With summer on its way, there are plenty of music festivals being held all over the United States and Europe. Many new bands and even some well-established bands will be headlining events in order to perform before their fans. And, with the mobile photography becoming a thing among the younger generations, you can be certain that there will be plenty of photos of bands and band members performing. However, if you want to really make your photos stand out from the crowd, here are a few simple tips you can try.
1) Learn the rules of the venue — Some concert halls and arenas do not allow cameras. Depending on how strictly they enforce this, they may even remove people who are using smartphones or tablets to record the concert or to take photos. If the venue is not photography-friendly, then don’t try to sneak a camera in. If it is photography friendly, ask about access before the gates open. If you do manage to get early access as a photographer, be polite and don’t get in the crews’ ways as they are finalizing the set-up. Getting such access may require that you register as a press photographer so check the rules for doing that. Additionally, some bands will have their own rules about photography that may conflict with the venue’s rules so do your research ahead of time.
2) A good camera will be a smartphone camera every time — Concerts — especially of the non-orchestral types — are very kinetic events. The musicians will be moving constantly, the lights will be moving constantly, and the crowd will be moving constantly. A solid camera with image stabilization will return better results than any smartphone camera. It will also be able to help with balancing the lighting so that your images aren’t too dark or too overexposed. However, if the venue you’re attending doesn’t allow cameras or photography, you may find that a smartphone is your only option. Still, if you are in such a venue, try to obey their rules regarding photography and video capture.
3) Learn your settings — Setting your camera to manual mode and knowing which lighting settings, aperture settings, focal settings, etc to use will help you get clear photos. You can’t rely on Auto Mode to be able to fix everything since there are so many variables going on at a concert and your brain will be much better at factoring them in than your camera’s chipset. Over-relying on auto white balancing can lead to ghostly images and other lighting issues in your photos.
4) Don’t use flash — Most venues will forbid flash photography as it can create problems with the crowd in the audience pit and it can temporarily blind a musician, causing him to miss a step in his routine. With the big name bands who use a lot of pyrotechnics in their concerts, missing a step can be fatal.
5) If the venue allows you to move around, try to get shots from different angles — Some venues will let you move around a bit so long as you don’t cause problems. If the one you’re at allows this, then make use of it to get shots from a distant, from close to the stage, and from a variety of angles.
Are you planning to attend any concerts this summer? If so, let us know in the comments and be sure to share your photos with us over on Facebook!
— da Bird