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All Access: Your Backstage Pass to Concert Photography Paperback – February 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1118172902 ISBN-10: 9781118172902 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781118172902
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118172902
  • ASIN: 1118172906
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review




From the Author: 5 Tips for Shooting Concerts

Alan Hess, Author
1. Learn how to shoot in manual mode.
The constant changing lights at a live concert can cause exposure problems that shooting in manual mode can help you overcome. When you use any of the modes other than manual to control the exposure settings on your camera, the cameras built in light meter has control over some of the settings. For example, when you shoot in aperture priority mode, you set the aperture, but the camera reads the light in the scene and sets the shutter speed. When you use shutter speed priority, you set the shutter speed, but the camera reads the light in the scene and sets the aperture. If the light in the background gets brighter all of a sudden then the camera will pick a faster shutter speed or a smaller aperture and can cause the main part of the image to be underexposed. To really get consistent great concert shots, you need to be able to adjust the shutter speed and aperture yourself using the manual mode of the camera.

2. Use the right metering mode.
In the previous tip, I suggest that you use the manual mode to take the photos which ignores the metering mode but even though the camera doesn't use the information, it is very useful to get the correct settings to start with. The best metering mode for most concert photographs is the spot metering mode. The spot metering mode ignores most of the scene in front of the camera and instead only uses a very small area usually centered around the focus point. By just reading the light in this small section and not the whole scene means that the moving lights in the background or the lack of light in the background is ignored.

3. Focus carefully.
When shooting in low light as is the norm when shooting concerts, you usually have to use the widest aperture available on the lens. This wide aperture means a shallow depth of field and in the cases when you use a prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 a very shallow depth of field. This means that you have to be very careful what the focus point of the image is. Make sure that you pick the correct spot for the focus point.

4. Timing is everything.
With all photography, you need to make sure that you are capturing the subject at the best possible moment. When it comes to concert photography this usually means that you have to wait until the musician is not hidden behind the microphone or turned away from you. Watch for the interactions between the performer and the audience for those moments that make the show special and do your research. If the performer is known for a special look or action, make sure you capture that.

5. Shoot in bursts.
With the ability of today's digital cameras to shoot in continuous mode and the large capacity memory cards being relatively inexpensive there is no reason not to shoot in bursts. That is to take 3,4 or even 5 shots in quick succession instead of just one. This allows you to capture the moment with more certainty and even if the lights are changing you can still get the shot.



Sample Photos from the Author (Click on images to enlarge)

Black and White Photo of Billy Gibbons
The smile is what makes this photo of Billy Gibbons so great. It captures the real fun that he was having on stage that night and combined with him looking right at the camera makes it one of my favorites. This was taken in a bar with pretty low lighting with a very red color cast so I converted the image to black and white in post production using Adobe Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Copyright Alan Hess
Dave Navarro on Guitar
When photographing guitar players, I always try to get the whole guitar into the frame. In this case I had to lean back and very carefully compose the shot as not to cut the guitar neck or Dave's shoulder on the other side. Be aware of all the action going on in the frame and make sure the elements that you want to show are in focus. The vocalist is behind Dave and you can see him in the background but since there is a very shallow depth of field he is pleasantly out of focus.

Copyright Alan Hess
Billy Morrison on Guitar
Many times it is easier to get access to shot concerts in bars or smaller venues. This photo of Billy Morrison was taken when his band Camp Freddy played a series of shows at the Roxy in Los Angeles in late 2011. There was no photo pit so I had to show up early and wait for the show to start. Now while that may not sound very glamorous, the small venue allowed me to capture intimate shots like this one.

Copyright Alan Hess



From the Back Cover

Sound advice for concert photographers

Restricted access, dynamic stage lights, crowded pits, and unpredictable performers are the tough stuff of concert photography. Add in the pressure of knowing there are no second chances to get a missed shot, and you've got a full-blown shooting challenge.

Veteran concert photographer Alan Hess helps you overcome these challenges and capture the energy of a live show. From credentials and gear to camera settings and venue-specific tips, this book covers everything you need to know to capture shots that rock. This manual for concert photography is laced with advice from photographers, band publicists, and musicians. Find out why this is the best job around.

If you've wondered . . .

  • How to get the right credentials to photograph a concert

  • What are the do's and don'ts of interacting with venue staff and other photographers at a show

  • How to deal with colorful stage lights in performance shots

  • What's the best gear for concert photography

  • How to get the coveted backstage shots of a band

  • What it takes to capture concert images that stand apart

. . . find the answers here!

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The book is well written, an easy read and extremely informative.
Scott D
Alan also tells his story of how he got started with photography and photographing concerts.
ƒůŽźŸ ωŬ≥ζŷ ♥☮♭♩♪♫♬♮☯☺♡✈
Do I recommend this book even if you've been doing concert photography for awhile?
Michelle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾѾѾ Highly recommended with warm fuzzies!

More than two years ago, I read Alan Hess' excellent book on exposure, Exposure Digital Field Guide, which thoroughly covers the topic of exposure under a variety of shooting situations. In that book, Alan has eight chapters that discuss the eight common scenes that you may encounter to get properly exposed photographs: event photography, portraits, landscape and nature, night and low-light, sports and action, wedding photography, wildlife and animal, and ending with "creative exposure" where you are purposely overexposing or underexposing to create a mood or effect. Since Alan is a professional photographer who specializes in concert and live-event photography, having done it since the late 1980s, it is only fitting that his latest photography book is entirely devoted to the logistics and techniques of photographing concerts.

