Three songs and no flash – in short, these are the rules that concert photographers have to comply with. The organizers and artists themselves provide the specifications for this. This means that you can only take photos during the first three pieces. Then the security photographer throws out. Three songs are often the maximum offer that is made to photographers. Some concerts are only allowed to take a few minutes, some organizers simply include an intro for the first piece, even if it only takes a few seconds.
Five Tips For Better Concert Photography
These requirements ensure that you work as a concert photographer under time pressure and at the same time you have to deal with difficult and very varied light due to the play of light.
1. The house right: lies with the organizer
The specifications usually come from the organizer. He has the house rights and can determine who can take pictures and when and how much. He is the contact person for the photographer and decides who receives a coveted photo pass or accreditation. That’s not so easy at big concerts with famous artists. Most of the time you have to prove current or already completed orders in the field of concert photography.
2. The beginner’s luck: is bigger at small concerts
As a beginner, you are better off at smaller concerts by less well-known artists. Here organizers and musicians are much more relaxed and are also happy about good photos, which in turn represent advertising for them. The conditions are similar but mostly better: You also have to take photos in the trench or from the mixer, but you may be able to work longer than the first three pieces.
Of course, the artist’s right to his own image remains. They are taboo for advertising.
3. The right to your own picture: remains with the artist
Of course, the artist’s right to his own image remains. Most of the time, the contract specifies the specifications of the musicians. In extreme cases, for example, a picture may only be published after approval by management. As a rule, however, editorial use (in newspapers and magazines, including the associated websites) is free. The photos can usually also be submitted to photo competitions. As is so often the case, the exceptions confirm the rule. They are taboo for advertising.
Close contact with a (small) band is helpful in every respect: As a photographer, you have freedom of fooling, the band is happy about great photos and in addition to the photos of the performances, you can also spot the artists in peace and with a flash or tripod put. On the other hand, if you want to make money with concert photos, you go on a hard-fought plaster on which good fees are rarely paid. Better to have other jobs than a financial pillar and to do concert photography out of sheer joy – which it is.
4. The equipment: it should be bright and fast
Due to the rather unfavorable lighting conditions and the short time when taking pictures, the camera should work as noise-free as possible with high ISO numbers and also have fast and accurate autofocus. Choose proper lenses that will work with the event (Check out the right lenses for portraits). Generally speaking, SLRs from the upscale segment are the most suitable. The full format is advantageous because of the usually lower noise. However, the use of suitable lenses is even more important: they should be bright so that they can work with them even in low light.
Because of the limited time, changing lenses several times is not an option, so bright zoom lenses are ideal. If you take photos in the ditch and therefore stand directly in front of the artists, we recommend that you have a zoom between about 24 and 70 mm with you – about a 2.8 / 24-70 mm in full format or an EF 4 / 24-105 mm or Nikkor 4 / 24-120 mm.
Standing at the mixer, you need a focal length between 200 and 400 mm, depending on the size of the hall. Here, too, a zoom is ideal to be able to photograph the entire band or a single musician. Otherwise: Don’t forget the lens hood – the light can suddenly come from anywhere – and pack several fast memory cards. A pair of earplugs also belong in the photo bag, because in the worst case, in the trench you stand directly next to an amplifier box: the eardrums do not last long. Speaking of bags: remember that you have to be mobile in the ditch. The bag should not lie around but should be put around.
5. Photograph the guitar solo: it is better to place it to the left
Of course, guitar players want to be photographed with the front of the guitar. The best way to do this (with right-handed guitar players) is to the left of the musician. If he does not stand still, you can get a good photo from the right side. Important: Do not cut off the guitar neck! If in doubt, better lose the lower part of the body.