AS I GREW UP, MUSIC BECAME MY FOCUS
I started as a musician. I studied drums and percussion at the local music conservatory, but I’ve always had a passion for image. I remember as a kid going to photo exhibitions with my mother, and trying to imagine why the photographer decided to make that image the way he did.
At that time, I wondered how photographers made something ordinary look extraordinary. I was fascinated by how they played with light and colors and composition to make the images. But as I grew up music became my focus, so I studied and became a musician. For many years, photography was just something I did from time to time. Nothing serious, just a way to record some important moments.
With time I became tired of music and needed to stop. I needed a change. That was when my interest in photography started growing again and one day, some friends from a local newspaper asked me to make some images from a concert for them. That was when it all started for me, and I never stopped since.
HOW THEY MOVE ON STAGE
When I shoot festivals, I have to shoot bands for the first time, so before the festival I always try to go online to find recent videos of the bands, just to get an idea of how they move on stage. I try to get to the stage as soon as possible to see where the lights are and where I can move to get some nice images.
To be able to make a good job I need to be comfortable, so I always use comfortable shoes and clothes (always black). The BlackRapid Double Breathe also helps me remain comfortable the entire concert. Before I got my BlackRapid Double Breathe, I would go to the Festivals or concerts with two cameras with their normal straps. I would spend most of the time with tension on my shoulders to prevent the cameras from slipping. For 3-day festivals, I was in pain from day one. My shoulders just couldn’t take it anymore.
As you can imagine, if I’m in pain I will not be able to do the best job I can. I won’t be able to relax and focus on the images, so I had to find a solution, and the solution was the BlackRapid straps. Now I work on 3-day festivals with no problem.
The best tip I can give for concert photography is to relax and make it as easy as possible for yourself, so you can concentrate only on the images you are making.
HOW I ALMOST RUINED A BAND STUDIO RECORDING
Yes… I almost ruined a band recording just because I wanted to do one image.
Some time ago one of the best musicians in Portugal calls me to make some images in his studio while they were recording the new album. I went there for a few days, and it all went fine. I was able to make the images without making noise and without disturbing their work, but on one of the days the band was all there and he asked me to make a “family” shot of the band and the producer in the recording room.
We all got to the room and they started getting in place while I started choosing the best place to frame the image. The best place I found had only one problem: one mic stand was in the way. So without thinking, I just removed the stand… Big mistake!
The stand had no mic in it, but the stand was there because they still needed to make some recordings with the same sound, and the placement of the mic needed to be exactly the same. The sound engineer almost had a stroke.
In the end, I was lucky and all went fine. They were able to place the mic in the same place, or almost, but the sound was the same.
And yes…I got the shot.
WHAT’S IN MY BAG
- BlackRapid Double Breathe
- Prograde Cards
- Prograde Card Reader
- Canon EOS 5DMkIV
- Canon EOS 5DMkII
- Canon EF 70-200f2.8 USM L II
- Canon EF 17-40f4 USM L
- Dell XPS15 Laptop
- WD External Hard Drive
- Canon Speedlite 580EXIIFlash ( for some backstage images
- PocketWizard PlusII
Rui Bandeira of Rui Bandeira Fotografia is a Concert Photographer based in Portugal.