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First Chair: Concert Photography Advice by Sherry Fisher

Roy Hargrove Roy Hargrove Photo by Morrice Blackwell

In our "First Chair" guest editorials, professional musicians and artists share with the Jazz Review a few tricks of the trade.  Our first guest is professional photographer Sherry Fisher, who is known for her creative and energetic live music portfolio.  We asked Sherry to share with us her "starter" suggestions for helping fans take better concert photos.

 

Shooting live music can be one of the hardest subjects to photograph. It’s like trying to capture a sporting event (action) with low lighting, or constantly changing color spotlights and a portrait session all at the same time!

If you would like to get some good photos of your favorite jazz artists, you can try some of these hints and suggestions:

- Try not to shoot the artist when they are behind the mike stand, at some point they usually move from center stage and you have your chance.

- Wait if the performer closes their eyes as they are playing, watch usually most players will open them at some point in the song. Although you can also get great shots with their eyes closed, most people rather see the eyes open.

- Look for a mannerism or movement that is a signature movement for that musician and be ready to capture it! I know some singers will gesture with their arms open wide and I know that I need to turn my camera horizontal so I don’t cut off the hands. Turn your camera to suit the action. Other musicians like some saxophonist raise their foot or use their hands to emphasize a note, bass players will often crouch down with their instrument-these are action shots that show the music.

- Try your best not to flash the performer in the eyes, sometimes you have no choice to get a certain photo. This will depend on your camera and lens and the venue.

Article by Sherry Fisher

For more information on Sherry's work, visit her website.

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