Concert Photography Tips – How To Take Photos At Massive Events

Are you planning to shoot some event or a show soon?

It may seem difficult and challenging.

Although…

…taking photos at concerts and other massive events is so much fun and such a great experience for every photographer.

Let’s hop on the main tips that will improve your concert photography skills in a flash.

Have 2 Types of Lens

For the best results I recommend having 2 types of lenses:

A long focal length lens and a wide angle lens.

Here’s a fact:

If you are shooting massive events like concerts, it means it can be challenging to get really close to the artist.

And here comes our savior long focal length lens.

With these lenses you can easily capture great shots of the artist or even his face expressions from far away. 

Plus, they usually have a great compression. It means it’s easy to isolate the artist from the background.  

With wide angle lens you can get a panoramic shot fitting the artist and the audience in one picture. 

No matter if you are in a local club or a big spacious arena. 

Photos taken with wide angle lens gives the effect of exaggeration and makes it more dramatic, which is perfect for concert photography.

If you are looking for an alternative, I would recommend getting a 50 mm lens, which is very versatile. It is great for portraits, does a stunning job in low light and it only costs around 100-200$.

Know Your Camera Settings

The main challenge you are going to face in concert photography is the need of adjusting different camera settings A LOT.

You will need fast shutter speed to catch people in motion. 

Moreover, you will have to adjust your ISO very often because during concerts and massive events the light is usually changing and there are lots of flashes. 

So make sure you leave your flash at home since it will not have any effect or won’t be allowed at all.

Usually the artist is under a very intense light, which makes them easy to capture. 

Sometimes things can get difficult.

For example, if you want to capture the public, you will need a higher ISO and lower aperture. Don’t be afraid of high ISO when you are shooting massive events. You can fix it all later using editing software.

If you feel like you lost control and your photos are too dark or too bright – no worries.

Just switch to the auto mode. 

Some additional noise or unbalanced WB won’t ruin your photos. Plus, you can always fix that later in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Avoid Other Photographers In The Same Place

Taking pictures from the same spot as other photographers won’t make your photos unique.

To catch some stunning, exclusive shots, try finding an interesting and cool spot first.

If you have a wide angle lens, go to the furthest corner of the space. From here, you can take stunning shots fitting everyone in your picture.

You may also want to get on the stage and get some impressive shots of the artist or band. 

Just make sure you have a permission to get on the stage if there is one. Usually authorities give such permission for concert/event photographers.

You can even get into the public and catch some of those shots where it feels like you are part of the audience. This trick is used really often in massive events.

Find A Higher Spot

As told in the beginning, finding the right spot may lead you to some really eye-catching shots.

Sometimes the right spot is somewhere higher than usual.

If organizers of the concert or event gave you the permission to get on the stage – go for it. Or find some kind of stairs where you could fit the whole audience in one shot from above.

If you are located in a massive arena there might be a top floor near the ceiling. Use this place to get some aerial shots. Or a balcony if there is one. 

Don’t forget: always be careful! Falling off the stage when trying to take the perfect shot of the artist is not what you want to remember from this concert.

Wait For The Moment To Catch Unique Emotions

You are at a concert. 

You are shooting a performance, and the band will surely make some spectacular moves or provoke the audience in some way. It’s important to catch all those emotional and exciting moments. 

Keep in mind that your photos will be the only thing that remains of the event later.

If there is something organizers don’t want captured on camera, they will definitely tell you.

Sometimes you can already feel that something really cool is going to happen. It may be the artist jumping in the crowd, inviting someone on stage or just singing their special song. So relax, get all your camera settings ready and wait for the moment.

Want to know the best part?

In concert photography there are no strict rules.

It’s pretty easy to get a exclusive shot since people are feeling natural, relaxed and are not concentrating on your camera.

Don’t Forget to Capture the Audience

Concert photography is not just about the artist or the band.

Sometimes someone from the audience could surprise you with a grand move. And if that happens, you’d better be pointing your camera at that person.

So capture all these beautiful moments when people are dancing or singing lyrics of the song. Sometimes a photo of an audience will be the one shot which will sum up the whole concert. Not even the artist.

Another tip:

Try getting the artist and someone from the audience in one picture. Maybe the artist touches someone’s hand or gives him or her the microphone – make sure you get that on camera!

Real emotions in your photos are what makes you a good concert photographer.

Share Your Photos After

Want to spread your photos around the internet or press media?

Make sure you don’t forget to share your photos with the hosts of the event or send them directly to artists. 

You will be surprised how often they reply back and appreciate for the pictures.

People are excited to see themselves in photos. 

Sometimes it’s just enough to tag the band or the artist in your photos and they will share your pictures themselves.

If they are asking if they can share your photos on their social media, don’t forget to tell them to mention you as the author of the photos. 

Just remember to keep it friendly. Appreciate them for the great concert and opportunity to be the photographer of their event.

Who knows, maybe you are getting your next project because of their recommendation.