Rene & Olly


Today we are going to be mostly shooting Olly Murs and more particularly, Rene Woodward at the Colston Hall in Bristol. Given that the last shoot we did at a live gig in Bristol for Rene was with Jessie J (see below) and the lighting for the show was poor photographically, today we have another go. Although my client was fairly happy with the Jessie shots, I am keen to better them and get a better overall image of the very gorgeous Rene playing the Godin in ‘anger’!

We have to be in Brizzle for the sound check (as that often gives us better light!!) which starts at 4pm ish and the gig begins at normal gig time of 8.30pm ish. Technically, I will take along two bodies, the 5D Mark II and the 7D. The 5D will be the preference as it shoots with better noise at higher iso’s. I will almost certainly put on the 70-200mm L f2.8 to the 5D and the 24-70mm f2.8 L on the 7D. Although there is a lot of cross over as the 7D effectively makes the 24-70 a 38-112mm because of the crop factor. I am probably going to plump for a single focus point but use auto focus and the AI Focus mode. I used it at the Jessie gig and most shots seem to be accurate. I might switch that however depending on the circumstances of the gig and the degree of movement from the performers. Rene is a ‘mover’ which is great for good shots. The preferred focal length will also depend on the ‘pit’ which although is great as you get really close in, sometimes is awkward because you tend to take a lot of ‘up the nose’ shots. I often prefer to shoot across the stage using a longer lens. This can lead to difficulties with camera shake which is why I am almost permanently on widest aperture and keep watching shutter speeds changing iso’s up if necessary.

There is a lot to think about for these shots and simply turning up and firing doesn’t work. It also helps to visualise the type of shot you are after. You usually get 3 songs to shoot which means often less than 12 minutes shooting time. That isn’t long if you are hoping to experiment. Switching lenses is costly time wasted. Having covered quite a few gigs now, I am experienced enough to understand lighting and hopefully have a solid grasp of good composition and interesting approaches. ISO grain is always liveable with, poor focus and (most) movement blur is not acceptable.

At this particular gig the trains leave early and I am not sure quite how we get back to sunny Wiltshire after 11pm but hey, thats a problem for later. In the meantime, focus (pun intended) and concentration are the key words for my 12 mins of ‘action’.

A 'moody' Rene Woollard playing with Jessie J April 2011 at O2 Academy, Bristol