Photo by Kris Askey
Artist: Nathan Sykes
Event: Free Radio Live 2015
Venue: Genting Arena, Birmingham
Getting this shot was a little bit out of the ordinary compared to the usual way I shoot live music. On this occasion, I was fortunate to have side of stage access as well as the photo pit at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. The journey to the side of the stage involved scaling a large ramp and shifting through quite a small gap in between flight cases and the back curtain. After taking a few photos of Nathan from the right side of the stage, I made my way backstage only to notice the curtain had a slight gap at the bottom and a few of the flight cases had been moved. There was now more room to manouever so I just decided to grab a few frames. It turned out this wasn’t a shot I could just grab on the fly, so as every photographer knows, if you’re going to get the shot you want then you’ve got to do it right. So I lay down fully on my front and peeked under the curtain and took a handful of frames. It all seemed to come together when Nathan played his latest single ‘Over & Over Again’ as it positioned him in the centre of the stage with just a piano. The crowd began to raise their phones creating a see of lights which looked fantastic, due to my very low angle though, there was a lot of negative black space in the shot (which is sometimes a good thing) and I couldn’t get the angle I needed to fill the frame. This was until the smoke appeared on stage and it started throwing down confetti/snow, giving me an almost perfect opportunity to grab a few frames as all of the elements seemed to come together. I have been shooting for 5 years now and I still have a lot to learn, but If this shot has taught me anything it is that if you really want the shot, then you’ve got to be willing to work for it. In terms of post-processing I only ever use Adobe Lightroom and this shot required very little editing after converting to black and white. (Also, spot the bonus cup of tea slightly hidden by the smoke on the stage floor, I only noticed it a bit later on. Love that.)
To get this shot I used a Nikon D3s paired with a Tamron 24-70mm and the settings for the shot were: 1/250 sec / 24mm / f4.0 / ISO1600. The D3s has amazing ISO capabilities, which allow me to shoot at faster shutter speeds & apertures at gigs whilst guaranteeing comparatively low noise in the shots.
I am quite active with my photo work, whether it’s shooting portraits, live music or street photography. If you’re interested, you can find my work here: