Sound Scene Express

Aspiring Concert Photographers Capture on Location

Highway 4
Club Cafe
December 19,2016

Photos and article by Whitney Lerch

Captured::Pittsburgh, founded by Pittsburgh local’s Jason Fait, Adam
Thomas Watt and Jason Kodat, is a non-profit organization devoted to
educating, supporting and promoting local creative talents. With a
focus on local photographers, videographers and graphic designers, the
organization is setting out to foster creativity through education and
mentorship, while simultaneously working with the community to
beautify the city. They have popped up open air art galleries, to add
vivid color and beauty to otherwise empty spaces.

On Monday, December 19th, Capture::Pittsburgh hosted their first
“Learn On Location” event for live music photography. With the help
of Club Cafe, who offered up their venue for the workshop and Opus One
Productions, who sponsored and secured Highway 4 for the event, many
live music photographers of all levels of experience were able to
gather, network, pick up tips from the live music photography mentors
and immediately practice what they learned as Highway 4 performed
three energy packed sets for the 3 groups of learners. With probably
30 or more attendees, the room was teeming with cameras. For a mere
$10 each (if you purchased tickets to attend in advance), guests
enjoyed some hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks and the
mentorship of Long Hong, Shaun Campbell and Captured::Pittsburgh’s own
Adam Thomas. The entire evening offered up a variety of opportunities
for the photographers to practice and seek out further instruction and
feedback. With as many photographers as they had, in a relatively
small listening room, you might be thinking there’s no way that you
could get to the “good spots” for shooting. Captured::Pittsburgh did
an incredible job anticipating this potential issue and were more than
prepared to ensure each guest had ample opportunity. They divided the
guests into 3 groups and Highway 4 played a separate set (probably
30-40 minutes each) for each group. When your group was up, they had
taped off an area on the floor to create a “photo pit” and only the
members of that group were permitted in the photo pit. All of the
guests were considerate of one another, working with each other and
trading places, to allow everyone a chance to shoot from all areas of
the pit. If your group wasn’t up for the pit, you were welcome to
shoot from any other vantage point in Club Cafe during that set. This
allowed for shooting from afar and also gave some of the more creative
folks a chance to find some more unique images, like the sound board
or even shots of the other photographers. The three mentors, Hong,
Campbell and Thomas, were actively engaged with the guests throughout
the sets, available for any one of us to ask questions or to provide
technical assistance.

Thomas, offered up his approach to any show, including how he assesses
the lighting, when he arrives, who you need to make nice with (though,
to be honest, just make nice with everyone, always) and even the
settings he uses as a starting point for any show. Now, I must admit,
the settings I typically shoot with when covering live music are quite
different that what he recommended. I thought to myself “this is
never going to work”, but I was there to learn tricks of the trade
from the experts, so I gave it a go. I’ve always thought I did
alright shooting live music, in low light, even prior to this
workshop. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that using Adam’s advice
that night resulted in some of the best raw images I’ve ever taken.
Even completely unedited, I was thrilled with the results. And the
amount of time I spent in post-processing was minuscule, compared to
my norm. The tips and tools that I learned at the event are
definitely going to impact my work in the future (you can see the
difference for yourselves, when I cover my next show for Sound Scene
Express!) and I’m certain will result in better images as well as
freeing up tons of time for myself, that I would typically be spending
behind the computer, editing, editing, editing. I can’t imagine a
better way that I could have spent ten bucks that night! I’ve included
some images straight from the camera, as well as some edited shots
from the evening (thanks to Adam’s tips, this is the first time I’ve
ever been willing to let unedited images out into the wild 🙂 )

This was the first of hopefully many different “Learn on Location”
photography workshops, offered by Captured::Pittsburgh and it was such
a great success. If you have any interest in photography, from novice
to expert, you’re going to want to stay up to date on their events in
the future. Give them a follow on Instagram: and Facebook: Even if you aren’t
interested in taking photographs, but appreciate photography as an
art, they are definitely worth a follow. And don’t forget to venture
through the Open Air Gallery in Shadyside, just off Walnut, to see the
beautiful featured photos! The gallery rotates on a monthly basis, to
keep the community engages and highlight a variety of photographers in
the Pittsburgh area.

For more info:

Edited Photos

Unedited Photos

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