Concert photography, although fun and rewarding, definitely has it’s challenges while shooting. From dealing with moving subjects, dark rooms, and constant changing lighting conditions, you have to stay on your feet to get the perfect shot. Here are five tips to get the shot!
1. Invest in a fast lens
One of the first things you should do as a concert photographer is invest in some fast glass. What makes a lens fast? A fast lens is a lens with a wide maximum aperture (f/1.4 for example). The aperture on these lenses opens wider which allows more light to hit your sensor. The downside is that most fast glass tends to be relatively expensive, especially if you’re just starting out. But don’t worry! Luckily both Canon and Nikon have affordable entry-level 50mm f/1.8 lenses. They’re inexpensive and a great entry into the world of fast lenses.
2. Learn how to use Manual mode on your camera
What might be an amazing light spectacle that wows the crowds and draws them into the performance can be a nightmare for photographers. To have better control of your exposure, it’s always better to shoot in manual mode. In manual mode, you control every aspect of how much light you’re letting into your camera, as opposed to allowing the camera to figure it out and do the work for you. You’re going to be dealing with constant sudden changes in light that goes from super bright to really dim. This usually throws the camera off and causes it to capture shots that are either too bright or too dark to be used. Keeping your camera in manual mode lets you have full control.
3. Keep your aperture wide open
What is aperture? The aperture is essentially how much light your lens will allow into your camera. The wider the aperture, or the f-stop, the more light hits your sensor allowing for a higher shutter speed. Lenses with apertures of f/1.4,f/1.8, and f/2.8 are ideal for low lighting conditions.
ISO is how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light. The lower the ISO, the less sensitive it becomes. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it becomes to light. When you’re shooting in low-light conditions such as concerts it makes sense to bump up your ISO. I usually start off at 1600 but change it as needed throughout the event. But one thing to be careful of is pushing your ISO too high. The higher you set your camera’s ISO to the more noise or grain will be prevalent in your photographs. Cameras will full-frame sensors(Canon 5D IV or Nikon D850) usually handle noise/grain at higher ISO’s better than crop frame cameras.
5. Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the length of time your camera shutter is open and your sensor is exposed to light. For most concerts, I usually try and keep the shutter speed at 1/250 or higher since a lot of the bands I photograph are pretty active on stage. Anything lower will usually result in motion blur and won’t be able to freeze motion. However, if you’re shooting a band that doesn’t move around too much, you might be able to get away with a shutter speed lower than 1/250. The more active the band or musician you’re photographing is, the higher you want your shutter speed to be.
Hopefully you gathered some useful information from this article. Now put what you’ve learned to use and go out there and shoot! 🙂