I receive a lot of inquiries regarding how to get started as a concert photographer, or taking your photography “to the next level.” My advice is very simple. Just do it.
If you want to be a concert photographer, what are you waiting for? Just go out and shoot. Most small venues have no restrictions on shooting, and have no photo pit. You and I are on equal footing in this regard. Bring your camera and get to the venue early. Be courteous and follow my advice on concert photography etiquette and give it a go.
Just Shoot. A Lot.
The more you shoot, the better you will get. As in most things in life, there is no substitute for practice. It’s not about the gear, it’s not about the photo pass. It’s about getting experience with shooting live music. Small dark venues are the most challenging place to shoot. If you can get a decent shot shooting from the crowd in a dark club, you will have no problem getting a good shot while shooting from a pit at a larger venue.
Don’t Be Afraid to Crank Up the ISO
It’s better to have a grainy high noise shot than no shot at all. Don’t be afraid to push your camera to it’s limits. Music venues are dark, and a high ISO setting can help you to capture those really dark scenes.
Don’t Forget Your Friends
A great way to start is by photographing smaller bands you may know, or that might be opening for larger acts at your local nightclub. Show up at rehearsals, offer to photograph a soundcheck. Starting with a smaller band you know can really help you to get some practice. Don’t know any bands? Start with small local bands that you love. Chances are, both you and the band can benefit.
Take All The Advice You Can Get
When it comes to getting started in concert photography, there are many great resources online. One of my favorites is Todd Owyoung’s ishootshows.com. He’s got several good articles on getting started in concert photography, as does 500px, and several other concert photographers.
Well put. After reading, researching, and overcoming fears, last night I just said “screw it” and went out and shot. Had fun doing it too!