Photographing performing drummers

MazdaRex

Active member
I'll be doing some photography of a Boston cover band this Friday night, and I'd love some input from the performers here.

Drummers are typically difficult to photograph, especially in small venues. The drummer has cymbals, stands, mikes, and guitarists in front of him/her, plus the stages are usually pretty cramped, with limited access behind, and it's dark in back.

I do have some experience, and some work I'm reasonably proud of: https://www.shinymachines.com/p234616552

What I'd like to know from performers here is: What photos do you want to see of yourselves?
How can I make you look as great as possible?
What views and angles do you think would be great but aren't commonly photographed?

Conversely, what do you NOT want?
What would be bad to do since it would interfere with your performance?

Thanks! I want to make everyone look great, but drummers most of all.
 

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beatdat

Senior Member
A shot where the sticks are “fanning” always looks cool.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
My goal this year is to go the GoPro route. Film the whole show & edit out what I don't want.
I can also capture stills & zoom in for any shots that look good.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Anything you'd want from the side or behind, possibly above?
Yep - if there's a balcony, that's usually a favorable angle (composition-wise) for the drums and the drummer. It's even better if the drummer smiles! 😮

_drum_2018_tour.jpg

It also depends on how many cymbals are in front of the drummer. In my case with that 16" crash right in front of me, there are few good shots to be had from straight-on. If that space is open though, a straight-on shot is most familiar in terms of what the audience sees. But it also depends what you want to capture: a shot from the audience perspective, or an angle that they don't normally see (which is subject to your access to the stage.)

_si.jpg
 

Supergrobi

Technical Supervisor
Some examples I like:

361658.jpg

08_Mike-Corrado-drummer-left-side-BW.jpg

Headline-photo-by-Ignacio-Cangelo.jpg

d3f2688784cfb25894f23a15e1f104ec.jpg

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Land+Divided+_+Neils+_+2+18+18_-53.jpg

01_Mike-Corrado-drummer-color.jpg


For me it's all about action, concentration, energy, motion and passion.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
For me it's all about action, concentration, energy, motion and passion.
For me, it’s all about the kit. And drum faces are a distraction. And if the stage lighting is nice, I dig how glitter kits look.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
So, let’s see…

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Excerpts from a book I worked on decades ago. All about percussion instruments. Which has always been my attraction to percussion/drum set. I never cared how the drummers looked or acted on stage, but the theater of the stage has always been lost on me so flamboyant playing and/or expressions don’t enhance my experience of the music.

This love of the instrument is what led me to make a series using my snare drums.

But on the technical side of photographing live drummer action on stage:
High ISO.
Fast shutter speed (1/500 or faster) to stop the motion.
Aperture depends on lens & affect desired.
Under quality stage lighting conditions (which is common if the act is professionally video recording the gig) there will always be a baseline/common exposure. The video camera operators rarely if ever change camera settings after getting their gear dialed in.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I dig the blue glitter. Is it a wrap or lacquer?
That's the Teal Sparkle wrap, which came and went about 5 years ago. :( It's very turquoise-y in person, not far from Blue Mist on the Standards.
 

MazdaRex

Active member
Okay, here are the results. The musical performance was great!
The photographic environment was brutal - very small and low stage, no space behind it, LED lights with every color but white and most of them dim, and heavy use of a fog machine every five minutes that just made the whole place look like a bad night in San Francisco. Oh, and the stage background was skulls. Brutal.

Edit: It seems I cannot attach photos? I have 20 posts - is there a limit or is it user error?
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
Okay, here are the results. The musical performance was great!
The photographic environment was brutal - very small and low stage, no space behind it, LED lights with every color but white and most of them dim, and heavy use of a fog machine every five minutes that just made the whole place look like a bad night in San Francisco. Oh, and the stage background was skulls. Brutal.

Edit: It seems I cannot attach photos? I have 20 posts - is there a limit or is it user error?
Try a few at a time.
 

MazdaRex

Active member
Thanks. I am using the icon for "Insert Image" and it loads and then says "Oops. We've encountered a problem."
Especially weird since I uploaded a photo to start this thread!
 
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Bozozoid

Well-known member
I hate photos where I look like a fish out of water gasping for air. If you'd ever get a good photo of me?..your worth your weight in gold...if there was EVER someone who wasn't photogenic it's me.
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
Thanks. I am using the icon for "Insert Image" and it loads and then says "Oops. We've encountered a problem."
Especially weird since I uploaded a photo to start this thread!
Oh yeah that’s annoying. Not really sure why that happens. Happens to me too with regular posts.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Edit: It seems I cannot attach photos? I have 20 posts - is there a limit or is it user error?
There’s probably a limit to the number of pics that can be uploaded/inserted into a single post.
 
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