One of the things I love most about music photography is the nightly opportunity to discover bands like Paper Tongues; you may not have heard of them but their vibe is infectiously feel-good and their performance dynamic enough to break through the infamous snobbery of the NYC audience.

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Concert Photography Notes

I shot Paper Tongues with a combination of the 14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm Nikon zooms. The 24-70mm saw the lion’s share of use but the wide angle was necessary to show off the band’s huge stage presence.

Although the lighting at the Gramercy Theater is basically the best in the city, I occasionally augmented the house lights with fill from a single SB-900 speedlight mounted on-camera. The photos in this gallery are a mixture of ambient-only and ambient with fill-flash. Notably, the top function button on the front of my camera is set to toggle the flash firing on and off. This allows me to decide whether the flash should fire or not without removing my eye from the viewfinder. (This feature is exclusive to Nikon SLR bodies at the time of writing).

  1. Great point. Lately I have photographed a lot of bands I have never heard of here in Arizona. It’s a great chance to be on concert photo assignment and get exposed to some new music – which I love, and besides the view for at least the first three songs of each set doesn’t suck!

    Keep shooting and sharing I really appreciate the fact that you are transparent with your settings and equipment used.

    Greg Taylor

    • Hi Greg. Thanks for the comment. I’m glad the settings and equipment info is useful – when I look at the work of other photographers, it’s what I want to know too!

  2. Photos of Paper Tongues at Gramercy Theater —

  3. Nice set Chris. I really like shot 4, and 8 as well. I need to work more at getting compelling full stage shots like that. I like the new site design as well. When you augment with flash is it set to manual or do you rely on the Nikon cls?

    • Hi Scott, thanks. I think those are my favorite shots as well. If the ambient lighting isn’t too crazy, I almost always use CLS (dialing the power up or down as needed). If the lighting is so difficult that CLS gets confused, I’ll go totally manual.