignoring the almighty dollar here; there are not a lot of people getting rich off concert photography).
 
What do people even mean by passionate? I am not a person with a talent for wrapping things up in flowery language. Take the following 2006 thought process as an example. "What do I do? I take pictures of bands on stage. Oh, there's the website name sorted then." 
 
But when I read things like 'I am passionate about blah blah blah', I think, what does that actually tell me about that person? Here’s the part where you will either start to understand me a little better, or think I’m completely full of crap. Probably both :)
 
What makes it fun for me, why I have persevered with this, where the 'passion' lies, is not because it's glamorous (it mostly isn't), but because when it's good, it scratches some big itches.
 
Here's a description of a bad day at a gig. I feel rushed, hemmed in, distracted, can't find a comfortable spot, am hyper-sensitive to my surroundings, distracted, preoccupied, feeling too conspicuous, feel I'm not connecting with the gig, etc. etc. A lot of the 'problems' originate in my head, and most should be controllable, but occasionally I struggle do the mind over matter thing and just can't settle. In spite of this, I will deliver a good result. There is some satisfaction in being at the point where I know I can do that most of the time. However, that in itself is not inspiring.
 
Now a good day: Despite the physical nerves in the pit of my stomach that I get before the house lights go down, I'm calm because I know it will stop as soon as the show starts. I don't know beforehand if I'm going to come out with anything that makes me happy, but I do know that the more absorbed in what's happening on stage I am, the better it's likely to be. If the band is having a good time, and I get tuned in to that, I'm having a good time too. I bounce off what I see and feel. You can only prepare so much, at showtime it's just you and them. I strongly believe that the most satisfying images don't come from thinking about settings and worrying about perfection, they come from your heart and your gut. Some of my favourite photos (actually *most* of my favourites) have been taken while I'm committing what some believe (I have read the derogatory 'fangirl' and 'fanboy' comments too many times on photography forums to not be aware that this is a thing) to be the cardinal sins of an amateur, singing or dancing (or both!), and immersed in the show, and not remotely thinking about the actual process of taking a photo. If you're consciously thinking about it, you're missing something. There is the instant gratification/fun factor from knowing that you're in the zone (it can be a bigger rush than a rollercoaster), and then the 'afterglow' part of getting back and giving the pictures that you like the most a light polish to turn them into something that you're excited about showing people. There's also the fear of getting the reaction, finding out whether you've got it even remotely right in the eyes of the people you want to get it right for. These are the things that I care about.
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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) band photography creativity emotion fan http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2014/6/marking-an-anniversary-in-messy-and-public-fashion Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:05:56 GMT
Music photography tips: Jump shots http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2013/11/music-photography-tips-jump-shots I’m a big fan of jump shots, and it’s one of the aspects of band photography I get the most questions about. Nailing the elusive jump shot is a mixture of planning, good judgement and luck.

If you want to improve your chances of success, here are a few tips:

  • Research your band. Try to watch some live footage to find out how lively they are on stage. Rich Jones, Ginger Wildheart BandRich JonesGinger Wildheart Band
  • Listen  – sometimes, even with a song you’ve never heard before, you can predict where a jump might occur (If you’re familiar with the music, this is much easier).   

    Justin HawkinsJustin Hawkins

  • Learn to shoot with both eyes open – looking through the viewfinder is all well and good, but sometimes you get extra cues from your peripheral vision.

    Patent PendingPatent Pending
  • Watch out for body language and stage positioning. Standing on the drum riser or a monitor can be a dead giveaway, as can looking at a bit of the stage a few feet away (or the ceiling!), or someone steadying themselves and bending their knees slightly.

    The WildheartsThe Wildhearts
  • If you can’t use flash (more than 95% of the jumps I’ve caught have been in no-flash situations), use the fastest shutter speed you can get away with, and if you need to use a slower speed due to bad lighting, try to pan with the jump to stand a better chance of getting a sharp shot.

    KIXKIX
  • Don’t be reluctant to use continuous shooting to increase your chances of success if you’re following a jump.

    Electric BoysElectric BoysThe Electric Boys photographed at Islington Academy, London, by music photographer Trudi Knight

Good luck!

*post edited to add a few examples*

 

 

 

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trudi@bandsonstage.co.uk (Trudi Knight Photography // bandsonstage) band photography jumping music photographer http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/blog/2013/11/music-photography-tips-jump-shots Sat, 02 Nov 2013 15:15:57 GMT