Author: Loe Beerens
Publisher: Rocky Nook
Review by Conrad J. Obregon
I generally object when a photographers portfolio is presented as an instructional manual. But when the pictures are as good as those in Three Songs, No Flash!:Your Ultimate Guide to Concert Photography and Ive never seen the instructional material presented along with the portfolio before, I have to rethink my mindset.
Even though there seems to be a large population of people interested in making concert photos, as far as I can tell this is the only recent book on this subject. It contains page after page of great pictures of concert photographs of pop, rock, jazz and hip-hop artists (and maybe other genres that I just don’t know, being an old fogey). The title comes from the directions given to photographers allowed to enter the photo pit at one of these concerts. Beerens eschews any instructions on the fundamentals of photography. Instead he tells the reader what probably is the most important thing: how to get a place in the front stage photographers area. Guess what? Its a hard position to get. If you are lucky enough to get into the coveted area, the author tells you how to act so that you don’t get thrown out and so that you might have a chance of getting in on another occasion.
Beerens then goes on to tell you what and how to shoot, first by genre and then by instrument. He finally reviews a few other venues, like recording studios and TV studios, and even a few other types of performances like ballet and fashion shows. Although I have limited experience of this type of photography, the authors instructions make sense and are supported by the images he presents. It may be that experienced concert photographers will learn nothing new, but aspirants should find something useful.
Even though Im not a fan of most of the musicians pictured, or perhaps because I was so unfamiliar with this world, I found the pictures exciting to view. I also was inspired to think that it was time for me to make arrangements with that jazz singer who counts me as her elderly groupie, to get out the camera and try something new. Armed with what I learned from this book, I might even do a credible job.