The art of music photography shouldn’t be underestimated. Taking photos at a music gig isn’t as easy as you may think. There are plenty of factors that can affect a photo, such as lighting, movement and crowd density amongst others. We’ve listed down a few simple tips, trusted by some of the best music event photographers in the business.
Choose your shot wisely
A good photo isn’t rushed, this rule of thumb is also applied in music photography. Instead, you need to stop, wait and let the photo come to you. Many photographers make the mistake of rushing around, forcing a moment and chasing a shot. The chances are that you’ve already lost the shot, so there’s no use chasing it.
You simply have to wait for one that’s developing in front of where you’re standing. By practising this technique, you’re also training your eye which allows you to take fewer, but better shots. It also allows you to enjoy the performance and the atmosphere and after the show, you’ll easily find a good number of quality images that you can share.
Get familiar with your environment
Although you might want to be as close to the band or artist as possible, taking in your surroundings can allow you to build a better composition. The added lighting or architecture can add character to your shot. If you’re watching a band play in a beautiful venue, be sure to take a photo from the back of the room. Besides it being a lot easier since you’ll avoid the crowds, you can capture the space and atmosphere of the show.
Blur is okay!
If you take a blurry photo, don’t be discouraged and erase it. Often, taking blurry images is all part of music photography, giving the image a sense of movement and emotion and allows your image to tell a story and deliver a humanising feeling. Although you sometimes absolutely want a photo to be clear, a blurry photo isn’t necessarily garbage. Life isn’t seen in stills so this can make your image more of an art piece, than a set moment in time.
Context is everything
A lot of photographers have cameras with huge zoom lenses, allowing them to capture the best close-ups of the artists. However, it’s sometimes better to use wider lenses as these give context and a certain sense of intimacy. Interesting photographs are the ones that include details of the actual event. This includes the lighting and stage set up and any details involved.
The best way to document a show can be from the middle of the room, shooting as though you’re a fan in the crowd. It gives a sense of authenticity and emotion. Take photos of waving arms, crowd surfers and emotions in the faces of members of the crowd.
The most important tip for all the music photography aficionados is to go with your instinct. Take photos of what you think is interesting, not what other people might find interesting. Shots of things you’re passionate about have a tendency to look better than photos that you’re not passionate taking. Make sure you have fun with it!
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