I recently attended my cousin's fifth grade band/orchestra concert. The students have only been playing for a month or so--and they sounded quite good considering their inexperience. I hoped to capture some photographs of the event, but found the conditions to be very challenging for photography.
First, there were a lot more people at the concert than I expected:
I decided to position myself on the stage at the back of the gym so that I could shoot from a higher perspective.
The next challenge was the positioning of the musicians. The band and orchestra are facing each other on the gym floor and the two don't play at the same time. So, when I'm photographing the band director (who is facing me), the musicians in the background are just sitting there--and it looks very unnatural. I had to watch the background closely and activate the shutter at the most appropriate times.
The biggest challenge was the busy backgrounds. When shooting with a middle aperture, there's so much going on in the frame that it's difficult to tell what the subject is. So, I used my Nikon 300 2.8 and set the aperture wide open. At f/2.8, the depth of field of acceptable focus is very narrow--which helps to isolate the subject. I sometimes call the 300 2.8 lens my "background eraser." Here are some images from the concert: