I’ve been shooting with my camera for some time now, and concert photography has been a big part of my portfolio. I guess I could say that it was the platform that really put my name out in the beginning, because other sites would share the photos. I’ve always done all this photography for fun, so I kinda got nervous when Alina asked me to give some tips & tricks on concert photography. I mean, I just shoot. But I couldn’t say no. So here are some of the things that I like to think that I consider when shooting concerts:
Do your research before the show.
I usually use YouTube. Nowadays, people spend most of their time at a live show filming it, just to put it on YouTube in crappy quality. Despite the quality, though, these videos are usually good enough for me to really see how the artists interact on stage. Especially if it’s a video from a tour, you can find out what happens during different songs, so that you can be ready for a stage-dive, a guest act, etc. And of course, you can see which hand they prefer to hold their microphone in, so you know which side you should stand on when shooting your subject. So shout out to everyone who just wants to show everyone else that they were at the concert and not enjoy it! Another good way to do research is to check out Twitter and Instagram. People usually post stuff that happened during concerts there. Sometimes, even the act will announce that he has a guest with him. ALL HAIL THE INTERNET!
Below: Two of my favorite rappers. S/O to the Internet for telling me which songs they did these poses. Forever grateful.
I try to set some goals after doing some research. Which helps me stay focused, because I easily get too amped and just dance in the pit. Haha. It’s nice to make a list of things that you want to get out of concerts picture-wise. This has become very important after I started touring with Karpe Diem. Making sure that I already know what I want to shoot helps me make sure that I can document the event to the max.
Like when we visited Lakselv, all the way up North in Norway, I already told myself that it was important to show how crazy it is with the midnight sun. It’s past midnight in these pictures. Crazy.
Or when we packed one of Norway’s biggest concert halls. And I knew the guitarist was going to end the concert with a solo, or when the bass player was on top of the car on the take-off.
Find a fresh perspective.
What I found out really early when shooting concerts is that there are a LOT of people doing the same thing. We are all in the photo-pit, and basically, we are getting all the same pictures. So I always try to find different angles, or not even close-ups. Sometimes it’s even doper to get a full crowd shot from all the way in the back.
S/O to the crowd and the venue.
On this one, I was more intrigued by the construction over Hova.
It’s all in the details.
It’s always cool to take photos of details and not always the performer. Like when Trippy Turtle bombards the stage with gummibears as a homage to DJ YOLO BEAR. More on Trippy Turtle soon, though…
Try to get on stage to document the concert from the artist’s point-of-view. I’ve found out that the best way to do that is to contact the organizer of the concert or the management. Just shoot them an email and tell them what the deal is. It also helps if you team up with a person that is doing an interview with the artist before the concert. That way, you can ask the act directly if it’s cool. Usually it is, unless they have their own photographer with them.
When you finally get on stage, you do have follow their restrictions and such… Unless you know that you can get a siiiiick picture by crossing them. If you break the rules: Just make sure that you get the picture. Because it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission at these concerts, especially if the picture that comes out of it is on point. Haha!
Like this one, I wasn’t really allowed to be that close to the edge, because of pyrotechics and such, but it was all good after I got the picture.
On-stage is the best though.
I have to post this one of Haim again (from this post). Here they were filming, so the festival said, “Don’t go in front!” But I just had to. It all worked out though.
Shoot people you’re actually excited to shoot.
Thats when it comes out best: when you put some passion into it. Have fun! I’m usually in the pit jumping around and dancing. I swear I piss off so many other photographers. Yea those are some of my “pointers” I guess. The most important one must be to just shoot. Just be ready, and just shoot.
Ready, aim, fire. Can’t plan these random crowd surfs.
And it’s always a plus to have luck on your side.
I have to add that it helps to say that I shoot for The Hundreds, especially when it comes to hip-hop acts. Everyone digs it! So shout out to The Hundreds.