It's been a little bit since I wrote something here, hopefully I can make this a more frequent thing and actually stay on top of it. It's difficult to want to sit down and write a blog when you're constantly shooting, editing and writing review after review after review, but maybe when things slow down I'll be able to put more time into this.
Anyway. I wanted to talk a little bit about shooting from the house - more specifically, shooting a seated concert where there is no photo pit and you are not allowed to be at the front of the stage as you normally would. This happened at the Steve Hackett show I shot a couple months back. It was a seated show, in a venue that is normally GA standing room only. Aside from it being very weird to see seats on the floor, we were allowed to shoot from anywhere in the house - side stage, floor, VIP. Anywhere, as long as we weren't blocking anyone's view - for the entire 2 1/2 hour show.
That's another thing that almost never happens in this business. Normally, photographers are restricted to the first 3 songs, or songs 2-4 depending on the band, and that's it. So for Hackett to allow the entire show was pretty cool, and it was a fun show on top of that. But, here's the tricky part: How do you move around the house when you're allowed to shoot from anywhere, but not allowed to obstruct anyone's view?
Ideally, you want to shoot from the aisles or side stage, so that you're not standing in front of anyone and can easily move around, right? Nope, the aisles here were a no-go because of the way the back rows were set up, so while we could shoot from "anywhere", anywhere actually meant anywhere that didn't interfere with paying fans. So no pit, no front-of-stage, the board's too far and the aisles are off limits. What does that leave?
Basically, side stage and behind the last row of seats on what is normally the GA-pit level - there are 3 levels at PlayStation Theater - GA floor, GA standing room on a platform, and elevated GA seats behind that - I chose to shoot most of the show from the elevated area at stage right to give myself a better angle, and from the VIP, while also shooting from behind the last row on the floor for a bit. I honestly think I enjoyed that more than shooting from the pit, because when you shoot from the pit your angles are limited and are pretty much the same for every show. Shooting from the house gives a different perspective and lets you get unique shots, and it beats the hell out of being stuck at the board without the ability to be mobile. But you also have to be respectful of the people who paid to be there, because while the photo pit is your space, the house is theirs and they don't want to watch the show through the back of your head.
So, if you ever have an opportunity to shoot a show from the house, do it. It'll change your perspective on concert photography and I honestly wish I could do it more often instead of being stuck in a small pit with 20 other 'togs and no room to move.
Here are a few photos from the house at the Steve Hackett show: