The Studio in Widnes was the venue for Warren Millars sell out Fujiholics workshop ‘Shooting Live Gigs with Warren Millar’. The Studio, a superb Creative Community, live music venue where Warren is resident photographer, hosts a multitude of events throughout the year from wrestling to bazaars. Situated in the heart of the Widnes community it was the ideal venue for our delegates to try their hand at some live music photography. Warren had arranged for local band ‘Faster Than Bulls’ to perform a live set on stage with full lighting set up and sound desk operator.
Sarah Jones from Cambrian Photography provided a pop up shop displaying stock and samples of Fuji lenses and cameras for people to test out and try for the day. Fellow Fujiholic Rich Waine and I were also on hand to help out and offer advice and tips to the eager attendees who were itching to get into the pit and shoot!
The day began with the usual introductions and ‘get to know each other’ type session. His presentation was relaxed and informal but held the attention of all in the room who marvelled at his extensive portfolio of music images. Each image was accompanied by a discussion as to how they were captured and the difficulties presented when capturing such images. During the presentation questions were openly invited, as and when they sprang to mind, which gave way to some great discussion and exchange of ideas.
image credit: Jim Moody
The band rampaged through their set like the proverbial Bull in a China shop opening with one of their own numbers ‘Can You Hear Me’. The press accredited photographers for the day quickly assumed their various positions on and around the stage and began snapping away in true paparazzi frenzy. As a bystander, and regular music photographer, it was interesting to see the different styles and methods being adopted by the delegates. Whilst the photographers continued to shoot so the band played on flawlessly hammering their way through a mix of cover songs and their own material. The bands performance was, I imagine, just the same as if they were playing to a sold out crowd and this added to the feel of shooting in an actual concert. Half way through the set and the Bulls rendition of Blur’s Song 2 blasts out and by now the photographers were well into the swing of getting their shots, each finding their own feet and looking more at ease with what they were doing. The lighting technician did a brilliant job illuminating the stage enough to make it challenging yet give the photographers sufficient opportunity to test out what they had learned earlier in the day. After a quick slurp of water Chris the lead singer and bass guitarist announces, sadly, that the next song was their last number and promptly erupts into ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ for some high octane Ramones energy to round the set off.
image credit: Jim Moody
Back in the classroom for the after show debrief and a chance for some discussion about the days shooting. Each photographer expressed how much they enjoyed the experience and how much they learned from the day. The questions and answers section was a brilliant opportunity to swiftly bring them back down to reality and the realisation of how difficult a job in the press pit can be. We discussed the problems of working under pressure as a commissioned photographer who had to shoot to a specific shot list for publication in just the first 3 songs. The difficulties of working in a busy and sometimes confined area along side maybe a dozen or more photographers all vying for the one money shot. We talked about the etiquette of working in the pit at a concert or festival as well as the need to research the artists or bands you were shooting in order to anticipate your position in the pit to maximise your chance of getting the shots. I think it is fair to say that all the photographers who took part thoroughly enjoyed the day and were surprised at just what is involved with live gig photography. All in all it was a superb day and the workshop was well presented and delivered by Warren. Well done buddy!
Not content on delivering a brilliant workshop full of enthusiasm, knowledge, experience and a bit of banter, Warren even insisted on doing the washing up too! What a guy 😉
Some feedback from the attendees:
“I used settings I’d never considered before – a great help. Thank you so much!”
“I would certainly recommend this workshop to any others in the future”
“Good day all round. Plenty of sound advice and practical help”
“Enjoyed every minute. Intuitive and inspirational.”
“I enjoyed whole day, very informative and helpful enjoyed the band”
“Was nervous before attending as wasn’t sure I would be able to do it, but Warren and the team were really helpful. I really enjoyed the day. Can’t wait to get my images on the computer”
“Highly recommended. Lots of good advice. Great band.”
Warren will be running another gig photography workshop Feb 2017