Photograph Music with A Monopod

Monopods are awesome. It’s 1/3 of a tripod but 10x as useful. They are versatile, light and compact. Simply put- They are awesome and I always travel with one. To me they are worlds away from a tripod- similar but incredibly different tools. I never travel with a tripod. It’s heavy, bulky, and not nearly as useful in my line of work. Sure if you are a landscape photographer this would probably not apply to you. But music photography is a beast of its own.

Like always I can only share with the information I know. So it’ll be all concert related. However if you have valuable information on how you use monopods in your photography career, please share!

My most favorite but also the most errrr… dangerous. Photographing above my head with a trigger. It has taken me awhile to figure out. But this is the result.

Photographing a drummer with a monopod and a remote trigger

Photographing a drummer with a monopod and a remote trigger

When I first started I used a light stand, then a boom arm, then for awhile I used a whole C stand with a boom arm set up. It was heavy, metal, and probably not the safest thing. My camera went up like 14 feet in the air it was so funny. Anyway… monopod works best. I don’t really need to go 14 feet in the air very often, so that was just a bit of overkill.

photographing a concert with a C stand

This is really old

 

I used it for mostly crowd shots from the audience back then.

Photographing a mosh pit wit a monopod

Photographing a mosh pit with a monopod

It takes a little bit of practice to get this right. You can’t afford to drop your camera because its we’ll. expensive and your camera. You also don’t want to injure your boss or client in the process, this would be counter productive. So figure out a secure setup, figure out a trigger system (some cameras have them built in) and you are good to go. I use Pocket Wizards for triggers.

Photo by Andy Laing

Photo by Andy Laing

Photo by Shane Haley Solomon

Photo by Shane Haley Solomon

The most common use for a monopod is to support a heavy telephoto lens – and it is one of the best uses. It’s really easy to break down, and relocate yourself should you spot a better vantage point. Great for me as I have to move quite frequently at concerts. For almost every job I set up at front of house way out in the middle of the crowd right in front of stage. The place where I shoot these kinds of images from.

Photographing a band from front of house

Photographing a band from front of house

I like to set up my monopod and put the bottom of it on the front part of my foot, this way I can bounce the camera up and down a few inches at a time with my foot. It’s great for when you are zooming in as you can’t really adjust height that quick manually. It is kind of pointless if you are shooting wide as moving an inch or two is negligible unless you are shooting with a telephoto.

Lift your monopod with your foot trick

Lift your monopod with your foot trick

If the lens is heavy and you aren’t able to put your camera on the ground – another option is to fully collapse it and push it against you belt on your waist. As weird as it looks… something like this.

It hurts, better if you have a belt on

I did this for a full concert back in December. It works very well, people will look at you funny, but if you are like me – people look at me funny anyway so nothing new.

I walk home late from concerts alone sometimes, or to my car – or even just around festivals with incredibly drunk excited people in big groups- and the monopod has always been a self-defense kind of tool. Just holding a stick with a metal end is effective enough. I haven’t ever actually had to use it but I can’t see why it wouldn’t be effective. What a concept to even have to think about…. Let’s leave this dark place.

A for effort… probably not even

The worst part about having gear on you is where the heck do I put this thing while shooting? I think I have found a good solution for the monopod. I attach it to my backpack, or to my waist with Spider Monkey Clips and zip ties.

Spider Monkey clips with monopod

Spider Monkey clips with monopod

Spider Monkey clips with monopod attached to a Think Tank Turnstyle

It doesn't even get in the way while I shoot

It doesn’t even get in the way while I shoot

My monopod attached to a Think Tank Shapshifter bag

My monopod attached to a Think Tank Shapeshifter bag

This is my monopod not getting in the way while I shoot

This is my monopod not getting in the way while I shoot, again

If you have to fly with your monopod and only have carry on – make sure you break it down as much as possible and maybe don’t purchase the kind with a metal spike in the bottom…. You want it to as far away from a weapon as possible.

Thats all I got. I hope you can tell I absolutely love monopods. Oh, the monopod I use. I use a 3 Legged Thing BOB Evo 2 5 Section Carbon Fiber Travel Monopod. It’s chill, I’ve had it for a long while and its very light. That’s all I need. Chill, durable and light.

Hope this all helps you!
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POSTED BY Adam Elmakias

Adam Elmakias is a music photographer based out of San Diego, California. He spends most of his time doing stuff with cameras. Adam wrote this himself, not someone else. I am Adam.

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  • Great article! Thanks!

  • Bạc S925 Trang Sức

    So good. Too much useful and necessary information for photographers

    Love from: Trang Suc Bac

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