I would like to thank all the folks who read my guest blog over at Photoshop Insider and left those wonderful comments. I thought I would address some of the question over here.
The three song limit is real. There are times when the limit could be as little as 30 seconds, and others where the three song limit can stretch in to 20 minutes or more. The real lesson here is to be ready to shoot right away and not to think, “Oh, I’ll get that shot later.” There is a good chance that later will never happen.
Image stabilization or vibration reduction, in the lens (Nikon or Canon) or in the body (Sony) isn’t going to help much. It is better to just get good fast glass.
There are photographers who take great concert photos using a flash. Rear curtain sync and slower shutter speeds can create some great images, but every bigger show I have ever shot has not allowed a flash, and friends who are musicians hate having the flash go off in their faces.
The complete gallery of the Billy idol show is at: www.shotlivephoto.com/houseofbilly
As a special bonus, here is a gallery from the party thrown by Billy Idol and graphic artist Shepard Fairey thrown on the night off during the Los Angles concert run in September 2008. The gallery is here: http://www.alanhessphotography.com/idolparty/
Dealing with a really “HOT” light on a performer can be a problem. If possible I will try to change the angle or just adjust the exposure until I have the look I want. I remember shooting a Bruce Hornsby show where the single spotlight on Bruce was so bright that to get the proper exposure on his face meant that the rest of the stage was felt in complete darkness. They are some of the worst Bruce Hornsby band photos I have taken, but there were some great shots of Bruce.
The video capability is going to change concert photography. The first time a high resolution clip of a complete song from a show ends up on the internet, it will start having publicists and concert venue people just disallowing all cameras becasue they won’t know which ones shoot video and which ones don’t. I am trying to get one of the publicists I work with to comment on this on the record, so watch out for that.