I meet lots of young concert photographers these days.  There are so many photographers at every concert.  More than ever.  Last show I went to, there was 20+ photographers in the pit for the first 3 songs.  I couldn’t believe it.  Very crowded for sure.  Back in my day there was never more than 5 for the first 3 songs.  After the 3 songs they would clean everyone out and I had everything for myself.  Here’s 10 tips for ALL concert photographers…

  1. Move your ass – Don’t sit on your ass and get the same angle or shot that everyone else is getting.  Move you ass and look for space.  You have feet, use them.
  2. Try new lenses – Don’t get stuck using the same lens everyone else is using.  Mix it up.  My favorite lens was a wide lens for concerts.  Loved shooting with my 28mm or 35mm when ever possible.
  3. Be nice always – Be nice to everyone around you and backstage.  The support team will help you if your are nice.
  4. Security is your friend – Same as above, be nice to security.  I can’t tell you how many times a security guard saved my life.  Stage divers, stupid fans and crazy bands!!!  Security is your friend so be nice.
  5. Full access is the best – Yes of course it is.  Gain the trust of the artist, bands, managers, publicists, venue managers and everyone involved.  When you can go anywhere, that’s when you get the shots that nobody else gets.
  6. Change your perspective – This is about moving as well.  When I started shooting I had this mantra run through my head… up, down, left, right.  I repeat it over and over while shooting.  This way you don’t get stuck.
  7. Stop with the tricks – Tricks are for kids.  SO tired of star filters or any trick filters.  UGH!  Ask yourself the question… if the trick is removed, is it a good photo?
  8. Passion is key – NOT your passion, but that helps.  Capturing the artists at their most passionate music moments is what this is all about.  Anticipate the performance as best as you can.  Knowing the music helps.  Just capture the passion!
  9. Best artist make best photos – This goes for everything… The best artist make the best subjects.  I always say I would rather shoot crazy than boring.  Crazy is fun and makes the best photos.
  10. Grain is fun – I’m an old school film guy so grain was in everything we shoot when it came to live photos cuz we had to push the ISO so much to capture anything.  From that came grain!  Love it!  Trying adding some in post production and see what you think.

I hope this helps.  Just do the work and be nice doing it.