Since the X100s became a part of my photographic arsenal, I have done many different kinds of shoots with it. From street and travel photography to portraits and landscapes, the X100s has been my main camera for fun and personal projects. It has even done a paid job or two. One of the many genres I’ve explored with the X100s is concert photography. As you may or may not know, I also play bass guitar for a couple of bands. Before, I often found myself wanting to photograph the other bands before or after our set. However, lugging around my DSLR kit and a bass guitar was too much trouble and I always ended up leaving the camera. That changed when I got the lightweight X100s. Now, I can enjoy playing bass and photography on the same night. I’ve also connected with some great bands through my photography, receiving great feedback on the images. Here are a few of the gigs I shot with the X100s in 2013:
African.American – Club Feedback, Changwon City
3D Trees – Docheon Theme Park, Tongyeong
Common People – Club Gogos 2, Hongdae, Seoul
Sinrim Audition – Wahyeon Beach Rock Festival, Geoje
House Band – Just Jazz Wine Bar, Geoje
By the way, I also shoot concerts with big cameras. 😀 If you need a photographer for your show, please feel free to contact me.
When shooting live shows with the Fuji X100s, whether in a well-lit outdoor venue or the dimmest of clubs, I keep the following points in mind:
1. Get close! With the fixed 35mm lens of the X100s, you need to get really close to the action. Most of the photos above were made between 2 to 6 feet of the subject. If you don’t have that kind of access, then a camera with a longer lens may be a better choice.
2. Let the camera think. 95% of the photos above were shot in Aperture Priority and Auto ISO mode. I set my metering mode to Average and the maximum ISO to 6400. I have grown to trust the X100s’ ability to meter the scene correctly and produce clean images up to ISO 6400. This way, I can focus on composition and capturing the moment. The camera needs a little help when there is a very strong backlight or fast strobe lights. When this happens, I compensate with the EV dial or switch to Manual mode.
3. Manual Focus mode for faster sequential shooting. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I keep my X100s on Manual AF all the time. In this mode, auto focus is activated by the rear AEL/AFL button. This way, you can lock focus once and shoot quickly to capture those decisive moments.
4. When you really need to shoot fast, shoot in JPEG. I rarely do this myself, but when the action gets intense sometimes you can’t help but take frame after frame. Shooting rapidly in RAW mode will quickly fill up the X100s’ buffer and slow down operation. Switching to JPEG mode will help in this situation.