My good friends David “Geli” Geli and Polly “Polly” McGirr had an open mic night coming up at the famous London comedy club Up The Creek and as I love shooting performers on stage I asked if they fancied a few shots from the night for free. They did not turn me down. ;)

Open mic nights are for newcomers to give it a go and established performers to try new material. You shouldn’t be afraid to ‘fail’ at an open mic as they’re meant to be a safe environment for those that take the stage, and the host for the evening, Rich Wilson, reminded the audience of that before the show started.

Here’s my favourite shots from the evening – look out for Geli himself in the control booth with the light glowing behind him.

london event photographer up the creek open mic 2013 - Open Mic Night at Up The Creek comedy club

Shooting and processing

I started shooting in RAW but I was shooting a lot and going through my two 4GB cards fast so switched to JPG only early on. I’ve since increased my arsenal of CF cards.

I had decided to limit myself to B&W for the whole evening, using the Nikon D700’s rather nice built-in B&W mode with high contrast settings, and I gave them a tweak in Lightroom later for exposure and deeper blacks here and there.

I’d made the switch to Lightroom only shortly after shooting this set and as I got into the software and realised how effortless it was to batch process RAWs in different looks using custom presets I realised I should have shot RAW on the night to have more control over the B&W toning of my picks.

I had previously been using Nikon Capture NX 2 for RAW conversion that exactly matched the colours and settings in my D700, and would have been perfectly able to make the same toning tweaks there, but NX2 is a slog compared to Lightroom and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the process anywhere near as much. Man, I love Lightroom.

All the same, this was a test shoot for me as much as anything and I’m very happy with both the results and the lessons learned.