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Super Secret Project Concert Photo Critique

Jared Polin December 17, 2010 20

In photography it is always a good excursive to let others critique your work. I know I have a tough time taking corrective criticism but when it comes from someone in the know it is much easier to accept. For this weeks Super Secret Project I go through photos from Mr Gizzy Style himself that he took at a recent SINAI show.

Keep in mind Gizzy is shooting with the Nikon D3000, Nikon 35 F/1.8 and Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 version II. Gizzy pretty much has reached the limitations of his starter camera and over the next few months we will start to explore options for him to progress in his 5 year plan.

In this critique you will see me go through what I think are solid killer shots that Gizzy captured to shots that were slightly off and how they could have been better. A lot of the misses were not his fault. The combination of the limitations of his camera along with the lack of any front lighting during the show effected his final product. You will see at the end of the critique I show gizzy some of what I captured and even with the D3S the light caused m to shoot at 8000 ISO and still had misses due to lighting.

I really think there are a lot of great tips in this critique that will help you guys capture better images not just at concerts but in many different lighting situations. Check out the video below as well as the full slide show of Gizzy’s photos.


  1. LEdeV December 17, 2010 at 11:40 am -

    Wow!Really great video on framing, using light, iso and shutterspeed. Not to long in any way!

  2. T.J. Dreyer December 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm -

    Awesome review, hopefully more will come. I think those can help everyone to implement some of the tips in our own work. You mentioned a five year plan structure, have more info on how you form that?

  3. Erica December 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm -

    I could definitely relate to the frustration of the 1600 max ISO. When I started out, a good friend of mine indefinitely loaned me a Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro (released in 2002, and based on the Nikon N80 film SLR). Its ISO capabilities were 100, 200, 400, 800 & 1600, so it was very limited, but for someone just starting out, it was a dream, and did just what I needed it to do…enough to lure me into the wonders of photography and hook me for good. It’s amazing how your needs gradually change as you flex your muscles. It was a natural transition when I went from the S2 to a D90, which was the dream camera I fantasized about, and even now, having owned the D90 since July 29, I am feeling its limitations, as compared to what the D3S, and even the D7000 can do.

    All that being said, as a beginning myself (I’ve only been shooting for around 18 months), I think Gizzy, like you said, did a tremendous job. What amateur, after six months, wouldn’t give anything to shoot from The Pit? Incredible stuff.

  4. Gizzy December 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm -

    Thanks for the feedback Erica! As you were, Im currently in that dream phase of new model anticipation and eventually upgrading. hahaha! However the D3000 was the perfect model for me to get my feet wet in the world of photography but now the tide is pulling me into the vast ocean of photographic possiblities. Ridin’ the waves…weeeeeeeee!

  5. Baggy December 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm -

    Nice shots Gizzy!!! It has to be cool having the possibility to shot from The Pit. I wish I could but here in Italy it’s a whole different scenario. Anyhow I too started out with a D40 and I now feel that it’s time to upgrade. I was thinking of a D300. What do you say Jared? Is it a good upgrade or do you have anything else in mind? I bought the D40 because I didn’t have enough cash for the D60 at the time, but I thought it was a pretty good option for an entry level.

  6. Barilla December 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm -

    Great video, and some great shots from Gizzy! I’m in a very similiar situation right now, also being a beginner (less than one year of practice), and shooting with dark side counterparts: EOS 1000D, canon 70-200 2.8, and since there’s no decent, affordable 35mm for canon, a 50mm 1.8 (which makes me miss the wide angle even more!). And I also like to shoot concerts, though smaller ones (good luck getting a permission for a bigger concert if You’re an amateur here in Poland), like 150 people at most. Those usually have even more difficult lightning, so I usually give up and use flash, since I wouldn’t make any sharp image otherwise :( Which gives me an idea, how about some more extensive flash tutorial Jared? For many people, including me, proper use of flash is not an easy thing, so I’m pretty sure a lot of folks would appreciate that.

  7. Roberto December 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm -

    Congratz Gizzy!

    Great video, critique is awesome, one of the best ways to understand photography. This way we can learn from your experience.

    Thanks a lot jared your videos worth more then gold!

  8. Raymond December 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm -

    I think you’re confused over exposure and metering Jared.
    At one point you said you shot on manual and using aperture priority would result in an underexposed image but that’s not true It all depends on where you took the reading from and wether your camera is set on matrix, centre weighted or spot metering. If you use aperture priority and spot meter off the performer’s face your exposures will be right for his face irespective of any lights in the background, and you can do that in manual too.
    It’s about where you take the reading from not what mode you are in.

