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Images captured at a concert do not always turn out perfect. There are always problems with sharpness, and colors. However, if you know how to edit concert photos, then you can always fix them afterward using a few tools and tricks.
- How to Edit Concert Photos
- How to Capture Better Pictures in a Concert
- Which Tools Can You Use for Editing Concert Photos
How to Edit Concert Photos
Concert photos can be edited using a mix of tools and software. One of the main things to concentrate on while editing concert pictures is their colors. The skin tone and the background colors need to be adjusted for the picture to look well.
The very first step before editing the pictures is photo culling or in simple words selecting the pictures to edit. Normally, professional photographers or all of us take hundreds of pictures together, especially during burst mode. Therefore, it is important to choose the right ones.
Photo culling might sound like a chore, but it is necessary. You can manually go through each picture and discard the ones you do not want. This would take a lot of time. Another choice you have is to use Photo culling software.
Photo culling software such as After Shoot and Photo Mechanic are powered by Artificial Intelligence and come with several features such as automatically discarding pictures with poor focus or other flaws. Moreover, they let you zoom in on pictures and make the whole process smoother.
Which Photos to Choose?
In the photo culling process, you must choose concert pictures that are more diverse in terms of angles, colors, and exposure. This would give you more range to work on. Also, make sure you discard the pictures which are over-exposed, have interferences from other people, and look bad.
Camera calibration refers to the color science of it all. Every picture has a mix of red, blue, and green. In a concert, these colors are especially highlighted due to the colored spotlights which focus on the musicians.
The camera calibration tool allows you to adjust the mix of red, blue, and green in an image. Each camera model has a specific blend of these colors, each aesthetic in their own way. This tool allows you to adjust these colors according to your preference.
Here, it is better to experiment. In Lightroom or Photoshop, you can move the color calibration slider until you get the right shade of these colors. Camera calibration should be your first step before moving on to the others.
Every lens has some sort of imperfection, and the lens correction tool is used to fix that. When going to a concert, you can carry only one lens most of the time, hence this tool can be used to overcome its weaknesses. Lightroom has a great Lens correction tool.
First, you need to adjust vignetting which appears as darkening at the edge of images. This is the first and the most obvious imperfection that you must fix especially in concert photos where it is already very dark.
You can adjust the amount slider (in Lightroom it is under lens correction) to brighten the edges. Another option is to use the midpoint slider, this is needed relatively less frequently. However, adjusting this too much might lead to an increase in noise in the image.
Some people also prefer darkening the edges. In a concert the stage is lit up, darkening the edges allows you to bring focus towards the performers.
Distortions make straight lines look bent inwards or outwards. While some photographers use this effect to their advantage, to others it ruins the look. Hence, adjust the distortion slider under the lens correction tool in Lightroom to bring alignment to your photo.
You might see some color fringes near contrasting edges. This might make some parts of the image slightly blurry and of poor quality. This needs to be adjusted too. Adjust each type of fringe to your preference until it removes the blur or imperfection.
If you are using Lightroom, just click remove chromatic aberrations and it will do so automatically.
Fixing The Exposure
Exposure simply refers to how light or dark an image is. This refers to the brightness, mid-tones, shadows, and highlights in an image. You have to fix the exposure because in a concert there are times when you are getting light from all directions.
There are editing tools such as Histogram which automatically adjust the exposure until the picture looks right to you. Some editing tools even have an overall exposure tool instead of individual components (like in Lightroom) which you can adjust.
However, you must make sure that you do not overkill it. Sometimes adjusting the exposure too many leads to an increase in noise and ruins the quality of the image. When there is too much exposure you have other options which are described ahead.
Crop Image Overlay
Make sure that your pictures are balanced vertically as well as horizontally. First, take care of the alignment while capturing the image. However, there are always mistakes that can be fixed through crop overlay.
You can choose the aspect ratio which includes 4 x 3, 8.5 x 11 and others in Lightroom and Photoshop. Choose the setting based on how you are going to use that image. However, the best option here is the golden ratio. You can use it to place the singer in the middle of the box.
In addition, if the lightings allow, you can use the golden spiral, placing the performer in the middle. It will make it look as if the lighting is leading up to the performer.
One way to adjust colors in an image is to use curve panel in Lightroom. The diagonal line of the curve represents the brightness of colors in your image. Also, the top right end adjusts the highlights while the bottom left part represents the darkness.
You can make an adjustment through this tool by adding an anchor point upward to brighten your image and pulling the points downwards to darken your image. This way you can adjust the lighting in your image swiftly and easily.
A lot of this process is trial and error. You need to keep adjusting the points to get the right amount of shadows, brightness, or darkness. Just go with what you feel is the best.
There might be some colors in your image that you do not like or some colors which have not been focused on enough. You can adjust this in color saturation which is the absence of white color in an image. In Photoshop this is under enhance > adjust color.
Switch over to the color saturation tab first (Photoshop has a great option). Here, you can select every color in an image and adjust it using a slider. You can brighten the colors that you want to show more of and vice versa.
