Digital Photography Tips for Concerts and Events

If there were one place in which storytelling digital photography would be the most important, it would be in photographing concerts, events and various local venues.

There are so many opportunities at these types of situations and you only need to know how to take the right pictures. Do not get frustrated though when your images are not on the same level as those of the most well known event photographers. These types of images take time and skill as well as finding yourself at the right place in the right time. There are some great tips for photographing the events that you can use though.

Choosing the Most Photographic Events

The first step to getting amazing event photography will be to choose the right venue. You do not have to get that one moment in time to meet a headlining rocker or blues guitarist to get the best images. There are always opportunities for the best digital photography, and often, they are not where you would think to look. Here are some things to think about in order to find just the right event for your next photography session.

Look for small venues and local festivals. Many people think that the best event digital photography will be at big name, world renowned events. This is not necessarily the case. You will find that you can definitely get some of the most culturally interesting images at the small venues.

Jazz Under the Stars
Jazz Under the Stars Greg Zehe

Nostalgia tours are your best friend. There are many different bands and singers who no longer take part in large events. You will find these types of performers in small venues and nostalgia tours. Not only will you get a chance at more event photography, but you will get a chance for better photography since it will be easier for you to get closer to the performers.

Consider the bands and performers that would currently fall under the “no name” category. You will have the chance for some truly unique images and you may even be able to get backstage for photography and you never know when one of those no names will end up being the next big thing.

Contact charity events coordinators. There can be several advantages to choosing to take digital photography of events for charities. You will be able to get the best angles and close up images. You will also be getting your name out there as an event photographer.

Choosing the Right Digital Photography Tools for Events

When you plan on taking photography at a concert or other type event, you will need to make sure you have just the right equipment. Of course, since you will want to be able to move around easily, you will want to pack light. At the same time, you do not want to find yourself without the right equipment. Here is a checklist to follow so that you can make sure you have just the right equipment that you need.

70-200mm-f28_Lens

Since there will be a great deal of action at these types of events, it is absolutely essential that you choose a fast lens. You need a lens with plenty of zoom, with quick results and with image stabilization for the best digital photography. One good option would be a lens that includes a 70-200 mm zoom at f/2.8. You need to have plenty of room with the f/stop and you need to have enough image stabilization to avoid camera shake.

You will need some sort of image stabilization. Of course, that means you should choose a camera with IS built on or with IS in the lens. However, if you feel that you need further stabilization, then consider using a monopod. A tripod can be too bulky, but a monopod will be light, easy to carry and very useful at events.

A camera backpack is definitely something you will want to use. A standard camera bag could easily get lost when you must set it down to take pictures. A backpack will make moving around easy without danger of losing anything.

Honestly, when it comes to digital photography at concerts and events, you do not necessarily need any other equipment besides a good camera, a fast lens and a way to stabilize the image. Any other tools will be extraneous and will just add extra weight that you would have to carry around.

A Few Great Event Photography Techniques

When it comes to digital photography at events, it is truly all about the technique. A well composed image of a performer can be completely ruined if there are too many distracting elements in the background. A very interesting image of a performer on stage can be ruined if you have to take it from too far away. That means, you need to consider the right techniques for the best event and concert photography. Here are some techniques that will certainly help you.

Blurring the background is almost always a must. Generally, at these types of events, there will be things and objects in the background that can be very distracting. Try photographing the subject with a large aperture to keep the subject in focus but the background blurred.

Concert Photography
AFI – A Fire Inside Björn Jansen

Make use of burst or continuous shooting. Since there will be a great deal of action, you will find that snapping numerous images gives you the best chance of getting the perfect picture.

The telephoto lens is your friend. Telephoto lenses are able to compress images so that you can get good up-close shots even from a distance. It is always a good idea to take along a moderate telephoto lens when you will be shooting at events and concerts just in case you are not able to get very close to the action.

Concerts, events and other venues offer numerous opportunities for digital photography. For your best chances, be sure to consider all types of events and not just headliner shows. The right equipment and the right photography techniques will help ensure that you are able to get the perfect images every time.

Top feature image by Jeremy Lusk

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/onkel_wart/ Thomas Lieser

    Ha — just last night I shot a concert — should have read it before ;-)

  • http://www.lagreenscreens.com/ Chelsea Smith

    I love photography. I just bought my first camera and I’m still learning about the whole photography stuff. I want to capture precious moments and share them to the world.

  • http://None Bill Carlson

    One thing is missing and that is learning to be able to see all groups working as a group instead of an individual. I try and make sure every person in a group looking at me or another member of the group.

  • http://sistasuga25.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/liv-warfield-and-the-npg-hornz/ Sista Suga

    Concert photography is tops on my favorites list of events to shoot! After reading this article, I know I’m on the right track. All I need now is to replace my 70-200 5.6 with the 70-200 2.8.

    Thanks for these tips, looking forward to my next concert with Rubben Studdard and Lalah Hathaway!

  • http://www.jaygilbert.net Jay Gilbert

    All due respect, this piece does very little to prepare an inexperienced photographer for the challenges of low light image capture.
    A few words of advice from a seasoned pro:
    1. GET CLOSE!
    2. Set your ISO at 1,000
    3. Shoot in RAW
    4. Shoot wide open at 2.8 or better
    5. Keep your shutter speed at lens focal length (200mm lens = 200th of a second)
    6. Get into a rhythm: artist jumps (shoot)… artist screams (shoot)… artist shows expression (shoot)…
    7. Have two cameras with you if possible; one with wide angle and one with telephoto (artist comes towards you = wide angle… artist backs off; telephoto)

    I usually keep my finger on the shutter speed dial… if lights go blue or red, I shoot slower (already wide open)… if lights go white or yellow, I click up to faster shutter speed.

    trial and error… good luck!

    Jay Gilbert

  • http://www.martinez-photography.com Ray Martinez Photography

    Good advice, will definitely check out the small venues 1st.

  • Bill Jones

    @Jay Gilbert Thanks for the great advice!

  • Mark D.

    Jay Gilbert…I agree, thanks for the great tips!!!

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