5 Ways To Improve Your Concert Photography Skills

By EyeEm Team - 5 min read

We caught up with concert photographer Guy Prives to get some tips on how to get the best shots at live events or concerts.

You are at your dream show and it’s better than you ever imagined. Naturally, you want to capture this moment. But so often, when we shakily raise our camera phones above our heads, the results are less than great. We caught up with concert photographer Guy Privesto get some tips on how to get the best shots at live events or concerts.

The main problem with concert photography is uncertainty.

As a concert photographer, you lack even the most fundamental control of your subjects. The light (or lack of light) fluctuates. People move. Your shooting location varies, and it isn’t always up to you. Everything can change, and most of the time, everything moves really fast. The best moments to catch (singer jumping, throwing a guitar, a special moment of interaction with another band member) are usually unexpected and fleeting.

How can you counter this, and capture the great moments? There’s a saying: The best camera out there is the one you have with you. My iPhone is always with me, unlike my other cameras, and I find myself capturing a lot of moments with it. Here are my top tips for really making the most of these shots.

1. Look at the light and understand it. And avoid using the flash.

Think of the light as a friend, not as an enemy. When I started shooting concerts, I found myself getting frustrated with the lack of lights. Now, the person I most appreciate at a show and owe a lot of frames to is the light technician. For this reason, I’d recommend you don’t use the flash. Best case scenario? It will light the back of the head of the person in front of you, or just show you the smoke from the band.

Lack of light can give you an opportunity for an interesting silhouette, or an element of drama, and you can use the lights to frame the singer OR as part of the composition. The stage lights are also really important.

2. Snap through the blur.
When there is not enough light, your smartphone makes the exposure longer, which creates slightly blurry pictures. To counter this, I take several photos in a row. The hope is one will be sharp, and then this is the one you can use.

3. Don’t use the zoom.
Do not use the zoom: Unlike with your pocket camera, the zoom in your smartphone is digital. Using it will harm the quality of your photo because it functions like a crop and enlarges the image, rather than a true zoom.

4. Don’t be afraid to wait.
Don’t be afraid to wait for the right light for your desired photo. If you want to see the entire band, then wait for the right moment with good lighting and just than make your shot. You can often anticipate when it should be (between songs/at the last song/on specific beats on the song).

5. Take a second to compose.
The briefest of seconds can make a real difference. Remember to take a second to think before the shot, about how you want to compose the photo. Focus on where you want each element in the frame to be, and go from there.

Ordinary things can become extraordinary when captured through the camera’s lens. A concert is anything but ordinary and your point of view is unique, even if it isn’t front row. Try to look for a unique point of view that can make whatever you are shooting more interesting and not in the obvious way that everyone is used to seeing it.

Thanks Guy! Guy Prives is one of Israel’s most inspirational live performance photographers. He also teaches photography at Galitz School of Photography. Check out his websiteor connect with him on Facebook.

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