Gemma Wood Via Email

I've had limited success shooting bands on stage with my Canon 450D, and I wonder what I'm doing wrong. What settings would you recommend? Do you have any advice?

□ Matt replies: Shooting bands can be a tricky affair, particularly with lights constantly changing. For this reason the most important advice would be to shoot Raw, so that any corrections may be applied later, with regards to colour casts and exposure. Try to familiarise yourself with the lighting (maybe speak to whoever is in charge) so that you know exactly how it is likely to change. If you do end up with any shots that might suffer because of colour issues, remember that there's a chance they may work better in black & white, which you can always apply later.

Although I have had good results using partial metering, I tend to stick to an evaluative pattern most of the time as I find it easier to work with when there is movement and constant changes in exposure, quickly applying compensation where I can see it being necessary. Be wary about using automated settings

(such as ISO) as the camera may select what's right for a particular focal length without taking subject movement into consideration. A way round this is to bump your ISO high enough to give you sharp, focused images; you can always remove noise later but blurry movement is nigh-on impossible to rectify. Finally, if you can use a long zoom lens, you'll be more likely to end up with a more interesting mix of both group shots and individual faces and close-up details.

characteristics of particular films, which may bring you closer to what you're used to. The most recent DSLR to feature these was the 55 Pro, which, although not the newest of DSLRs, does bring with it the advantage of being compatible with any F-mount lenses you've been using on your F2.

Should you decide on a different camera, you may benefit from a software package that aims to emulate popular film emulsions. Two such packages are Alien Skin's Exposure 2 and DxO's Filmpack v2. Both feature many film stocks, from Kodachrome and colour negative films to black and white emulsions such as Kodak's Tri-X and even Polaroid. We've reviewed both, but we particularly like DxO's Filmpack software which gained a WDC Gold Award. Failing that, you can use a program such as Photoshop to make slight adjustments, like adding grain to an image, saturating and desaturating colours, and experimenting with Curves and Levels to adjust contrast and tonality. This is admittedly a longer way round the issue, but it gives you individual control over a range of parameters.

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