Adam Reimy
Three Concert Photography Tips

Have you always wanted to photograph live concerts, but are anxious about how to start? Were you recently hired for your first concert photography gig, but don’t still looking for more ideas on how to capture great moments of the show? Well look no further, and keep reading.

Concert photography can be an amazing way to earn a check for using your camera. Not only do you get paid to listen to music, but you also get to capture the personality and moments of your favorite bands. But, concert photography can also be a bit tough; it’s extremely loud, there’s a lot of movement going on in a short amount of time, and it’s usually quite dark. So to help combat these aspects (and more), read these three photography tips for shooting live shows.

Buy (or Rent) a Fast Lens

Most venues will be dark. Period. That’s simply the nature of a concert, unless it’s a live show during daytime. This isn’t something to fear or worry about. Rather, it’s a known fact that you can prepare for. If you aspire to truly make your living out of concert photography, or want to get serious about shooting concerts, it’s probably worth your time, energy and money to save up and purchase a fast lens, something with an aperture or f/2.8 or even f/1.8. The faster, the better. I promise you won’t regret the extra money spent for a faster lens.

If you get hired for one show and are not sure if you’re serious about concert photography, then simply rent a lens with a fast aperture well before the show date. Either way, be prepared.

Adam Reimy

Utilize Venue Objects

Too many times, concert photographs are simple and straightforward shutter clicks of the musicians on stage. But if you’re shooting a show, you’ll most likely have a press pass. Utilize your ability to get close and personal to do exactly that. Get close to the stage if you can, and use objects such as amplifiers or stage architecture to create more compelling compositions of the artists on stage.

Shoot the Crowd

To tell a better and more well-rounded story of the show, don’t forget to turn around and shoot the crowd, or get behind the crowd and silhouette them against the musicians on stage. Most of the time, lights meant for the stage will spill over to the fans, creating interesting shapes and shadows, leading to fun and exciting images of people cheering on the artists and music. 

Overall, the best way to create great concert photographs is to anticipate and prepare for possible challenges, like a dark venue, and to think creatively while at the show. Don’t simply point and shoot at the artists on stage. 

What are your thoughts on these tips? Do you have any of your own that others would benefit by knowing? If so, leave them in the comments below. 

3 comments on “Three Concert Photography Tips
  • Marcin says:

    Tip #4: Get a wide angle lens.

  • Alex says:

    Concert photography is one of the most technically difficult genres I’ve tried, expect to take a lot of underexposed, out of focus photos, and to have your musicians look like Oompa Loompas under stage lights. I wouldn’t expect to shoot any big name bands, or earn real money, unless you’ve gotten good at it.

    If you want to break in, local bands will likely let you shoot in exchange for admission, even if you’re totally unproven.

    • admin says:

      Even if you have gotten good at it, do not expect to make much money. Unless you are in a major market shooting major acts and have lots of experience, the money is fleeting. Most photogs In this genre are in for the fun and the perks.

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