Concert Photography Tips

Many people have been to concerts and loved the music and atmosphere, but come back with poor photos. Concert photography can be difficult due to low light conditions and unpredictable lighting. You can do it!

A Word of Cauton

Be aware of the rules of the concert venue. You should check the website or back of your ticket for information about prohibited items such as recording or photographic equipment. Your camera is not permitted inside. This is the last thing you want. You should know the techniques to capture images in concert conditions.

Well Exposed

Concert Photography - A guitarist with long hair and goatee plays an electric guitar on-stage

It is hard to get a balanced image in low lighting. Flash can ruin the image and it is impossible to carry a tripod to a concert. To let enough light in, you need to use the largest aperture (f/2.8-f/4) If your camera supports spot-metering, you might consider using it. Spot-metering can give you an accurate reading of light levels. To get the reading, point the camera at the artist’s face.

Avoiding Blur

Concert Photography - A young singer in concert

Low light environments are more likely to produce blurred images due to slower shutter speeds. Blur can also be caused by movement in the arena. You should also be steady (move away from people and crowds if necessary), and then you can adjust the settings to Auto. To increase the ISO value to 800 or to open the aperture to get a good shutter speed, you can adjust the settings.

Movement

Concert Photography - Band at rock music concert

If you are at a concert, a slow shutter speed (between 1/30 and 1/60 seconds should be sufficient) is a good way to capture the movement. If you capture the light traveling on the stage, you can get interesting photos. Creative lighting systems are used by bands to enhance their music. To capture this effect, hold your camera still and take the photo. Slow Speed Sync is a technique that allows your flash to sync at a slower shutter speed than normal. You will be presented with two options when you set your flash to slow sync flash. Front curtain sync tends give faint images and a sharp main subject. Rear curtain sync, on the other hand, tends to lighten the main subject and capture the ambient light.

Silhouettes

Concert Photography - Silhouette of crowd in a rock concert

You can capture silhouettes of people in the crowd if you’re in a dark place. Make sure the lighting is good and the crowd is dark. Use a wide-angle lens and open the aperture wide (f/2.8 to f/4) while your flash is off. You can use either spot or multizone metering mode. The camera will read the bright background and then point it at your subject.

Laser Show

Concert Photography - Silhouetted crowd attending laser show in a concert

Flash can ruin the laser show’s colorful effects. It is important to set the ISO to 800-3200, and the aperture to f/4 or f/8. If the lights move fast, it is possible to get light trails or movement in the image. This can be acceptable as long as the camera remains still so the light moving and not you are visible.

Recommendations

Successful concert photography is all about experimentation. A good image will have at least one sharp area, not just a bunch of colors. Use an ISO of 800, and a large aperture (f/2.8) to get the best results. You should use a wide-angle lens with a shutter speed of 1/16th of a second. Night time flash (slow-sync flash) is an alternative to getting sharp images. It is slower and produces a different effect.

Recommended Equipment

A high-quality 50mm lens, with an aperture of f/1.4 (or 1.8) is a good starting lens. This refers to the maximum aperture that the lens can reach. Telephoto lenses require more light than standard and wide angle lenses. The result would look blurred in low light or hand-held conditions at a concert unless the lens was extremely high-end. However, specialty IS (image stabilizing lenses) are very useful and expensive.

Conclusion

Although concert photography can be fun and exciting, it is not always easy to master. It is important to practice before you go to a concert. To get comfortable with photographing in dark environments, try going out at night. If you are struggling to get sharp images, there are some tricks that can help: Open your aperture, increase ISO, and use either a wide-angle prime lens or a 50mm prime lens. Have fun, enjoy the music, and be open to new opportunities. It can be difficult to see around at concerts, so keep your eyes on the camera and your eyes open!