A musician’s guide to photography

Photography

Recently my job has required me to take photos and with my amateur abilities and desire to improve my skills, I did not hesitate to undertake the task.

I photograph musicians. Unfortunately, in my photography class I recognized that portrait photography was not my strength. Give me an open field or an array of architecture and I’m in heaven, but give me a model and they’ll look their worst. I am also a musician and am often the subject of less than flattering stage photography.

The room I photograph in, a beautiful, light-wood recital hall, is also difficult to photograph in so here are my few tips about taking and editing these kinds of pictures.

First, I either keep my camera on it’s portrait setting (a low aperture and low shutter speed with a varying ISO) or I keep the shutter speed high to at least maintain sharpness and edit colors and exposure after.

Angles are an obstacle. It’s distracting to walk around, especially during a performance for a smaller audience. I abused the zoom and tried to get some early shots during tuning to get the best close-up shots of the musicians.

When editing the photos, cropping and adjusting the exposure are options that exist to enhance the photos. If you’re just snapping pictures rapidly, sometimes you can’t properly frame the photo. I tried to keep the “temperature” of the photos consistent throughout by balancing the orange-ness of the room with cooler tones on photoshop.

Understanding the basics of Photoshop photo editing can be useful to people like me who are suckered into a pseudo photographer position while working primarily with marketing and social media. I use the Curves feature to balance the temperature of the photo, the Levels feature to adjust the contrast, and the Brightness feature to bring out darker features (especially when everyone is wearing black). Inverting masks, cropping to focus, and gradient tools are also useful, but I recommend playing around with Photoshop to figure out your preferred method and style of photo editing.