Not only does a step-stool mean you get cleaner shots, it means Chris Martin can spot you to give up a little love for the camera just that more easily.
July 24, 2009 – Led by the charismatic Chris Martin on their Viva la Vida World Tour, Coldplay rocked a jubilant crowd with fan favorites new and old at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
The shooting restrictions for this concert made Coldplay – and Chris Martin in particular – a very challenging gig. Photographers were positioned not right up to the stage-right ramp, as they were earlier in the tour, but half-way down the aisle on that side of the stage. The second to last shot in the above set best shows the vantage point from which I shot this concert.
As such, this is not what I'd call a terribly personal shoot, and I relied on the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 for all but a few wide shots with the 24-70mm f/2.8 and 14-24mm f/2.8. If you have the Nikon 200-400mm f/4 or similar, I think that would be a great option for this concert.
Press were allowed to shoot songs 2-4, and the fourth song is really the one that presents the best opportunity to photograph Chris Martin at a relatively close distance, when he and guitarist Jonny Buckland head out to the stage-right ramp to jam for about 30 seconds. This moment occurs about 2/3 into the song. It's worth noting that Chris Martin also came out on the ramp for a hot second earlier in the same song, so keep your eyes peeled.
The second and fourth songs are, overall, the best in terms of lighting. The third song sees the band bathed in red and yellow washes, so I used this song as an opportunity to shoot atmospheric shots, since this is also when the band pulls out the laser effects.
While the shooting restrictions were really less than ideal, I think the band put on a great show. I made it my charge to capture the energy of the band, regardless of the distance. The added challenge of having to create a dynamic set of images from such a limited vantage point can be a nice bit of motivation as well. Luckily, Chris Martin is a pretty wonderful showman and certainly works it for the fans and camera.
The one lifesaver of this concert? A folding step stool that I brought in anticipation from having to effectively shoot from the crowd. With fans on their feet and waving their hands around, having an extra edge in terms of elevation meant much cleaner shots and better opportunities. Highly recommended if you're shooting Coldplay on this concert with these restrictions.
When the other photographers in the pit where doing over-the-head hail marys, being a head over the crowd thanks to the step stool was a huge boon. Hands in the air were still a concern, of course.
As an added bonus, standing on a step stool makes it abundantly clear to Chris Martin where you are when you're pointing the business end of the 70-200mm f/2.8 at him, allowing him to quickly mug before moving on, as evidenced by the lead shot in this set.