Preview: Janelle Monáe @ The Pageant

Don't be fooled by this image – you'll have to read the exposure to appreciate how dark the stage really was.

Here's a preview shot of Janelle Monáe's stunning performance last night at the Pageant. Technically, Monáe was supporting Of Montreal, but frankly, I think she stole the show. Which, for anyone who's seen Of Montreal in the last few years, is no easy task.

Photographer's Notes:

Janelle is simply a firecracker of a performer. As great as she is of a subject, she's not without her challenges. Namely, a good deal of movement. For a production with spotlights, this is no problem, but for opener-lighting with nothing but the house rig, things are far from a technical idea.

Enter the fast prime.

Cameras Used:

Lenses Used:

The Nikon 85mm f/1.4 was a lifesaver for this show. I shot this image at 1/125 at f/1.4 at ISO 3200. If you want to translate to an f/2.8 zoom like the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, you're talking either using ISO 12,800, knocking your shutter speed down to 1/30, or something in between.

Needless to say, it was a Janelle received a dim treatment, but the beautiful new 85mm lit up the stage.

Spread The Love

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon Z 7:
I use two Nikon Z 7 for my live music photography. A true do-it-all mirrorless camera with amazing AF, great speed and fantastic resolution.


Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8S:
The 24-70mm is my go-to lens. The range is ideal for stage front photography and the image quality is superb.


Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR:
A perfect pair to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, I can basically shoot any job with the midrange and this lens. Superb image quality.


Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8:
Ultra-wide perspective, ridiculously sharp even wide open at f/2.8. I love using this lens up-close and personal, where it excels.

See My Full Kit for Concert Photography

Help Support

If this article or any other content on was helpful to you, please consider supporting this site and grabbing your next photo gear purchase through one of my affiliate links:

Simply clicking through any product links on this site helps me bring you free content like the photography tips and gear reviews regularly posted on, and naturally it doesn't cost you a cent more.