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How to Use Flashes When Recording Live Music Performances

There seems to be a popular conception that you don’t use the flash in any way during music performances. While good manners and etiquette may suggest that this should be the default position to take when not saying otherwise, there are times when flash is allowed and can bring you fantastic results that you don’t. could not get otherwise.

Like, if you’re there specifically to photograph the group. But how do you use the lights? How do you know where to put them for a live event when you don’t know what your subject is going to do and where he is going to do it? Well this video from professional music photographer Todd Owyoung via Creative Live is going to tell you and show you how.

For most of us, especially if it’s not something we do often, our first instinct might be to just turn on a flash on the hoof and call it a day. But as Todd explains and demonstrates through the photographs he shows, there is so much more you can do with lighting for a live performance.

Todd shows us how we can place our lights in advance to anticipate what might happen, where we can place them to look good with every shot, little signatures that will make your images stand out. And if you have multiple flashes on different groups, you can always turn them on and off on the fly as you and your subject move. So don’t think that you have to get the perfect placement for every light before you even start.

The slightly longer than seven and a half minutes video covers a lot of ground when it comes to lighting up a scene. When you might want to help out, boost and balance with the house lights and when you might want to overpower them and completely light up your shot with flashes.

The idea of ​​photographing bands live has always intrigued me and it sounds like a lot of fun. And as unlikely as it may be, if ever I get the chance, I’ll definitely bring some speedlights!

Do you photograph bands playing flash?