concert Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

A Beginner’s Guide to Concert Photography: Gear, Camera Setting | 9 Pro-Tips

Are you a concert goer who wants to take better pictures of the show? Or maybe you're a beginner photographer who is looking for an interesting photography project? If so, concert photography might be right up your alley.

This article will discuss the basics of concert photography: what gear you need, how to set your camera up, and some pro tips for capturing great shots at a concert.

Gear for Concert Photography

Camera

There are two main types of DSLR cameras used by concert photographers: crop sensor and full-frame. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Crop sensor cameras are less expensive and have a smaller form factor, making them easier to carry around. They also have a narrower field of view, which can be an advantage when shooting in tight spaces. However, they have less resolution than full-frame cameras and can struggle in low light conditions. Some examples of crop sensor cameras you can use are Canon 80D and Nikon D500.

concert photo of the stage

Photo by Michael Mongin on Unsplash

Full-frame cameras are larger and more expensive but offer greater resolution and better low-light performance. They also have a wider field of view, which can be helpful when shooting on a stage or in an arena. Ultimately, the best camera for concert photography is the one that best suits the needs of the photographer. Good examples of full frame cameras you can use for concert photography include Nikon D750 and Canon EOS 6D.

Lens

When it comes to concert photography, an aperture is key. Prime lenses allow for a wider aperture, which means more light can reach the sensor. This is important when shooting in dimly lit venues. In addition, prime lenses tend to have shorter focal lengths, making capturing close-up shots of the performer easier. Prime lenses are generally lighter and smaller, making them easier to carry around and less obtrusive during a concert. 

Of course, prime lenses aren't the only option. You can also use zoom lenses for concert photography, but they typically have a narrower aperture. This can make it more difficult to get the low-light shots often desired in this type of photography. A 50mm f/1.8 or 35mm f/1.4 prime lens is often a good choice for general concert photography. Ultimately, the best lens for concert photography is the one that allows you to get the shots you want. But a prime lens is a good place to start if you're looking for a versatile lens that can perform well in various lighting conditions.

concert photo from the audience's view

Photo by Alex wong on Unsplash

Camera Setting for Concert Photography

ISO

Your camera's ISO controls the sensor's sensitivity to light, and the higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is. This is important because concerts are usually quite dark, so you'll need to use a high ISO to get a decent exposure.

You need to increase your ISO to higher settings in low-light situations, such as when photographing concerts, so that the camera sensor would react to the light more quickly. During the concert, start with an ISO of 1600. If that doesn't work and the pictures are blurry, you can raise the ISO to the next setting until the picture looks good.

Shutter Speed

Your camera's shutter speed controls how long the sensor is exposed to light, and the longer the shutter speed, the more light the sensor collects. For concert photography, you'll want to use a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second or faster. This will freeze the action and prevent any blur.

Aperture

The largest opening will result from setting your aperture to the lowest f-number that your lens permits. In this way, your sensor receives the lightest possible. Low light concert photography works best with apertures of f1.4 or f2.8.

Manual Mode

Because of the abrupt changes in lighting that occur during a concert, concert photography is very difficult. For the photographer, who must constantly adjust to changing lighting conditions, what may be a fantastic lighting spectacle for the audience may not be an easy experience.

concert photo of the singer

Photo by Aaron James on Unsplash

It will be harder for the photographer to hold up with changing the camera settings to get a good shot the bigger the spectacle. It is great to shoot in manual mode if you want more control over your exposure. Instead of letting the camera take care of the task in low light, manual mode gives you complete control over the light surrounding you.

9 Tips to Electrify Your Concert Photography

1. Don't Use Flash

Anyone who has been to a concert knows that the lighting can be quite dim. This can make it difficult to take clear pictures, but using a flash can worsen the situation. The light from the flash can be overwhelming, and it can also reflect off surfaces and create a glare. Instead of using a flash, try a higher ISO setting on your camera. This will help to capture more light, allowing you to take clear photos even in low-light conditions. You could focus on the stage lights. These can provide natural lighting for your photos and add atmosphere and drama.

2. Shoot RAW

When you are taking photos, always shoot in RAW format. This will give you the most flexibility when it comes to editing your photos later on. JPEG files are compressed, meaning they lose some of the detail and quality of the image. When you are shooting concert photos, you want to be able to capture as much detail as possible. RAW files may be larger, but they are worth the extra space.

3. Use Fast Lens

concert photo of the band on the stage

Photo by Richard Sagredo on Unsplash

A fast lens has a large aperture, which lets in more light. This is important because concert venues are often dimly lit, and you'll need all the light you can get. A fast lens will also allow you to capture photos with a shallow depth of field. This means that the background will be blurred, and the focus will be on the subject. This can create a dramatic effect and is perfect for concert photography.

4. Get Close to the Action

One of the best ways to get great concert photos is to get close to the action. This means getting as close to the stage as possible. Often, the best shots are taken from the front row or even on the stage itself. If you can't get close to the action, don't worry plenty of great shots can be had from a distance. Make sure you zoom in so your photos are clear and sharp.

5. Focus on the Composition

The focus of your concert photography should be on the composition. This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you're in the moment, it can be easy to get caught up in the emotion of the performance and lose sight of what you're trying to capture. The key is to find a balance between capturing the concert's energy and ensuring that your photos are well-composed.

For example, look for interesting ways to frame the stage, using lighting and crowd interactions to add depth and dimension to your photos. And don't be afraid to zoom in or crop tightly on individual performers – sometimes, less is more. By keeping the composition in mind, you'll be able to capture stunning concert photos that will electrify your audience.

6. Capture the Atmosphere

concert photo of the performing singer

Photo by Hossein Hadi on Unsplash

Capturing the atmosphere of a concert can be challenging, but it's also essential for giving your photos an electrifying edge. To capture the feeling of a show, you need to focus on more than just the performers on stage. In addition to getting great shots of the band, look for opportunities to capture the crowd's energy. Look for expressions of joy, excitement, and anticipation. Pay attention to the lighting and use it to create dramatic effects.

7. Move Around

When photographing a concert, it's important to move around and get various shots. You'll want to capture the crowd's energy, the performers' excitement, and the event's overall atmosphere. To start, try spending some time at the front of the stage, near the soundboard. This will give you a good view of the entire performance, and you'll be able to capture close-ups of the musicians as well.

As the concert progresses, wander around and experiment with different angles and perspectives. The more shots you have to choose from, the better your chances of getting that perfect photo.

8. Do Spot Metering

When taking concert photos, you will want to do spot metering. This means you will focus on a specific frame area and take a light reading from that area. This is important because concert venues can be very dark, and you don’t want to underexpose your photos. By taking a light reading from the stage, you can be sure that your photos will be well-lit.

concert photo of the performing band

Photo by Richard Sagredo on Unsplash

9. Make Use of Post-processing

Last but not least, don't forget to make use of post-processing. This is where you can bring your concert photos to life. With some basic editing, you can turn a good photo into an amazing one. So don't be afraid to experiment and play around with different effects. With a little practice, you'll be able to create concert photos that are truly one of a kind.

Conclusion

Concert photography is a unique and challenging form of photography. But with the right gear and camera settings, you can capture amazing shots of your favorite musicians in action. We hope this guide has helped you start your concert photography journey.

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