The Rules of Composition in Photography Video

The Rules of Composition in Photography

Perhaps the most well know principle of photographic composition is the ‘Rule of Thirds‘.

It’s one of the first things that budding digital photographers learn about in classes on photography and rightly so as it is the basis for well balanced and interesting shots.

I will say right up front however that rules are meant to be broken and ignoring this one doesn’t mean your images are necessarily unbalanced or uninteresting. However a wise person once told me that if you intend to break a rule you should always learn it first to make sure your breaking of it is all the more effective!

The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts.

Music Concert Photography

Taking pictures of concert photography is tricky, but in the nutshell, you will need a correct equipments for the job, and has the access to the pit (a gap between audience and the band). To get access to the pit, you will need to have a pass. You could ask permission directly, or you can ask a local publication to help you to get a press pass, and usually you need to give them the pictures

Camera and lenses
Equipments that you need are a digital slr camera and low light lens. Low light lens means that the lens should have a maximum aperture greater or same as f/2.8, for example: f/1.8 or f/1.4.

If you are using a crop sensor camera (which is common digital slr camera like Canon EOS Rebel series, Nikon D80, D90, D300, Pentax, Olympus and Sony (except A900), then 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 prime will be ideal, more than 85mm will be too long.

If you like wide angle shot, than you will need either 20mm prime or big aperture zoom such as 17-55mm f/2.8.

If you shoot using full frame camera, 70-200mm f/2.8 will be ideal.

Camera setting and the changing light
There are debates whether to use Aperture priority (av) or Speed priority (tv). Before, I like to use shutter priority so I can get consistently non-blurry pictures, but because the concert light is always changing, I will say the ideal might be manual mode and change the setting manually depending on light condition and effects you like to achieve.

For example, when you want to freeze the shot, you will need to set a higher shutter speed up to 1/125 or greater, but if you want to show some motion, than 1/60-1/80 will be good. If you plan to show a lot of motion, then try 1/15. Generally, 1/125 is my favorite.

Most of the prime lenses are sharp in f/2.8 so I would love to keep it on that, but on zoom lens, f/2.8 is usually not that sharp, they are usually significantly sharper if you stop down to f/4 and critically sharp at f/5.6. But to achieve f/5.6 is very challenging because the light is usually dim. So you will need to compensate it with raising ISO. In modern camera and full frame, high iso up to 3200 is very usable.

If you use manual setting, knowing where the buttons and how to change setting quickly is crucial, because the light is very dim, so most of the time, you could press wrong buttons.

We also want to avoid blown highlight, by checking lcd often but briefly. When you notice there are blown highlight, you need to set iso / aperture down or shutter speed up to compensate it.

Also remember to shoot in RAW if possible, because by shooting in RAW, you can adjust white balance, bring up some loss detail and adjust exposure.

Ok that is my tips and experience on shooting music concert and I hope that you can benefited from it.

Suggestion on what to shoot:
1. Band include lead singer.
2. Audience
3. Wide angle shot of the scene
4. detail shot / face expression of the individual band.


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