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I did a commissioned shoot for Shout to Talk last night at the Galapagos. Lead by the vocal stylings of Matty Fasano, the Brooklyn based indie-rock quintet played a tight set to a surprisingly healthy and excited Thursday night crowd.As I learned during my recent shoot of Diet Kong, telephoto zooms, though not ideal for their size, weight or max aperture, come in handy when shooting at venues with very high stages.

The problem with shooting in a venue with a high stage is that with any lens in the range of 24-70mm, you often end up shooting at extreme angles directly underneath the performers. Not only does this make you more familiar with strange nose hair than any normal person should be, but it visually diminishes the faces of the musicians with respect to the rest of the frame. To counteract these effects, you must instead shoot across the sage with a telephoto lens such as an 85mm prime or 70-200 zoom. Shooting across the stage removes the extreme angles and has the added benefit of flattening the perspective which usually simplifies the composition.

The lighting for this gig consisted of what I like to call NYC’s standard “dim red cans.” Dim Red Cans make for an easy time of setting the proper exposure while still necessitating slow shutter speeds and fast glass. This set was shot entirely with my fastest and only telephoto lens, the Canon 70-200mm IS. Since the 70-200′s max aperture is only f/2.8, I was again forced to use ISO6400 at between 1/80-1/200 of a second.

While I’m not displeased with the night’s take per-say, this gig was problematic enough to inspire the creation of a new photography guide for the site. I haven’t thought of a title yet, but the guide will consist of a list of simple things a band can do to make sure that when they hire me, their photos will be the best they can be.

Two on the short list:
1) Have the lighting tech make sure there is ample light in your faces
2) Be far apart enough of stage so that every band member can be seen clearly and photographed individually.

A big thanks to Shout to Talk for asking me to shoot.

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