Sound Bites Grill Entertainer
Gaelle Buswell

Great Show

First I want to say what a great show it was at Sound Bites Grill in Sedona, AZ. I photograph musicians at this venue on a regular basis, and it’s a great space. Gaelle is from France, and she brought her A game with her for the performance. I look forward to a return engagement should it happen to come this way.

gaelle buswell sings at sound bites grill sedonaGaelle Buswell Live on stage at Sound Bites

Photographing a Live Performance

I want to talk to you about capturing images from a live performance. In the studio, you have control of the lighting, posing, and expression of your subject. Not so much when the performers are live on stage. The lighting is what the lighting is, and while it was set for a specific place on stage, the entertainers often are moving in and out of the preset light pattern. Expressions can be all over the place with closed eyes, weird mouth positions, and strange body positions. To get the best captures that are flattering to the subject you need to study the movements of the performer before beginning to photograph. If you do this, you will start to notice what type of body language will happen with certain kinds of songs. When does the performer close their eyes? And better yet when will they be open? Where is the light best? The study will get you more and better images than if you just start firing away.

Processing the Files

Once you have the capture, it’s time to finesse it in post-processing. There are always improvements to be made. Control of the highlight and shadows. Getting the best color for the situation can be a bit of work because of the LED lighting not having a full spectrum. This can give some bizarre color tones on the skin, and even if everything else is excellent, an unflattering skin tone can kill a shot. Many times I will double process an image and combine. One copy is prepared for the background and the other for the skin tones. Using Layer in Photoshop and adding Masks allow complete control.

original image of gaelleOriginal image of Gaelle after ACR Process and before tweaks

You can compare the image above with the photo on the top of this post. You will see with a little dodging and burning along with a tiny bit of cloning there are fewer distractions from the performer. Let me know if you can see what the differences are. There are five.

Black and White

I always process out my images to black and white. One is for my clients use in PR situations. Providing BW images will lead to better quality in print, especially newspapers rather than letting the Paper just do a desaturation. The other reason is viewing a black and white image tells you if your tonal values are on because you are not distracted by the color.

gaelle in black and whiteGaelle in black and white

Camera Gear

As always I am using Lumix Micro 4/3rds camera gear. The camera is Lumix G9 with the LUMIX G X VARIO LENS, 35-100MM, F2.8 ASPH Instead of using the Leica f2.8-4.0 12-60mm when I am shooting in scenes with this much contrast and moving performers I want the speed and control f2.8 of the fixed aperture lens.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob