Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wednesday - 8 Steps To Great Band Pictures At The Wedding Reception

Good Morning Everybody,

Road To Hartford I have to say, I love the New England area – the colors, the geography, and the people.

Yes, we had a good turnout last night and headed to the lounge for an adult beverage after the show. I had a long over due visit with my buddy Marty Seifer, who I have known for more than 20 years.  We first met when Marty took my class many, many years ago at the New England Institute of Photography.

Marty had a great way of selling his wedding mages to his client’s – I call it the Seifer method and have discussed it in all my week long Master Classes.  Seeing Marty was a reminder to cover his style and techniques in a future Business Day Thursday posts.

Art Rich, another good friend also came by to say, HI. Art runs three studios in the New England area.  It was good to catch up with both my buddies. Hey,that’s one reason LaDawn and I like to travel – lots of friends to catch up with as we travel the highways and by ways of America.

OK gang, time to get on with today’s post…

8 Steps To Great Band Pictures At The Wedding Reception

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been discussing how we can add a different flavor of wedding candids to our wedding coverages.  This new flavor of wedding candid involves not using any flash when shooting several of your wedding candids.

avh3904 This week I want to talk about the band shots.  Have you always wanted to be a rock concert photographer but have never been invited to shoot any rock concerts?  Well, a wedding can give you that opportunity to at least act like a rock concert photographer.

You know, I have always said that to give our clients complete coverage of the wedding, we need to show what they've spent their money on – and the band in one of those higher budget wedding plans.

auv3876 I’ll tell you, I love  jumping up  there on stage with the band members and trying to get  some great shots of them rockin’ and rollin’ with the crowd.  If you work it just right, you can really come away with some great images.

My tools of the trade for these kind of shots include a high ISO camera fitted with a wide angle lens.  Here a few good examples; Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm wide angle lens. Or, Canon 5D Mark II fitted with a Sigma 12-24mm lens. On my  next wedding, I can’t wait to give my new Canon 7D fitted with the 10-22mm a workout.

DAZNOTE: For the last few days I’ve been shooting with the Canon 7D as we work our way down the east coast with my Digital WakeUp Call tour.  I been test driving the camera at the higher ISO’s – like 3200 – and have been quite pleased with my results.  I’ll keep you posted after I have more definitive results.

Anyway, back to my rock concert wedding shoots. Here are my quick tips to get great shots of the band.

avq39191. Use a high ISO camera – I like AT LEAST 1600 ISO.  3200 ISO is better, and 6400 ISO is even better that that.  The Canon 5D Mark II make easy work of the high ISOs.

Throw in a little NIK Define 2.0 and you are good to go as the  noise disappears. The high ISO solves most of your “motion blur” issues. I’m shooting a lot of these images at 1/100 second and faster.

aur38692. Set your camera’s white balance to 2800K.  That preserves the flavor of the lighting on the band.

3. Use a wide angle lens.  The ones I stated above would be my first choices.

4.  I prefer wider apertures, but even if my lens is a f4 or f5.6 lens, the high ISO camera still allows me capture some great shots.

5. Shoot from low camera angles.  This really accentuates the rockin’ on performance of a great wedding band.

avb38856. Go in for some close ups – on the singer(s) and the musicians.  I especially love doing this on the horn players. 

7.  Be sure to get close ups of all the band members and more close ups of their fingers on instruments.

8. Be sure to get a shot from the back of the stage.  The shadows cast by the band’s light can make a great band shot.  I most often like to do this from  over the drummer’s shoulder getting the symbols in the foreground of the image.

avn3915That’s about it. The series is always a lot of fun to shoot and you may even want to share a few images with the band.  Just be sure you get the byline for any published prints – web or otherwise.

The images become a nice set of scene setters for the bride and groom too rounding out their wedding coverage showing yet another part of the wedding reception festivities.

Hey gang, go for it.  It’s a blast!

Time for us to hit the road and head for New York City.  Tonight we are at the LaGuardia Marriott.  It’s a smaller group so chances of winning the door prizes goes up substantially.  That should make it a good time for all.  Hope to see you there, -David


  1. David -

    Thanks for the great advice. A question for you: would you/have you created "business cards" of the musicians, with your "David A Ziser Photography" imprinted on it?

    I heard you tell a crowd about the other ways you let other vendors use your work with your name tastefully included. I guess what I'm really asking is just how far you'll go with it?

  2. David - Can you comment on how the band and other "flavor of the event" pictures sell, either individually or in helping maximize wedding package sales? Thanks.

  3. Dave,
    Tuesday night was my first encounter with you and I found your presentation very informative and thoroughly enjoyable. I am just starting out in the wedding biz and can't wait to put some of your techniques to use.

    Please consider this my HAND TYPED thank you note. ;-)

    Best of luck to you and LaDawn,
    Tad Wheeler