Without a doubt, concert photography is perhaps one of the most challenging forms of photography in the sense that you do not have any control over any of the parameters involved. Just imagine taking photos in a situation where you cannot manipulate the direction and intensity of the lighting or direct your subject to pose in a certain manner and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
On top of all these, you also wouldn’t have any control over your surroundings. The people who paid good money just to see that particular event couldn’t care less if they are blocking your view. However, while all these factors can make concert photography quite a challenge, there are several ways by which you can get amazing shots every time you press your shutter release button. How do you do this? Here are some tips that can help you overcome all the obstacles that stand in your way:
Use the right equipment for the job. To make your task a lot easier, you need to have the right equipment. A camera that allows you to take good quality images at high ISO settings and high shutter speeds would be very much preferable. A word of advice – don’t hesitate in using a higher ISO setting even if it means that the resulting image will have a lot of noise. Remember, it is easier to edit a noisy image than a blurred one.
Use the proper exposure. With several sets of lighting being used all throughout the show, just how do you choose the proper exposure to use? Well, this is where your flexibility comes in. Just take note of the different parameters for each of the lighting used and you’ll be fine. You should also keep your histogram in check, monitor any overexposed points, and shoot in RAW.
Use your flash only when extremely necessary. As a general rule, you shouldn’t use your flash if you are far from the stage. Using it will not light the band or the singer. At the very best, it will only capture an image of a dark stage so why bother using it?
Now, if you are shooting close to the stage, you can definitely use your flash but only after you have set your camera to the right exposure. This way, you will capture both the subject and the ambient atmosphere the way you want it. You can also consider bouncing your flash off a white wall or ceiling or a white card or you can try using a diffuser to soften your flash. Does these sound good enough for you? Well, it should be! I tell you, these tricks work wonders!
Wait for the right light. If you are too far away from the stage and cannot use your flash to illuminate your subject, the best thing for you to do is to wait until the spotlight lights the artist.
Shoot silhouettes. What if you don’t have the right camera to do the job? Should you just forget about shooting concerts? Well, definitely not! Even if you don’t have anything but an old, compact camera, you can still shoot breathtaking concert images – by capturing amazing silhouettes! You can do this by shooting when the only lights used are behind your subjects. Just make sure that you manually set your camera to underexpose your subjects and use your manual focus to capture your images the way you want them to be.
Give special attention to your composition. It is not enough that your photos are technically perfect. It should also be able to tell its own story and have an interesting composition to boot.
Concert photography can be quite challenging but once you know the secrets on how to do it right, the rewards will definitely be worth it!
Keep at it,