Shooting Concerts at Purple Hatters Ball
Purple Hatters Ball, along with most other music festivals, provides a unique experience for anyone interested in photographing concerts. There are usually multiple stages with their own lighting setups.
This works out for me because I get bored shooting the same thing over and over again. It’s nice to break up the monotony with getting to go to a different stage and see what the lighting there has to offer. The lighting for the amphitheater stage at Suwannee Music Park, which you can see in the photo above, is more high-tech and gives the feeling of a large production stage show. Where as the lighting at the other stages is more low key.
Why shoot at a festival?
Music festivals also have a wide range of talent performing. If you’re looking to get some interesting shots, rather than the usual front-of-the-stage shots, check the line-up as soon as it comes out and start contacting the bands. Introduce yourself and let them know you’re interested in photographing them. Keep in mind that many other people may also be doing this, so don’t let the rejection get you down. Be polite, thank them for their time, and move on. A little kindness can go a long way. When you do find a band that is interested, meet with them to discuss what they are hoping to get out of it and express what kind of photos you want to take. They may let you get on stage to get some amazing photos that nobody else in the park is going to get.
My friends at Lucky Costello let me do just that!
This photo of Adam is one of my favorite shots of the band and I’ve been shooting them for years. Not only does it focus on the drummer, which I’ve been trying to figure out how to do for a while, but it also gives an interesting perspective to the show since I used a fisheye (don’t tell my fiancee, she’s very anti-fisheye :p ) lens, which allows the viewer to see the entire stage and part of the crowd.
Have Fun With It!
Get creative with your camera settings and backgrounds. When shooting during the day, you can’t really rely on the stage lights to add interest to the photo. This year’s Hatters Ball had one of the smaller stages, the Jacksonville Stage, set up as an open-air stage in front of the lake. I liked the natural background and colors, but didn’t want the beauty of the background to distract from the concert. I set the camera to aperture priority and put the aperture to f4.
This blurred out the background just enough to add some cool colors and shapes, but doesn’t detract from the band performing on stage.
Between the fun-loving atmosphere, the plethora of talent, and amazing amount of opportunities for photographing bands, I can’t wait for the next festival!
As always, the rest of the photos from this event can be seen at my site, John Shippee Photography.