How to take a good photo on concerts

Here is the scene: You are at the hottest rock concert in years. You are so excited to be there, having the time of your life. The music is great, the night is young and you are having fun with your friends. Of course, you want to document this once in a lifetime moment. Unfortunately, that might not be as easy as you had hoped. Taking good photos at a rock concert can be hard; it takes a lot of practice and patience. That exciting scene that has you all caught up in the moment (you know the moving performers and the bright flashing lights) is not exactly a camera’s best friend. That is why you need to be prepared.

So what is the best way to score some awesome concert pictures?

The best lens for concert photographs is a fast one. It is recommended that you have a f/1.4 to f/2.8 flash. This also gives you a better aperture that will make it easier for you to take better photographs in dim lights. A zoom lens is also recommended for “up-close” shots when you are really far in the back. There is some debate about the mode used; some experts say you should use the manual mode while others claim the aperture priority mode gives you the best shots. The aperture priority mode may give you better concert shots because a faster shutter speed is needed. If you do opt for this mode, as opposed to manual, you should boost the ISO. When this is combined with the fast lens aperture, it is easier to capture the motion of a performer or the crowd.

Once again, there are a couple of different sample settings recommended for concert photographs taken in manual mode. One professional photographer I found online likes to use a 50mm f/1.4 lens and a 105mm f/2.8 lens. For this, the aperture is set at f/2.8 and the ISO is set at 800; the shutter speed is 1/80 of a second. While another photographer I found sharing tips liked to use a f/2.8 aperture, a 1600 ISO setting, and a 1/125 second shutter speed. You can use these examples as guides, but you may want to experiment and make any changes.

As stated above, the flashing lights can pose a problem with taking concert pictures. You want to get that perfect light, but it changes so often at a concert. The good news is that the lights usually move to the beat of the music. So, take a minute to do more than just take pictures; enjoy yourself. Start tapping your feet to the beat and soon you will know when to snap your camera. If you have a lower shutter speed, mellow slow songs may be your best option because the lights are less active as are the performers.

As an important reminder, never use your flash at a concert. In fact, you are likely to find a rule advising you not to use the flash. Most performers and venues do not allow it. The constant flash of a camera (especially from thousands of fans) is distracting to the performers and it can ruin the moment.

In short, the above-mentioned tips can help you take good photos at a concert. With that said, do not get discouraged if you do not get professional shots right away. It does take a lot of time, patience and practice. If you are new to photographing concerts, it may be best to start out with smaller concert venues, such as clubs where you can make your way to the front for great shots.