Two Shooters Are Better Than One
TEXT BY BART SPRINGER IMAGES BY DUAL PHOTOGRAPHYGeorge Clinton Olive Carpet "A day late and a dollar short," or how about, "the grass is always greener on the other side?"Often, these sayings represent the end result when shooting live performances. If only I could be in two places at once . . . Even then, there's always the unfortunate possibility of missing the best shot.
Dual Photography was created to capture the enthusiasm, excitement, chaos, and magical moments of the entertainment industry, a specialized field of photography. Both Daniel Newcomb—my business partner and long-time friend-and I realized that we would benefit from putting our ideas together when shooting live performances. In 2000, we founded Dual Photography as a side project from our day jobs.
Before each show, Daniel and I devise a game plan. We discuss selection of subject and angle for each of us, go over research such as the lead singer's use of hands (avoiding "mic mouth"), and talk about the films and lenses we will use. The preparation gives each of us time to focus on the images we're creating.
When covering a concert, photographers are usually only permitted to shoot from the pit for the first three songs. It's tricky to capture stunning images in that limited amount of time, especially while trying to cover all band members, not just the lead singer. While the focus of attention jumps back and forth from stage right to stage left, a single shooter can lose that magical moment when pose, structure, and lighting come together.
A single shooter must also look out for other photographers, video equipment, and security personnel that might impair the view. That's why Daniel and I always plan to cover two different angles, with each of us positioned at opposite sides of the stage. This gives the intended viewer two totally different perspectives, while giving us twice the results to edit from, and increasing the number of quality images captured.
As a solo artist, I found myself shooting an incredible amount of film. But we've learned that shooting more film doesn't always equal better results; being patient does.
Although we may share the same vision on the music industry, selection of camera equipment is another story. My choice for shooting concerts is the Canon EOS 1-N, 70-210mm 2.8L, and Canon Speedlite 540EZ. Daniel's gear consists of the Nikon N90s, Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8 ED-IF, Nikkor 28-70mm 2.8 ED-IF, and Nikon Speedlight SB-28. We both use Fuji 800 (NHGII) color negative film rather than transparency film due to the drastic lighting changes and situations a live performance brings. The NHGII's latitude range is most forgiving, allowing for consistent results and a high contrast level that's extremely suitable for capturing the intense lighting and mood set by a stage performer.
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