Attending a concert is an amazing experience, but photographing it is even better! Whether you’re photographing your favorite band or just trying to capture the energy of a live show, concert photography is an exciting way to express yourself artistically. In this guide we’ll be discussing the basics of how to become a concert photographer. So, let’s get started!
1. Getting Started in Concert Photography
First, let’s answer some basic questions about photographing concerts.
Who Should Get into Concert Photography?
Concert photography is ideal for creative types who want to capture the energy of a live performance in photos. It’s also a great way to get experience photographing in challenging conditions and expand your portfolio. Whether you’re photographing concerts for fun or as a professional, if you love music and photography, you’ll love photographing concerts.
Related: Famous Concert Photographers in Music History
How to Get Started in Concert Photography?
The best way to get started in concert photography is to start small. Find local concerts that you can attend and practice photographing them. You will quickly learn the basics of photographing a concert and be able to develop your skills as you go along. Then, once you feel comfortable photographing a live show, you can start to look for bigger and better opportunities.
How to Get a Concert Photography Pass?
Contacting the venue or artist is the best way to get a concert photography pass. Most venues and artists offer passes for concert photographers, especially if you are photographing a big show. You can contact them directly to inquire about photographing the show and they will usually provide you with a pass if they approve your request. If you are photographing a smaller show, you may be able to get a access by contacting the venue in advance.
Related: Can You Bring a Camera to a Concert? (And Best Practices)
2. Concert Photography Equipment
Next, let’s talk about the gear you’ll need to photograph concerts.
What Equipment Do You Need for Concert Photography?
A camera is the most important piece of equipment for concert photography. You will want to invest in a good quality digital camera that can take high-quality photos in low light. A wide-angle lens is also essential for photographing concerts, as it will allow you to capture the entire stage and crowd. Additionally, a tripod and extra batteries can also be useful for photographing concerts.
Here’s a list of equipment we recommend for concert photography:
- Digital Camera: A digital camera with a good quality sensor and low light capabilities is essential for capturing the atmosphere of a concert.
- Wide-Angle Lens: A wide-angle lens is great for photographing large crowds or for photographing bands from the back of the room.
- Telephoto Lens: A telephoto lens is great for photographing performers from a distance, as well as capturing close-up shots of musicians.
- Tripod: A tripod is essential for getting steady shots at a concert. It can also be used to take panoramic shots of the crowd or stage.
- Accessories: Other accessories like memory cards, batteries, and a camera bag are also important to have when photographing concerts.
What Is the Best Camera for Concert Photography?
The best camera for concert photography will depend on your budget and the type of photos you want to take. Generally, DSLRs or mirrorless cameras are ideal for photographing concerts, as they offer the best performance in low light and provide the flexibility to change lenses.
Related: Best Cameras for Concert Photography in 2023: A Buyer’s Guide
What Lens Should a Concert Photographer Use?
Choosing the right lens for concert photography will depend on what type of photos you want to take and the size of the venue. Generally speaking, wide-angle lenses are the most versatile and are great for photographing large crowds or capturing a band on stage. Telephoto lenses are great for photographing performers from a distance, or for capturing close-up shots.
We recommend a 50mm to 200mm range for most concert photography situations. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your lens is fast enough to capture sharp images in low light. Look for lenses with an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/4.0. A fast lens will help you capture sharp images at faster shutter speeds, even in low light conditions.
3. Photographing a Concert
Now, let’s talk about getting up close to the action and photographing a concert.
How to do you Take Great Concert Photos?
Capturing great concert photos is a combination of preparation and experimentation. Here are a few tips to help you capture the best photos at a concert:
- Get There Early: One of the best ways to get great concert photos is to arrive early. This will give you time to scout out the best locations for photographing the stage and crowd, and get your camera set up.
- Experiment with Angles: Concert photography is all about experimenting with angles to capture the energy of a show. Try photographing from different angles, and don’t be afraid to get creative!
- Capture the Atmosphere: The atmosphere of a concert is just as important to capture as the performers themselves. Look for interesting shots of the crowd and the stage, as well as musicians interacting with each other.
- Don’t Use Flash: Flash photography is not allowed in some venues, and it can be distracting to the performers. Instead, use your camera’s natural light capabilities and a fast lens to get good quality images.
Related: 12 Concert Photography Tips to Capture the Perfect Shot
What Are the Best Camera Settings for Concert Photography?
In order to get the best photos, it’s important to understand how to adjust your camera settings for concert photography.
Shutter Speeds: It’s important to use a fast shutter speed (1/200 or faster) in order to freeze the action of performers on stage. This will also help you capture sharp, clear images in low light.
Aperture: A wide aperture (f/2-4) is ideal for photographing concerts as it will allow more light into the camera. This will help you capture sharp images in low light conditions.
ISO: The ISO setting should between 1600 and 3200, depending on the lighting in the venue. A higher ISO will allow you to capture more light, but can also introduce noise into your images.
White Balance: The white balance should be set to auto, which will help ensure accurate tones and colors in your images.
The main challenges in photographing concerts are low light and fast-moving action. To get the best results, practice adjusting your camera settings in various lighting conditions until you can consistently get sharp, clear images.
5. Editing Your Concert Photos
Once you’ve captured your photos, you’ll want to make sure they look as good as possible. This is where editing comes in. Editing tools like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop can help you adjust the color, contrast, and brightness of your photos in order to make them really pop.
What the Difference Between Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop?
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are two of the most popular photo editing applications in the industry. Both are powerful tools for editing photos, but each has its own unique purpose.
