5/27/2019 The Independent, San Francisco
I try to be truthful to the colors of the shows I shoot. It's always a hard proposition as camera records the colors differently than our eyes and our brains process the information very differently. Every photo that is taken is edited somehow, no matter how little the photographer does in post production, there is a ton of settings chosen in the camera that affect the outcome of the photos. I shoot my photos as RAW files and set exposure manually so that the camera does the least amount of "thinking" for me. I do use autofocus when I can and when shooting fast moving subjects in dark concert halls it's a lifesaver for me.
Sometimes (more often than I'd like) the band, the light designer or lighting guy at the venue makes it next to impossible to pull pleasing colors out of the photos. This usually happens in smaller venues with smaller bands. Some venues don't have a lot of lights to work with. Some bands have a very strong visual style they want to go for.
I understand that the shows are not for the photographers (shocking, I know) but is meant as a dialogue between the performer and the audience. My job is to record the show so that people who didn't get to go have a chance to experience some of the show and the people who did, can reminiscence on the evening through my work. Both of these require the photos to be somewhat accurate representation on what happened on stage and how it looked like. I don't want to do heavy handedly edited, strongly stylized photos of bands. So my solution is to turn the evenings where I can't be truthful to the band into a set of black and white photos.
This allows me to work with the contrast on the images, bringing up details from shots that are heavily saturated with one color and still keep the feeling of the photos. The outcome feels similar to what I shot when I did black and white photos on film. The top corner is the unedited, full frame photo where I started my editing from.