Even though this book discusses all of the various aspects of concert photography, most of the information presented here could be applied to various other event photography such as performing arts, weddings, sports and action photography, and indoor/low-light photography. Since there are only a few books that are entirely devoted to concert photography, this book fills a unique and important niche. But if you remove the drums, keyboards, and guitars from the stage, you can really also apply this book's information to the photographing of any kind of indoor/low-light or performing arts scene where both the ever-changing stage lighting and moving performers can be a challenge to photograph (e.g. theater, live shows, plays, dance performances).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MyMik on April 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a grab you by the hands and walk you through the goods the does and the don't of concert photography. It's packed with so much information that you might want to read it twice.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on February 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
What if you were a beginning concert photographer who wanted some information on getting started? Previously you had to rely on blog posts, asking people over social media (which only started lately) or other photographers, randomly figuring it out yourself, or if you had the chance and the money, attending the Concert Precon at Photoshop World.

That's all changed with the release of Alan's new book.

When I say this book covers everything, it really covers everything. It starts off with how you get credentials for any type of show. Who you need to ask, what your chances are of getting them, if you're just starting out what you should do. Then it gets into the rules of the pit, the gear you should have, and basic exposure information. Still not enough? How about information on getting shots of each instrument or band member, the basics of shooting at different types of venues (starting from the small local bar, and going all the way up to the 20,000 and greater person venue), festivals, the different types of bands you'll encounter, and what to do if you happen to be able to get backstage.

And if your brain isn't going to explode at that point, there's an entire section on post-processing the images you got.

Besides all the fantastic information, Alan has a great and easy to read writing style. The first part of the book is like the opening band. You don't necessarily want to see it since you've come for the headliner, but once you do, you're pleasantly surprised by how good it is, and it gets you excited for the rest of the concert. The photos included in the book all have a purpose besides "hey look at me, I'm a cool concert photo," and you want to keep turning pages to see what's going to happen next.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am nothing more than a hobbyist when it comes to photography, but I've been lucky enough to attend multiple concert venues which allowed DSLR cameras on site. All Access gives a very interesting peek into the world of concert photographers, not only focusing on composition and shot technique, but also the actual footwork involved in getting a press pass and media photos.

The technical side of the book which explains things like getting the most out of concert lighting and shot composition alone is worth a read for any budding photographer. The inside look into the world of professional concert photography was just an additional bonus. I'd recommend this book for a read even if you're just a normal concert-goer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mike w. on September 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
Mr.Hess,, Just wanted to write you a brief email and thank you so much for all the help and information in your book. I bought your book All Access: Your Backstage pass to Concert Photography,,, and have not been able to put it down yet... I had my first major concert shoot this pass weekend and i must say it went off with a hitch,,, images came out great, and the promoter has asked me to shoot many more of his shows..

Just wanted to share that with you,, Im a huge fan and follower of your work, and will continue to be a student of our craft thru you...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Liz on August 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who loves music and photography I have always dreamed of becoming a "concert photographer" but wasn't really sure how to get started. This book was able to answer a lot of questions for me. I love the way Alan explains things and shares his personal experiences with the reader. The "Pro Tip" sections are great and gave me even more insight to what goes on in the business.
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More About the Author

Alan Hess is a San Diego-based commercial photographer specializing in concert and live-event photography. He has photographed hundreds of concerts three songs at a time. From small club shows to big arenas, Alan enjoys the fast pace of shooting on the fly, the rush of the house lights going down, and the drive to capture the "show" in the images of first three songs. 



The wide variety of bands that Alan has shot include: Billy Idol, Black Eyed Peas, Bob Weir and RatDog, Bruce Hornsby, Bullet for my Valentine, Citizen Cope, The Dead, Death Cab for Cutie, Derek Trucks Band, The Grateful Dead, Jackie Greene, John Legend, Marilyn Manson, Mickey Hart Band, Robin Williams, Slayer, The Smashing Pumpkins, Steel Pulse, Widespread Panic, and Willie Nelson.

Alan's work has been published online and in print in the following outlets:Soundspike.com Associatedcontent.com, Bruuce.com, Dead.net, Glidemagazine.com, Jambands.com, Jambase.com, MarkKaran.com, Poughkeepsie Journal, Mill Valley Herald, Otherones.net, Pauserecord.com, Philzone.com, Photoshop User, Ranch & Coast Magazine, Rat-dog.com, Ratdog.org, Relix Magazine and Vintage Guitar Magazine. His images have been used for various CDs and other promotional work.

Alan is currently the house photographer for a large concert venue in Southern California and when he isn't out shooting concerts, he is writing photography books.

He is the author of the best selling "Exposure Digital Field Guide" and "Composition Digital Field Guide", and has written two books on Sony DSLRs the "Sony Alpha A700 Digital Field Guide," and the "Sony Alpha A200 Digital Field Guide." Alan is also the Author of the iPad Fully Loaded series and theNight an dLow Light Photography Photo Workshop all for Wiley Publishing. Alan has contributed to Photoshop User magazine and is a key contributor to the Lexar.com website.

Alan a regular blog at www.alanhessphotography.com

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