1.) Don’t use a flash. Especially mere inches from a performer’s face. It’s completely distracting and blinding for the performer and everyone around you.
2.) Don’t just hold your camera up above your head and randomly shoot. It blocks everyone’s view in back of you and ruins shots for other photographers trying to shoot the show.
3.) When there’s no pit, don’t just camp out in the front row shooting after the first three songs. If you must stay, stow your camera away and actively participate like the rest of the fans up front. Dance, clap, whoot , cheer. When the front is full of nerdly photogs instead of excited uberfans, it completely changes the vibe, especially at a small club. If you’re going to continue to shoot the rest of the show (like I often do) move to the back or the side where you’re not interrupting the interaction between the performer and the fans.
Dave Wakeling of the English Beat called me out on point number three last week and he was completely right. I was still shooting at song number 4, and he looked me straight in the eye and said, put that camera down and start dancing! I was happy to oblige.
…and yes, I did blur out his face to protect the guilty.