Wise Advanced, Red Bull and a dash of dancing
10 Oct 2023

Wise Advanced, Red Bull and a dash of dancing

Surrounded by music since childhood, Chris Hershman a Nikon Ambassador, has had a natural ability to understand the language of music. When he transitioned from life as a musician to a photographer, it was natural for him to start by shooting his musician friends and their live performances with the help of Wise Advanced products.

This summer, Red Bull hosted their US Dance Your Style National Finals, bringing together the country’s 16 regional champions to Chicago to battle it out. The event consisted of a full weekend of programming and electrifying head-to-head battles. With a buzzing atmosphere and DJs blasting beats to a roaring crowd, Chris must figure out a way to immortalize it all.

Challenges and Fixes

Challenge: Overshooting
Fix: Make Three-Part Stories

When shooting live events, it’s important to capture the whole event without overshooting and making your post process too lengthy, therefore causing a headache to sort through at the end of the night. I like to visualize the day broken down into three different objectives and angles.

  1. Establishing Shots: These are typically going to be a wide shot of the venue and any lines forming for the event. Can’t forget the lines!
  2. Details: These are the tighter shots focusing on the small interactions attendees have with the activations, signs or visual branding that the event team setup. Maybe a gaggle of friends laughing as they enter the venue.
  3. Action: This is the moment you came for, the main event. Whatever is on stage, be sure to not only capture the artists or subject, but the fans! Find a way on the back or side of the stage to shoot over the shoulder of the performer and capture the view of reactive fans.

Wise Advanced, Red Bull and a dash of dancing

Challenge: Blurred Explosive Moments
Fix: Increase the ISO and Prioritize the Shutter Speed

The concept of high ISO leading to grainy unusable images is deeply embedded in photographers’ minds. However, keeping a high ISO is necessary when it comes to capturing fast-moving performers in the dark.

As Chris put it,

When I was filming rock bands on my previous generation DSLR I would keep doing my best to keep my ISO below 1600. Nowadays I’m pushing to 2500 to allow for a faster shutter speed. Two major factors come into play here, one being that the technology and noise reduction in these new cameras and sensors have been greatly improved and can keep grain and artifacts to a minimum. The other factor is Adobe Lightroom released a new Denoise feature that makes use of A.I.
Challenge: Dull and Lifeless Portrait
Fix: Pump Up the Subject!

Who doesn’t like to be drawn or captured as a masterpiece?
Chris knew it makes no exception for the performers.

Before taking their portraits, I like to spend a few a few moments speaking with the person I’m about to capture. Maybe I’ll show folks an image I captured for them to get really excited about looking awesome and pumped to keep up the energy for a portrait.

Wise Advanced, Red Bull and a dash of dancing

Tools and Preparation

Practice makes perfect, and great tools may allow you to tell your stories effortlessly. Cameras, without a doubt, would be his Nikon Z 8 and Z 9. Each strapped on a shoulder, like a cowboy, ready to duel.


Glass is super important for a gig like this. You’re looking for something fast AND functional. The trinity of f/2.8 lenses are essential. I also love to pack a few primes in lens pouches around my waist. For this gig I had tried out the recently released 85mm f/1.2. I was blown away at the sharpness event at f/1.2. This lens is created for calling out a single detail in a busy composition


There is no sense in having the fast cameras loaded with the slowest cards. Best to put the best quality gas in the car, know what I’m sayin’? I’m using the Wise Advanced 1TB CFexpress Type B Mk-II Memory Card to make sure I’m not swapping cards all throughout the event. In addition, I’m using the Wise Advanced 640GB CFexpress Type B PRO Memory Card for that lighting speed. This card comes in handy when capturing 8K video RAW footage from my Nikon Z 8 and Z 9. In fact, it’s one of the only cards available to unlock the full high-resolution capabilities of filming 8K RAW on those cameras.

Last, know your environment before the duel. Chris suggests spending time before the actual event to scout the venue.

I suggest spending the day before packing, walking around your space and seeing if it’s manageable for one person. If you’re prepared the day before, you’ll set yourself at ease and stay focused on the mission, to capture the subject, and not fumble through bags of gear. Keep what’s in front of your camera in focus by making sure your gear is settled long before showing up. Take time before your event to visualize your experience. Think through the gear you need, picture yourself standing, sitting, waiting in lines, asking attendees to allow you to the front. All these help you to relieve stress and anxiety and flow in the moment you’re pursuing your photography.

Chris’ Gear

  • Nikon Z 6 II
  • Nikon Z 8
  • Nikon Z 9
  • Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
  • Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
  • Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
  • NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.2 S

About Chris Hershman

Chris Hershman is a photographer, filmmaker and producer whose life as a musician launched him into a career of capturing the raw energy of the live performances of fellow musicians.

He added video to his still photography when he got one of Nikon’s first camera bodies capable of video and decided to see what moving images were all about and how he could use them to capture life as he was seeing it. Self-taught, he quickly discovered that video enabled him to accentuate the explosive energy of those he worked with and to capture and communicate their talent and versatility.

I grew up playing instruments,” Chris says, “so when I finally picked up a camera it just made sense to start photographing and filming other musicians. It was a great way to learn video—just let the performer perform and you worry about making a film. The music itself is naturally interesting and engaging. There’s a language musicians speak that makes it easy for them to relate to me. They know I live in their world.

Chris’ photography has appeared in Rolling Stone, Paste and Consequence of Sound and has been featured on National Public Radio and the Grammy Awards. He has created music videos for, among others, Alabama Shakes, Switchfoot, Company of Thieves, Brian Blade and Maps & Atlases.

Chris is an Urban cowboy with a love of denim and vintage motorcycles who captures life the way he sees it.

For more information on Chris Hershman and Wise Advanced click here

For more information please contact our Sales Desk:
+44 (0)1457 851000 | sales@holdan.co.uk.

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