If you are going to be a rock photographer, get used to working in atrocious lighting conditions.
Yet the very difficulties caused by dark places and changing coloured strobes bring their own fantastic opportunities. I love ‘em. Don’t be afraid of bright colour and moving lights, embrace them. You can hide behind the lights, believe me. Alternatively, you can allow the performers to eclipse the light – and get the halo effect in the hair, like this shot of Joanne Shaw Taylor, a stunning and brilliant British blues guitarist at Byron Bay Bluesfest in 2012.
If the lights are low and stagnant, this is a real bummer, especially so if you have been looking forward to getting some great shots, it’s the pits !
Reds are very challenging, so lights that are changing offer better opportunities in the paler blues if you can wait for the change. When you are stuck with red only, it’s a real problem.
In a few cases, the light is so bad, that the original image may be unusable. So, if the images have some merits, I sometimes adjust the white balance, temperature, tint, hue, exposure and saturation and make a few other modifications to take some colours out altogether to create an effect, that again depicts the subject by accentuating the drama of the moment or in some cases, show off their features.
Here are two examples … the first of Tex Perkins of The Cruel Sea, where I have saturated the green to add drama and changed luminance to get rid of the noise and plasticise the face …
… and the second of the stunning Taylor Dayne, who in her youth was all hair and kissers – who now looks just the same as she did at 25 but is twice that age – and still all lips and mane.. She was bathed in a blue light so instead of trying to change that, I exaggerated it so as to depict her remarkable features – some of which (so my daughter tells me) may have been reworked ..
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