  9. Gizzy December 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm -

    @ Baggy…many thank! Whats the scenario like in Italy?

    @ Barilla…Thanks!Its so cool to hear other shooters are in similar situations…do they say anything when you use flash during the show in poland?

    @ Roberto…much thanks! the critiques really do force you to look in the mirror a little harder than you might want to but its all in the best interest of your passion and your adventure as a photographer. happy shooting!

  10. Kaux December 17, 2010 at 11:35 pm -

    This super secret project is awesome!!

    I just got a setup like that d3000 and 35 mm 2.8, but I really want a zoom. I cant affor de 24 70 from nikon, but there are offerings with more or less the same focal length range and 2.8 from sigma and tamron. Can any body give a word on any of these?

    There is this one from sigma


    It would be great if you could review it jared :)

    Also, with the sigma 70 200, since it doesnt have vibration reduction, dont you guys find it indispensable at its longest focal lengths?

  11. Barilla December 18, 2010 at 4:07 am -

    Well Gizzy, all those bands I shoot are either amateur or semi-pro, so 95% of the time they don’t have a manager who could yell at me for using flash. I never asked for permission, and so far never had to ask for forgiveness either. I imagine it’s quite different if You’re shooting a pro show.
    Oh and Jared, I think You’re making a bit too big deal out of cutting someone’s finger or some hair in the photo. I personally don’t find it that distracting, and actually in certain situations I find it totally acceptable.

  12. Peter Dudek aka Wishmaster December 18, 2010 at 5:25 am -

    I do beleve Gizzy push this D3000 to the edge of darkness es es :] and achieve a spectacular result! I know people with pro cameras and they are not even close to mr Gizzy. Critique is always welcome and it’s should be even if you think you are a pro shooter. Good job Gizzy I wish I could have such apportunity to learn from pro on pro show :]. Keep up the good work man you nearly there :]. P.S. Yes, you need new body that for shure lol :].

  13. Dave Brown December 18, 2010 at 9:17 am -

    Great shots ‘Giz, I’m pleasantly surprised by those High ISO D3000 results… was skeptical beforehand! Would love to see you go to town on a D7000 / “D400″ body asap :)

  14. Isamar December 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm -

    Hey Jared i have been working with the d3000 for one year with the kit lens and i am so ready to get rid of the kit lens i just don’t know whether to buy the

    AF Zoom-NIKKOR
    70-300mm f/4-5.6G which is $172.00

    or the

    AF-S VR 70-300mm
    f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED which is $589

    Can you help me out i don’t understand why one is so cheap and the other one is so expensive.

  15. Phil Kamp December 18, 2010 at 1:29 pm -

    This is a great and honest review for both a starter DSLR and Gizzy being a starter. Imyself am a starter, about a year into it and bought a 3000 as my first. I can totally relate to the noise issues as you bump up the iso. Using the light and and your aperature is the best way to combat the noise issues, especially for shooting concerts.
    I grew out of the 3000 in about 6 months and moved up to the 300s, Gizzy this should be your next upgrade, that or the 7000. Great shot and as usual great review Jared.

  16. Mahesh December 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm -

    great video

  17. Isamar December 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm -

    Hey Jared i have been working with my D3000 with the kit lens for a year now and i am so ready to get rid of the kit lens i just don’t know whether to buy the:
    AF Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4-5.6G for $172 or the AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED for $589

    I don’t understand why one is so expensive and the other one is so cheap. Could you help me out? thank you ! :)

  18. Dave December 19, 2010 at 7:58 am -

    Great shots, Gizzy! Many great angles. I think the “halo” shot is my favorite. These show it’s not the camera taking the picture, but the person behind it.

    Loved this tutorial, Fro. I like that you’re using LR so we can see the settings for each shot. One suggestion…if you can run LR full-screen on a Mac (i.e., not show the application launcher), you could use the whole screen (on Windows, I cycle through different views–including full screen–using the F key).

  19. Linda December 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm -

    Hey jared i have the d3000 for a year now with the kit lens and i want to buy another the 70-300mm lens but i don’t understand why one lens is so expensive and the other one is so cheap ca you help me out? Thank you !

    AF Zoom-NIKKOR
    70-300mm f/4-5.6G at $172

    70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED at $589

  20. Eddy December 21, 2010 at 9:09 pm -

    This is great stuff. I shoot with a D5000 and am also hesitant to bump to 1600.

    In terms of your lens not being wide enough, I think a 24-70 would be a good, albeit difficult ($) upgrade. It is a great lens, which will be fairly wide on your D3000 and you’ll never have to upgrade it. However, it will totally dwarf your current camera!