Adobe Lightroom: Lightroom is designed specifically for photographers and the needs of a professional workflow. With Lightroom, you can quickly and efficiently manage the hundreds of photos taken at each concert. You can also make quick adjustments to your photos, such as exposure and white balance, with the helpful presets and sliders.
Adobe Photoshop: Photoshop is a powerful graphics editor that allows you to create stunning visuals. It also has the ability to manipulate and enhance images, edit photographs, and even create artwork from scratch. This software is ideal for more creative projects, such as graphic design but can also be used to enhance concert photos.
We suggest starting with Adobe Lightroom to edit all of your concert photos, then using Photoshop for any more creative projects. With these editing tools, you’ll be able to put the finishing touches on your concert photography and make them look their best.
What Are Some Concert Photography Editing Tips?
When it comes to editing concert photos, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every shot is unique and requires its own set of adjustments. To help you get the most out of your concert photos, here are a few tips:
- Adjust the contrast, saturation, shadows, and highlights to make your photos look more vibrant.
- Use the crop tool to create interesting compositions and highlight the best parts of your photos.
- Use selective editing to make certain parts of the photo stand out and draw attention.
- Experiment with different effects and filters to give your photos a unique look.
Pro Tip: If you’re using Adobe Lightroom, you can save time by using presets instead of manually adjusting the settings. Lightroom presets are a set of pre-made edits that you can apply to an image with just one click. This will save you time when editing a large number of photos.
6. Concert Photography Portfolio
After you’ve edited your photos, it’s time to showcase them in a portfolio. This will show off your skills as a concert photographer and help you attract new opportunities.
How to Create a Concert Photography Portfolio?
There are a few ways to create a portfolio for your concert photos. Some of the most popular methods are:
Online Portfolio Website: Building a website portfolio is a great way to showcase your work and reach potential clients. You can easily create a website using portfolio-building platforms like SmugMug or Zenfolio.
Social Media: You can also create a portfolio by posting your concert photos on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. This is a great way to get noticed by potential clients and grow your network of contacts.
Printed Portfolio: If you’d like, you can also invest in a printed portfolio. Having physical copies of your photos is a great way to show off your work and impress potential clients.
How Do I Setup a Website for My Concert Photography Portfolio?
If you want to create an online portfolio for your concert photos, there are several website-building platforms you can use. Some of the most popular platforms are Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress. There are also platforms, such as SmugMug and Zenfolio, that are specifically designed for photographers.
You’ll also need to register a domain name, and depending on which platform you use, you may need to purchase hosting as well. We have a guide on how to setup a photography website here which can help you get started.
Site: 10 Reasons Why SmugMug is Perfect for Photographers
7. Making Money with Concert Photography
Once you’ve perfected your concert photography skills, you may be wondering how to start making money with it. Let’s take a look at how you can monetize your talent.
How Much Money Do Concert Photographers Make?
The amount of money a concert photographer can make depends on several factors, such as the type of photography (stock photography, event photography, etc.), the types of gigs you take on, and the amount of experience you have. Generally speaking, a freelance concert photographer can make anywhere from $50 to $1,000+ per event depending on the size and scope of the project. Selling prints and stock photos also offers potential income opportunities.
How to Get Paid Concert Photography Gigs?
The best way to find concert photography gigs is to network with local bands, promoters, venues, and other photographers in your area. You can also promote yourself online by showcasing your concert photos on social media and your own website. Additionally, many concert promoters use websites such as GigSalad and Thumbtack to hire freelance photographers.
How to Get a Full-Time Job as a Concert Photographer?
If you are interested in becoming a full-time concert photographer, the best way is to build a strong portfolio and network with professionals in the industry. Typically, most companies don’t hire full-time concert photographers, but instead hire freelance photographers for specific gigs.
Related: Can Photography Be a Career? (And What to Know)
How to Get a Concert Photography Internship?
If you want to gain some experience in the concert photography field, you can look into internships with music venues or promoters. These internships are a great ways to get hands-on experience in the industry and build your portfolio. Most internships are unpaid, but they can provide you with valuable knowledge, contacts, and experience. You can also reach out directly to other photographers who might be willing to take you on as an intern.
8. Advancing Your Photography Skills
Finally, if you want advance your concert photography skills, you can take classes or workshops, read books, and practice as much as you can. Many local colleges and universities offer photography courses that cover a wide range of topics. Additionally, there are several online photography courses that you can take to learn more about photographing concerts. Reading books on concert photography and practicing regularly will also help you sharpen your skills.
Where Can I Find Online Concert Photography Classes?
There are many online photography courses that can help you become a better concert photographer. CreativeLive, Skillshare and Udemy are some of the most popular course platforms that offer courses on concert photography. MasterClass also has a photography course with Annie Leibovitz, who was Rolling Stone magazine’s chief photographer for many years.
Related: 5 Best Concert Photography Classes for Beginners
What Are Some Books on Concert Photography?
If you are interested in learning more about concert photography, there are many books available on the subject. Here are a few of our favorites:
- All Access: Your Backstage Pass to Concert Photography by Alan Hess
- Concert and Live Music Photography: Pro Tips from the Pit by J. Dennis Thomas
- The Art of Photography: A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression by Bruce Barnbaum
With the right skills and a bit of practice, you can start photographing concerts in no time. Take advantage of the resources out there and you can become a successful concert photographer.
We hope this guide has helped you understand what it takes to become a concert photographer. Remember, photographing concerts is a fun and rewarding activity, but it requires commitment and dedication to become successful. With the right attitude and a willingness to learn, you can become a great concert photographer. Good luck!