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Pat Metheny close-up

Concert, Stage, and Low-Light Photography

A Tutorial by Steve Mirarchi

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Part I: Introduction. Getting credentials, ethical considerations, who buys this kind of photography, why we'll never make a living at it, the stress of six ISO 1600 rolls in ten minutes with no flash.

Part II: Equipment and Basics. Beginner's gear, what you don't need, exposing for stage lights, shutter speeds, aperture settings, how to put it all together.

Part III: Film. Which films do what, negs versus chromes, push processing.

Appendix I: Flash. Creative shots when you're allowed to use flash.

Further Reading. Jon Sievert's Concert Photography is a superbly organized, exhaustively detailed, and wonderfully accessible book that any aspiring entertainment photographer should read and that even veterans will find helpful. Including over 100 superb photographs from Sievert's extensive archives, the book provides lessons, tips, and examples in both written and visual forms. The sheer enormity of Sievert's place in the industry bowls you over as you turn page after page of the appendices, which list thousands of contact names, numbers, magazines, and trade publications. If you foresee music photography as continual in your future efforts, this should be one of the first books you buy.

About the author of this tutorial: Steve Mirarchi is a commercial photographer who specializes in portraiture and the music industry. His images regularly appear in magazines like People, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, Playboy, and numerous others. His work is syndicated by Retna, the preeminent entertainment photo agency in the world. When not photographing clients in his studio or fulfilling his duties as Photographer-At-Large for the Boston Phoenix, he is either teaching at Brandeis University or writing yet another draft of his Ph.D. dissertation.

Special thanks: Philip Greenspun, who financed the scanning of many of the images contained herein.
Ed Hamrick and his excellent program Vuescan, which allowed the scanning of many other images contained herein.
Don Baccus, Bob Atkins, Sean Yamamoto, Glen E. Johnson, Thom Hogan, Darron Spohn, Dan Brown, Mark Windom, Steve Bingham, Mark Ciccarello, Scott Eaton, and Bobby Downes for their extensive comments and suggestions.
God, for everything.


Above: Pat Metheny, as featured on the cover of the 1998 Ibanez guitar catalog.
All Text and Images Copyright 1996-2000 Steve Mirarchi. All rights reserved.

Steve Mirarchi


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