Photography Tips

Tips for Photographing Concerts and Live Events

Today we have another guest blogger, for you; Hollie Turner. More info on her below. She is giving you some tips for photographing concerts and live events, just in time for the festival season!

1. Positioning is key

Make sure that you are somewhere in the venue that has ample opportunity for photos and video, if that is what you want. It is not going to look professional if you are miles away from your subject at the back of an arena, or at the back of your kids first show shooting on a smart phone. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Zoom is a godsend

DSLR’s are not allowed into most venues unless you have a photography/media pass.

So, if you want professional looking video and photos, I highly recommend you to get a top range digital camera with excellent zoom because it will serve you well for years! Always do your research before buying and read reviews of other users who have specifically taken the camera to live music events. Most venues, are dark and smoky and lighting sets are usually full of colours, if you are a beginner to photography try using the scenes and modes already on the camera and use night scenery modes to capture great images in low light settings.

3. Practice on the opening act

Use the opening act/supporting artist who is beginning the show, as a practice run! I always do this. Most support acts play a half an hour set before the main artist comes on, so use this time to tweak and adjust your camera settings ready for the main artist that you want to photograph/film well. This is a good idea, especially in the case of your children’s acting debut. Iif you haven’t looked or practised beforehand, you will be sorely disappointed if you miss a great shot because the lighting or flash settings on your camera were incorrect.

4. It’s in the detail

Wide shots of the stage, kids, band or dancers are always nice establishing photographs and video. But, I find my personal favourites of my own work are close ups of the performaners – the details.

I like to see the passion on their face as they sing, or the expressions of a child as they are acting.

I’ve photographed and filmed the likes of P!nk, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, who as great pop artists have lots of colourful outfits and facial expressions to capture close ups of.

Acoustic sets are always my favourite part of any show to photograph – as most artists run around the stage and move throughout the show which can make photographing them difficult. However during the acoustic sets, this is when an artist is usually most still, and lighting is most natural.

If you are a beginner and photographing/filming your kids in an important show or event where there is lots of movement – use a setting on your camera that is a sports mode. Sports modes increase the shutter speed in order to slow and ‘freeze’ the action in the frame for you.

5. Put down the camera and enjoy the show

I am guilty as much as everybody else is these days, in the technological world we now live within, of being so engrossed in taking pictures or filming that we forget to watch the show with our eyes instead of a screen.

Depending on the artist: I usually know which songs I want to photograph/film during the set, and limit myself to only ever filming and photographing during the first verse and chorus of the song. I then put my camera away, and watch the rest.

I’m a great believer that, as a photographer and videographer, you most likely will not be creating work on/of something that you are not passionate about. I love music, especially live music, so any artist will understand that you have to remember to enjoy the experience as well.

You have to remember to be present.

This is so important for instances like your kids nativity play, or talent show – I promise that your eyes create memories far longer lasting to your mind than the photos you will take.

Holly is currently studying for her degree in Digital Media Practice at The Brit School, in London. She uses two cameras. A Canon DSLR, for filming client based work with and a Panasonic digital, for when I go to gigs.

She films. she edits, she photographs and she writes. Music is what inspires her the most in life. ‘Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring us together, Sometimes it just takes music…’ – P!nk

You can find her on: