Band photography

edited May 2015 Posted in » Canon T5 / 1200D Forum
Hi, great to find a dedicated forum for specific cameras - wish I'd found you before!

Help please (asap). I am taking photos of a band tomorrow night. Am I completely delusional thinking I can get some good shots with a Canon 1200D? It's not a really dark venue but the lights are fairly dim as you'd imagine.

I've done a couple of shoots in the same place before and I got some decent shots, but on the whole I've found it really hard and pretty stressful. I was mainly using it on AV mode but then getting lots of blur.

What settings should I be using to get the best from my camera?

Thank you in advance for any advice!


  • edited May 2015
    With any such venue you have to consider how much light is reaching the sensor. You probably know already that exposure consists of three factors - aperture, shutter speed and ISO. You do not say which lens you have so I am assuming that it is the standard 18-55mm. The pro of this lens is that it has IS which helps you shoot at lower shutter speeds which is good for static subjects. The cons are that the largest aperture you can use is f/3.5 (for very low light a lens of f/1.8 is more typical) and you will want to shoot at higher shutter speeds to capture action, especially if the band members are moving around. The only answer here is to raise your ISO which will increase your shutter speeds. The problem with high ISOs is increased noise levels. However, noise can be dramatically reduced in post processing if you are prepared to do it.
    So, to sum up 1) set your camera to Av, 2) open your lens to f/3.5 or f/4, 3) set auto ISO to on, 4) set RAW as your quality or RAW+Jpg, 5) set your camera to continuous shooting as this will increase your chances of getting a keeper.
    I offer this with no obligation as someone else may suggest different settings. I have assumed all along that flash is out of the question. However, if flash is allowed then most of your problems are solved, but shoot in P mode as Av fires the flash with a very slow shutter speed.
  • edited May 2015
    Just a P.S. Use your center focus point only to focus on a band member or members. This will prevent your camera focussing on something else like a microphone stand or the back of someone's head in the crowd.
  • edited May 2015
    Thank you so much for your reply. I had previously used the kit lens and obviously wasn't using it in the best way. For every photo that was okay, there were about 20 that were blurred.
    This time I took my new 50mm lens which worked out so much better. I set it on TV, ISO on auto and then set the shutter speed myself. I got a few that I really love and a lot that I like more than the last ones.
    Do you think I could use the 50mm lens more efficiently? If so, how? I'm going back to the venue next week so any more advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  • edited May 2015
    Hi again,
    Your first job now is to look at the EXIF data, or at least the picture info screen of the shots you love. This will provide you with valuable information about the settings at the time of exposure. Also look at some that you like but don't love and see how the settings differ. This exercise alone can teach you far more than I could in a lifetime.
    Glad you managed to get some good shots. Good luck for next time.
  • edited June 2015
    You can definitely take some good band photos at night; I have been doing it for a couple of years now. I'm a beginner with minimal knowledge. Moose has those cheet cards which will help you in almost every situation. Invest. it's well worth it. I shoot in the TV mode 1/1000, ISO automatic. Adjust as needed for light and burst mode; works every time.
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