You go to a concert to feel the electrifying energy of the live music coursing through your veins. Just like any other ineffable musical experience, you want to capture it, throw it into the veil of time and remember it forever.
Whether you carry a digital camera or just wing it on your smartphone, you want to make sure that your concert photography is on point.
If you’re not sure how to click great pictures, you’re certainly going to capture every moment of the show. We all know what that means – a memory full enough to deny another photo and a fully drained battery.
Legend says that in this excruciatingly frustrating process, no pictures worth keeping were taken.
We’re not here to give expert advice or turn you into a pro for photography at concerts. But we can help you become aware of simple tips that will most probably pave the way to jaw-dropping photos, perfect angles and vibrant backdrops.
All these without killing the vibe and allowing you to enjoy the performance. Here are ten tips and tricks for the next time you want to slay your concert photography.
1. Switch off that flash
We get it – you can’t help clicking endless snaps of your favorite band or singer. But when you do so, remember to keep the flash off. The last thing you want to do is distract whoever is on the stage or annoy the people from the first row.
Yes, we know what you’re thinking. Concert venues are usually ill-lighted, so pressing the off button on your flash might seem counterintuitive. But trust us on that one – the power of the flash works when the photo’s subject is not ten meters away from you.
2. Seize the atmosphere
In the live music experience realm, spirit, vigor, and vibe is the holy trinity that guarantees a roaring success. Of course, your picture would completely lack personality if it wouldn’t capture where this energy comes from.
Whether indoors or outdoors, taking a pic of the audience surrounding the stage will give you that. At the end of the day, photography at concerts is not all about how well the artist performed – it is also about the crowd’s energy.
3. Capturing in low light
If the music concert is held indoors or at night, getting good shots with your phone camera is no easy feat. If you’re really keen on getting terrific photographs of the event, consider carrying a DSLR camera with a zoom lens.
“What’s really adaptable is a 24mm–70mm zoom lens with the ability to have a pretty wide aperture, with a basic DSLR camera or mirrorless camera,” says concert photography expert Mark Tepsic.
4. Ugh, the annoying movement
You already know the drill – throughout the show, the artist will hardly stick to one place. In this hellish scenario, the pictures will only depict a ghost-like creature leaving a trail of hazy colour behind – which is far from resembling the artist.
Breathe in, breathe out, and observe for a while to get the hang of their moves. For example, if a singer is moving from left to right, do not put them in the center of your focus, but leave enough space on the right side of the screen so that you can click when the artist reaches the middle.
5. Don’t zoom in with your smartphone camera
If you’re lucky to get a spot right in front of the crowds, zooming in on the stage will be your last problem. But if you are further back, you will need some help.
It’s best to zoom in with a digital camera or DSLR. But if you have only your smartphone, zooming in will almost always result in a distorted and grainy photo. If you’re eager about concert photography, you can resolve the issue by investing in a mini smartphone lens.
6. Catching the drama
If you’re a big-time fan of the artist you will see, it would be a win for you to know their signature moves and expressions.
Take rock bands as an example – their members are known for their facial expressions and staple dancing moves.
Whether it is a wild hair flip of the guitarist after a solo streak, a snarling expression from the drummer, or a flashy fist pump from the singer, snapping it could be a helluva shot.
Bear in mind – you have to prepare your photography at concerts skills beforehand by watching their videos online.
7. Look beyond the artist(s)
We know you came in for the music, but you probably stayed for the jaw-dropping setting and vibrant props.
At the end of the day, visuals represent a big chunk of your live music experience – so they have to catch your eye, attention and phone camera.
Don’t be hesitant about integrating them into the shot. Besides being part of the experience, unique props and decor can signal a specific show, artist or tour – you want to remember it forever, don’t you?
It goes without saying that the long list includes the stage, for which you might want to walk back to capture it entirely.
8. Get creative with angles
This will work only if you are fortunate to get a spot in the front rows. If you have an unrestricted view of the stage and performers, don’t try to stick the camera in front of them.
Even if it’s just your smartphone, tilt it at unusual angles or take a low-level shot. Just use your imagination to get uncommon perspectives. Well, hello there, faux expert photographer.
9. Concert photography wouldn’t be complete without the ubiquitous selfie
Indubitably, there is no rule when it comes to clicking your own self. Unless you have asked your mate to click you – in which case, bless them if they don’t get it right in the first shot.
Don’t try taking your picture against the stage because the light will be behind you and you’ll end up with a silhouette.
By the way, this is not the perfect time to add those Instagram filters as you don’t want to cut out the location.
An eye-level shot will definitely also include your fellow concert-goers, mostly with off-guard facial expressions.
But if you’re feeling yourself so much that you want to cut the people from the background, hold your hand up – it will add a flattering angle to your selfie, too.
10. Be respectful of fellow audience members
We can’t stress this enough, but don’t be that annoying person who blocks the view of those behind with the phone or camera held up constantly. Remember, you’re here to enjoy the live music, so put down that camera as much as possible and lose yourself to the music beats.
Thanks to the dynamic atmosphere of a concert, concerts photography can be quite a daunting task. But with a little practice, a lot of observation, and even more patience, your social media feed will surely be lit.