Concert photography tips for beginners

Concert photography tips for beginners

Concert photography is one of the biggest challenges in whole photography. We will not have any control over the objects, lighting will change all the time and we will not be able to shoot from any angle, just from the place we stand. If you want to took that kind of photos, read my concert photography tips for beginners.

Concert photography basics
Concert photography basics: watch for the hands on your frame.

Well, concert photography is not too easy and intuitive, but after all, it's also not that difficult you might think. I believe, that at the end of this article you will also think the same. Let's start.

Getting started

For the start, it's good to pick some kind of a relatively intimate concert where won't be a lot of people. You will be able to move around and shoot from many angles, so it will help you to choose the best ones for the future. There also won't be many things that'll interrupt you, so you'll be able to focus on the photography. Maybe you know any band personally? If yes, go to their training, make some practice. 

It's not the camera, it's the photographer

Remember, that you don't need the most expensive camera on the market to start shooting concerts. I started with the Nikon D3000 and one cheapest, standard lens. Of course, if you want to be a professional concert photographer, you must but more expensive gear. Some other tips you might use:

  • Use a lens with a small aperture, like 50mm 1.8, a fish-eye would be also useful (depends on situation).
  • Try to save money for a full frame camera and fast and light zoom lenses, like 24-70mm 2.8.
  • Try to get press accreditation.

Think about other people

First of all, we have to remember, that there are many other people around us that paid money to enjoy the concert. So try not to be an intruder and not interrupt their fun. People around also won't care if they are on your frame or not, so remember to take a look if there are not too many hands on the bottom of your photo.

Do not use flash

Flash is very useful for a photography in dark places, but it's usually not permitted while concerts. This is because musicians would not be able to play if 10 or 20 flashes will flash their eyes all the time. Of course, if you are not standing near the scene, your camera's flash just won't be effective - it only will make your photo worst, because it will light people hands, heads or their cigarette's smoke.

Another problem is that if you will use your camera on automatic (or even semi-automatic) mode and use a flashlight, the camera will not know what's our interests (we will flash people, not the scene), so it will probably let less light into sensor and in results we will get a darker stage.

Wait for the spot lights

If the stage is dark it's a good idea to wait for the spotlights (the narrow, focused strong light) to light the artist we want to make a photo of. That kind of light will make your photo brighter and it will look much better (you will be surprised how much). Remember, that concert photography is to show it's atmosphere and the lights are a big part of it. 

Concert photography: red lights
Concert photography: red lights can be a problem.

Watch colors

Many concerts are dominated by red colour because artists like to show their energy and power. This is a very important thing to remember, because you don't want a situation that you come back from the concert, watch your photos and they all are red. Also, this colour can "burn" some places on your photography, so it's sometimes just better to make unexposed RAW's and then light them in Lightroom or any similar program. Another idea is to convert those burned red images to black and white, it can save your photography.

Be patient

Patience is very important during concert photography. Sometimes you just have to set your camera, set your frame and wait many seconds or even minutes to get the shot you really want. Musicians are usually focused on their singing or playing and they won't make anything to make your life easier.

I hope you enjoyed this concert photography tips. It 's not very easy, but it's also not too hard when you will get some experience. So the best thing to do is just to start shooting and learning from our own mistakes. Good luck.

Wojciech Kuźma

My name is Wojtek and I am very happy that you came to my photography blog. I started my adventure with photography a few years ago and all I know, I learned myself, mainly from the Internet (which proves that for those who want nothing is difficult).

If you liked this article, be sure to leave a comment and read some more!

4.75 | 4 votes
Comments: 12
  •   14th March 2017, 15:07

    Please tell me where that blog was last month when I was trying to figure this all concert photography tips and tricks? I hope my next photos will be much better now.

    •   31th March 2017, 10:49

      Wish you luck during your next concert photos, hope to see you reading my next photography articles.

  •   15th March 2017, 12:45

    Thanks for some useful concert photography tips. They are very usefull, Im waiting now for the concert photography camera settings.

    •   31th March 2017, 10:47

      Thanks mate, the article about photography camera settings will be here soon!

  •   15th March 2017, 17:11

    Ive been taking photos for two years now (mostly at local music festivals), always for free it most was a charity events (local bands dont have a lot of cash). Its nice to read a good tutorial on the subject.

    •   31th March 2017, 10:52

      I also started to learn concert photography during local band concerts, when my only salary was a smile :-) We must start somewhere!

  •   31th March 2017, 10:31

    Thanks for a few basics tips, keep waiting for more articles about concert photography soon ;-)

    •   31th March 2017, 10:50

      Im glad you enjoyed it.

  •   21th November 2018, 18:15

    Thanks, dear for sharing such beautiful information with us But here I have a very quick question that how we can realize our Photography Beginners Tips ? Hope soon you will write a detailed article Best Regards

  •   24th December 2019, 19:08

    Im going to Madonnas concert this June, I just hope that DSLR camera is allowed. On Taylor Swift concert, the only allowed camera is digital which make it hard to take good shots.

  •   13th July 2021, 09:46

    This text was translated automatically. Original text is below: CO roku wybieram się na ibize, dzięki tym wskazówką uda mi się zrobić zdecydowanie lepsze zdjecie niz dotychczas... super porady

  •   19th September 2021, 00:41

    Great article. Thanks for some useful concert photography tips. 👍

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