This post will be a departure from my regular posts, but will aim to further give you insight as to how I like to edit my photographs—this post in particular will deal with my concert photography.
This was an idea that spawned from my use of Periscope not too long ago. As a festival photographer, I have taken concert photos in the past, so one of my followers, Connor (@Mr_Kirkpatrick) was showing me his photographs that he had taken of Bruce Springsteen, and asked about what I would have done differently.
The original photo that was provided to me (resized in photoshop) is below. It’s a great photo that captures the atmosphere well, in addition to the expression of Springsteen himself. Oh, to be able to be so close to him!
It’s a great photo for sure, but Conner was interested in how to improve on it, so here are some things that I did to the photo.
- The original photo is on a little bit of an angle. Normally for concert photography, this wouldn’t be an issue as it brings more energy to the photo, but in this case, I prefer a more horizontally-aligned photo because of the composition, and the linear railings of the ceiling that are so visible in the backdrop. I rotated the photo so that it is straightened.
- I felt the hands and finger on the bottom of the photo is a little distracting as my eyes tend to focus on them when I first see the photo. I cropped the hands and finger, but that left me with a photo cropped right at Springsteen’s waist.
- I always make it a point to not crop people at their limbs as it makes for an abrupt feeling for the viewers. Nobody wants a feeling of decapitation or amputation in their photos!
- To get around this, I cropped slightly below his waist, and then had to clone in sections where the fingers were still visible.
- I also cropped it at this location for another reason, which I will explain further below.
- Springsteen’s left hand was already cropped at the wrist so there’s not a whole lot I could do with that. Ideally, I would have liked his whole hand in the photo, but since it wasn’t in the original photo, I decided to leave the hand as it is.
- A little more contrast would make for a more dynamic image, and will also bring out the fold creases of his t-shirt, and details in his facial expression. To achieve this, I used the Topaz Adjust plugin. This is one of my go-to plugins for some of my concert photography because it does such a great job at increasing micro-contrasts, or contrast at a finer level.
- I added a vignette to the image to further emphasize the subject of this photo; vignettes are great for guiding the eye to where you want them to be in your photo.
The final image with all of my edits, as described above, is shown below:
There is one more thing that I wish I could do something about, and that is that large spotlight on the bottom left of the photo. It’s a large white light that acts more as a distraction than it does give value to the photo. However, seeing as it’s placed where it is, there’s not a whole lot I could do with this.
Earlier in this blog post, I alluded to the fact that I cropped this photo below his waistline for another reason. That reason is so make this white spotlight less noticeable. If I cropped Springsteen at the waistline, not only might it make for an awkward feeling, but there is also less of the subject matter in the photo, thereby allowing other parts of the photo to be emphasized. With more of Springsteen shown in the photo above, that white spotlight—as bright as it may be—takes less of a precedence in the photo, allowing the viewers to focus that much more on Springsteen. It’s a small change, but one that I think makes a big difference.
Do you like the edits I did on this particular photo? Please let me know in the comments below if you would do something different, or if you have any ideas of your own. I’m always curious to see how others interpret images as well.