Concerts


I’ve got so many questions about photography. In the main fact; Concert photography. Many want to do this but there aren’t many tips and tricks about this subject. I was I think 16 when I went to my first band to photograph. I will always remember the nerves that day.

Later on I went to so many other photographers to get hints, tricks, idea’s on how to work things out. When you manage them all. You just need a bit of luck.

Ok, so, concert photography.
Flashing lights, jumping artists, pushing audience, and deaf of being in front of the speakers. How do you deal with this. The hardest part is actually the lights. Normally I go before a show to the lightprofessional to ask him if he can put some other colors in the first song. Red is a beloved color in the lightshows, but it kills photo’s. Now is this one here above one of the lucky ones. But normally, better try to get other colors then red. Don’t do this if you are there while it’s the first time, better practise first on the concert itself then bother about the lights. Normally the place where the concert is being held wants the photo’s too because they helped you out with the lights, and if you make bad photo’s, you still need to send them. Thats a bad first impression.

The jumping and dancing band. Normally you have to work with a slow shutterspeed because of the darkness in the area. So put your ISO up and turn your diapraghm as low as possible. (2.8 is quite ideal.) This is where you have to work with. While doing this measure the light in the spot. Not overal. The lights are mostly only on the artists and the rest is covered in darkness. If you measure your light overal, it will give you the advice for a shutterspeed near 6 seconds. Not possible since people are moving.

The people around you. There are several ways to handle this. The fact is, they don’t give a **** that your camera is your everything. They are there for the band, not for fancy photo’s of you. If there isn’t a photographer line, you are doomed to stand in the crowd. You can either way come about an hour before the show, talk with the fans about their band, why it’s so great they are here and mostly that will lead to a short talk, and they will take you with them to the frontline. As long as they know you’ll be gone after three minutes so they can dance again. 
Or you come a few minutes late and push yourself through the audience while holding your camera in the air. The band sees the camera and knows it can deliver them more fame, they will sing to you, look at you and everything that can be done to make a perfect photo. The fans adore this and will let you through. 
Don’t you ever let you push away when you are almost there. You are there for the photo’s and will be away in just a few songs. Try to explain this and most of the time, they will show you some respect aswell.
In both ways, have respect for the fans!

Then one last thing. Try to keep the backgrounds in the photo’s clear. I mean in a way, don’t show all the wires, lights from speakers and stuff like that. Pick your crop and make sure there isn’t too much noise in the background.

Being deaf of the speakers has a simple solution called ear plugs. They look like crap, but you will be quite sure you won’t be screaming “What honey?!” in two years to your beloved ones.

Bands enjoy it to see back their pictures, as long as they are good enough to put on their website. So as long as you think they might be interested, just try and take a chance, it may deliver you a nice job. That is the bit of luck you will need. The rest is up to you. 

-Maryonne Vlasblom
Up Magazine, Destine, 5th May – Freedom Festival Zwolle & Fusion of Dance

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