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    so the dirtbombs are playing at my brothers wedding in a couple of weeks. i would like to know how to take some decent shots of the band while they are playing. i am using a 8.0 megapixel canon rebel XT ,and i have an 18-55mm lens, a 35-80mm, and an 80-200mm
    any tips or pointers?


    i’m a big fan of shutter drag – set your flash to 2nd curtain (should be one of the custom function options) and your exposure to around 1/10 or 1/15 – you’ll get some interesting results! and play with it for sure – different shutter speeds = different results.

    otherwise i recommend cranking the ISO and shooting w/out a flash. meter from the lead singer and set it manually – stage lights can screw you up. white balance can be hard too, especially if they have some sort of light show. if their lights are fixed, try to set a custom white balance as well, otherwise they’re all going to be pretty red.

    here’s a link to some of the stuff i’ve shot. i’m by no means a master, and most of these were actually taken with my point and shoot, but there are some good examples of that shutter drag i was talking about. one of these days i’ll bring my big girl gear, but i’m always afraid of something getting spilled on it since most of the shows around here are in bars. just a chickenshit i suppose. 🙂

    have fun, and congrats to your brother!!!


    wow that was fast. thanks for all the info. ill make sure to try all that and post the results. do you think i should bother using a tripod? or would it be too much of a pain? also what do you mean by “meter from the lead singer”


    tripod would be a big pain, and usually stages are well lit enough that you shouldn’t need one. all of those shots of mine of mandatory air are w/out flash or tripod, shooting at 200 iso (i think, that’s what i’m usually set at).

    re: metering the lead singer – if you don’t have a handheld meter, change the metering system on your camera to ‘spot’ (just for this, otherwise i think spot metering is a pain in the butt but it’s totally whatever works for you), and frame a shot on the singer’s face – center square right on him. make note of the exposure and set it in manual mode to that f-stop and shutter speed.

    unless it’s an active band, then that won’t work very well. i don’t have too much trouble just using the auto functions (instead of setting the exposure manually) but i’ve heard this method recommended a few times.

    i’m the fastest response in the west, baby. 😛


    if you don’t have a handheld meter, change the metering system on your camera to ‘spot’

    I also have a Rebel XT and there is no spot metering on the camera. The closest thing to that is “partial metered”, which works fine enough.

    To access this:

    1. In standby mode, press the left key on the circle-shaped button array on the back of the camera
    2. Press the down key until the middle of the three options is highlighted
    3. Press SET (the button in the middle of the circled array)
    4. Press the shutter halfway to return to standby mode

    Normal evaluative metering is the top of the three options in the metering menu.


    sweet, thanks mikemikeb. i didn’t know that the rebel didn’t have spot metering.

    FWIW, ohiopyro, i carry the manual to my camera everywhere. you never know when you’re going to need it and if you’re changing settings or looking for a particular function it can be a lifesaver.


    Get as close as you can. Use a monopod. Use the fastest widest lens you have. Rock on 🙂

    If you can, do some meter tests before the show actually starts. Once you have some numbers in head (for example, lead singer at front requires f/1.4 at 1/200th or whatever), you’ll have less thinking to do during the actual show and you can concentrate on composition and waiting for great moments.


    Meh, I know this is from a bit back, but I’ll still comment. Might help someone else in a similar situation. I was doing shots at a friends band act, and what saved me most was the el cheapo 50mm f1.8 lens with ISO 1600. Get the 50mm, it’s like $70, and the fastest lens you can get for your money. (‘course if you have the cash, spring the $270 for the 1.4, or the $1200 for the 1.2) I like flash, but
    1. most venues don’t allow it,
    2. it can ruin the ambiance.

    So slow down the shutter to maybe 1/60th of a second, open the lens wide, and have at it. As long as you are reasonably close to the action, the 50mm will focus fine, and you should get a bunch of keepers. Also, when you’re in a situation like that, make sure continuous shot mode is on, and take two or three shots of every composition. Your depth of field is pretty narrow, so hedge your bets.


    I agree with using a lens with a large aperture (I also have the 50mm f1.8 ).

    I made the mistake of not changing the ISO to 1600 (I forgot I changed it back to 100 earlier while outside *slaps head*), but I found by putting the camera into aperture priority and watching what the camera thinks the exposure the time should be, then getting an average from the values (it was ranging between 0.3s to 1/200s so I went with 1/60s).

    Once you have the average, put it into manual mode with the aperture and exposure set to the values determined. Once that is done I then used the auto focus to focus on the performers and then set it to manual focus so the camera won’t do anything but take photos.

    By doing this I got some really good band photos with the ISO set at 100!

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