7 steps to successful concert photography

7 steps to successful concert photography

A con­cert is a unique, fes­tive moment full of mem­o­ries you will want to keep for a long time. Tak­ing good qual­i­ty pho­tos can be tricky, and there are many fac­tors involved: the qual­i­ty of your cam­era or smart­phone, move­ment in front or around you, light­ing and back­light­ing and, of course, your loca­tion. Fol­low­ing some steps is essen­tial to get ready and get good-qual­i­ty pho­tos.

Need help? Here are 7 tips to help you take good, qual­i­ty con­cert pho­tos.


    1. Adjust the ISO

    ISO, or the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of your cam­er­a’s sen­sor to light, is essen­tial for opti­mis­ing your pho­tos’ qual­i­ty dur­ing a con­cert.

    A high­er ISO sen­si­tiv­i­ty will increase the image’s bright­ness and vice ver­sa.
    There­fore, increase the ISO of your cam­era to at least 1000 to com­pen­sate for the lack of light (this also pre­vents blur­ring and allows you to cap­ture the light bet­ter).
    How­ev­er, keep in mind that this requires know­ing the lim­its of your cam­era and its abil­i­ty to “bump up” the ISO with­out pro­duc­ing too much dig­i­tal “noise” (the roughness/graininess that appears in pho­tos when you increase the ISO too much).

    Also, don’t for­get to reset the ISO to low­er val­ues or to AUTO mode after the con­cert.

    2. Have a memory card with enough free space

    Often over­looked: the avail­able space on the mem­o­ry card is a cen­tral ele­ment if you are going to pho­to­graph a con­cert with a cam­era. The images take up much space on the card, espe­cial­ly if you take them in RAW for­mat, which is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

    You will need a mem­o­ry card of at least 32 GB to cap­ture every moment and get the best pos­si­ble pho­tos.

    3. Choose your location wisely

    Choos­ing where to stand is cru­cial to pho­tograph­ing con­certs and get­ting qual­i­ty pho­tos.

    The ide­al loca­tions vary depend­ing on the type of pho­tos you want to take and the view­ing posi­tion you want to use:

    • The moat or pho­to pit: It is per­fect for tak­ing close-up pho­tos of artists. This way, you can see the faces of the musi­cians up close.
    • Ambi­ence pho­tos: Tak­en from a cer­tain height or dis­tance, ambi­ence pho­tos often include a wider audi­ence shot.

    You can also dare to try oth­er points of view, for exam­ple, from the stage or back­stage.

    Your loca­tion choice will also depend on the qual­i­ty of your cam­era. If you use a smart­phone, a dis­tant loca­tion is not advis­able, as zoom­ing sig­nif­i­cant­ly degrades the pho­tos’ qual­i­ty.

    Do you want to organ­ise a con­cert and imple­ment an online tick­et­ing sys­tem? Dis­cov­er how here!

    4. Use the camera’s manual mode

    All cam­eras usu­al­ly have “Aper­ture Pri­or­i­ty” and “Man­u­al” modes. While it may be tempt­ing to use Aper­ture Pri­or­i­ty Mode and let the cam­era do the work for you, this set­ting will not give you the same con­trol as Man­u­al Mode.

    Indeed, when pho­tograph­ing con­certs, you must be aware of your sur­round­ings and adjust your cam­era set­tings to suit a par­tic­u­lar shot or angle. The man­u­al mode will allow you to pre­set your cam­era para­me­ters and mod­i­fy them as the con­cert pro­gress­es and the scenery and light­ing effects change…

    5. Choose a fast shutter speed

    Both the focal length and the artist’s move­ment affect the shut­ter speed. To fix the singer’s or musi­cian’s fig­ure while they are mov­ing, a shut­ter speed of 1/250 to 1/125s is nec­es­sary. Of course, this rule no longer applies if you delib­er­ate­ly empha­sise the artist’s move­ments using a slow shut­ter speed.

    Remem­ber to change the shut­ter speed depend­ing on the light­ing and the per­form­ers on stage. To get images of the crowd, you can also change these set­tings. You can opt for slow­er shut­ter speeds of 1/250s or less to cre­ate a more dynam­ic motion effect.

    6. Avoid using a camera with a flash

    Although flash often com­pen­sates for the lack of light in the room, it is gen­er­al­ly not advis­able to use it for your pho­tos.

    The qual­i­ty pro­vid­ed by the flash is usu­al­ly not good, and its use is often very dis­turb­ing to the peo­ple next to you.

    Instead of using flash, adjust your cam­era or smart­phone set­tings to adapt to low light con­di­tions and get great pho­tos every time.

    7. Avoid zooming if you use a smartphone

    No mat­ter how good your smart­phone cam­era is, zoom­ing always dimin­ish­es the qual­i­ty of the image.

    Have you ever noticed that an image becomes pro­gres­sive­ly pix­e­lat­ed when enlarged? When you do this when tak­ing pho­tos, some­thing sim­i­lar hap­pens. As a result, images will appear dis­tort­ed.

    Instead, try to get as close as pos­si­ble to the artist and the stage. You must set­tle for more dis­tant pho­tos if you can’t do that.

    Do you want to organ­ise a con­cert? Dis­cov­er Weezevent’s solu­tions for tick­et­ing, access con­trol, cash­less pay­ment and CRM!

    Learn more

    Related articles

    You have now subscribed to our newsletter!