Your picture might be overexposed or have too much noise. This could be before or after your started editing. To fix this you can simply use the Sharpening tool. Here, adjust the sharpness slider (in Lightroom and Photoshop) and the radius level until you are satisfied with the image.
While sharpening the image is a great idea, you can create a kind of a Bokeh effect while editing too. Here, you can choose to focus on the musician or artist while blurring out rest of the background.
At a concert, there are too many colors to shoot. You might have noticed the changing colors of the spotlight which focus on the performers. All that might look great but it makes it very hard to shoot one color and ruins skin tone. Hence, while editing you need to correct the colors.
The white balance dropper tool in Photoshop allows you to add a white color to places where it belongs such as teeth, eyes, clothing. The skin tone can be fixed here too. All of this can be used in an effort to bring the photo to its normal color tone.
Convert to Black and White
Sometimes the colors are so bright that the picture is beyond fixing for example a very bright blue color. Here, you can choose a simple solution: convert them to black and white. It helps tone down the colors. You can choose this filter in any editing software.
Black and white also give the image a great effect because the brightest colored areas turned black while the rest turn white. Moreover, it is a great way to tone down over-exposed images. Although that can be edited too it leads to too much noise, hence black and white is a better solution.
That is not all! to complement black and white images you can use selective color. Here, you add color to some parts of the image while keeping the rest black and white. However, you must remember that only a small part of the image (such as the musician) should be colored.
Lastly, you are the photographer and thus know what you were trying to capture. Hence, just play around with other editing tools such as contrast. to give your photo the best look.
How to Capture Better Pictures in a Concert
Before editing, you need to capture great images. In a concert, it is not just you. You are competing against hundreds of other photographers, lighting. Follow these tips to get the best pictures before learning how to edit concert photos.
Getting close to the stage can give you a lot of advantages. Firstly, you would not have to zoom in a lot so you will get a clearer and smoother picture overall. Also, during a concert, mostly the lights are closer to the stage while the rest of the concert is pitch dark.
Hence, you should get closer to get a better view of the performing artist. Moreover, getting closer might lead to the artists noticing you which makes for excellent candid and a better picture of the artist themselves, instead of a boring silhouette from afar.
If you have already been to a concert, then you must know that the concerts are faced paced. Thus, you need a camera with a high burst mode that can help you capture several consecutive images at once.
This not only increase the chances of getting a good photo but creates a good effect with several consecutive pictures too. All you have to do is hold down the shutter button.
Another solution might have been capturing pictures at higher shutter speeds but that might not be such a good idea in low light conditions such as concerts.
AE/ AF Lock
Auto exposure or Auto focus allow you to accurately capture what your eyes are looking at. That means, an autofocus feature will result in smoother images.
Also, the stage area which you are trying to capture is lightened pretty well. All that lighting decreases the quality of the images that you capture. Auto focus helps you capture a good picture even in that lighting, while through auto exposure, you can adjust the brightness and get a good image.
You might get a place which is too far from the stage area where the artist is performing. However, it is a bad idea to capture an image which is zoomed in so much that you just cannot recognize the artist. Hence, zoom to an extent that the quality of the image does not deteriorate.
Low Light Settings
Concerts are poorly lighted events. Besides the stage area, the whole concert is poorly lit and hence the rules for capturing images in low light apply here too.
Firstly, you need to adjust your shutter speed. Earlier, it was suggested that a fast shutter speed can allow you to capture the fast-moving artists, but it must be a balance to allow you to capture them in low light.
Also, you need to keep ISO levels high and capture with a wider aperture. You can also find an optimum balance between the three exposure settings and get the perfect picture.
Other Things to Consider
Other smaller things which you can keep in mind is to remember using wide lens. This would allow you to capture more of the concert and moments where the fans are having fun or just overall mood of the concert.
Moreover, avoid using flash. It would not only fail to capture a good photograph but would also distract the musicians from their performance. In addition, remember to shoot in RAW so you can make as many adjustments to them as possible after the shoot.
Lastly be prepared when you go. Get the right gear, take 2-3 batteries if you are taking a DSLR or carry a power bank if you plan to shoot with your phone. A small backpack would also help you carry all of these so remember to take that too.
Which Tools Can You Use for Editing Concert Photos
There are a lot of tools that you can use to edit photos. Some of these are mentioned below:
- When editing pictures photoshop is the first app that comes to mind. Photoshop has a myriad of options for all kinds of editing. However, one downside here is the fact that it is a bit difficult to use. Hence, if you are just starting out, you will have to learn to get the hang of it.
- The next in line is Lightroom. Lightroom has an easier interface than Photoshop, has almost the same editing tools and features. Along with all of that, it is the lower-priced option!
- Canva is another excellent option. It does not need to be downloaded, the basic version is free and has loads of options to edit your concert images.
It is next to impossible to capture good pictures in a concert because of poor lighting, exposure and much more. Hence you must know how to edit concert photos. This mainly involves adjusting color balances and focusing until the image looks perfect.