First Person View of a Photographer Working in a Concert Photo Pit

Some things you should always bring to a concert pit: dancing shoes, ID, a good attitude. Other things, of course, you just shouldn’t: an $8,000 Nikon 200-400 f/4 VRII lens, for example. Jared Polin learns this the hard way, and doesn’t let himself off the hook for it, spending most of the following 18-minute-long first-person video beating himself up for bringing this behemoth super-zoom into the photo pit of a recent Arcade Fire show:

To Polin’s credit, much seems to have gone wrong with this gig. For starters, he believed he would be shooting from the soundboard, much farther from the actual band—and was thrown into the pit beside a dozen other photographers.

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His pit time was also cut down from three songs to two, and the uneven blue stage light made lighting wide-angle shots tricky, and kept him crossing his fingers for decent close-up exposures.

Polin’s advice for dealing with awkwardly dim blue lighting? Convert it to black-and-white. Blue light lends itself well to filling in the dark tones, and you can play around with evening out the exposure more easily in post-production:

arcade-fire-suburbs

On top of all that, for all Arcade Fire’s talent, they’ve never been known to tear the roof off a live show. Lead singer Win Butler is, shall we say, no Bruce Springsteen.

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Despite the problems (or even because of them), the video is a great inside look at what concert pit photography is really like. Polin shows what works, what doesn’t, and how to make the best of a raw deal.

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