Helpful Notes in taking Great Concert Photos

Helpful Notes in taking Great Concert Photos

I’m not a professional photographer, but I play one on TV. Ok, not really, but I do a good impression when I go to concerts. There have been times when I have viewed most of a concert through my camera’s viewfinder. I’m so worried about capturing great concert photos that I forgot to watch the show firsthand.

I have always loved taking pictures, and have done so since I got my first camera at age eight. I think I have tired just about every type of camera out there. Remember the disc camera? I tried it, along with 35mm, 110, and of course, digital. Many men’s professional headshots in Naples FL have tried those cameras through their life too, until they find the best for them.

My first concert experience with a camera was with the disc camera. I took it because I could tuck it down the front of my jeans and easily sneak it in. I feel really silly about that now; the format was not made for taking concert pictures. I realize how horrible those pictures came out and why they looked so bad.


If you are taking concert photod with film, go for 35mm. If you have an old 110 or disc camera, get rid of it, at least at concert time. They don’t work well for concert pictures. When you buy your film, go for 800 or 1600 speed film. Most concert pictures are motion shots, and the higher grain will help capture the performers with less blur.


Forget it. Flash doesn’t help you unless you are pushed right up on the stage and the subject is within about ten feet of you. What you will end up with, if you use flash, is illuminated heads in front of you and a dark stage in your resulting concert photos.

Flash can also be a nuisance to the performer and is a big reason many shows do not allow photography at all. Turn off the flash and you may find you get better concert photos. In most cases, the lighting from the stage is more than adequate.


If you aren’t careful, you may end up with great concert photos of the person in front of you, and nothing more. Lift your camera up a bit so the heads are out of the shot. The heads in front of you can cause your automatic focus to focus on them instead of the performer.

Choose Your Moment

I have seen many great concert photos that are not caught in the middle of a jump or moment of action. The most inspiring ones often come when the performer is caught off guard. A shot of someone tuning their guitar or looking off into the audience between songs is a great opportunity to capture that artist in a way many others will not. These shots also have a better chance of coming out clear because the performer is standing still.


Use a setting on your digital camera that is meant to capture motion if you are near the front and there is a lot of light available. These are quite often “sport” or “motion”, and have a fast shutter speed. These often work very well for taking concert photos.

At the same time, if lighting is low, you need to find a setting meant for lower light situations. This will lower the shutter speed so more light can get into the camera. Hold your camera as steady as possible on the slow shutter speed settings, because movement can cause added blur.

Be Realistic

I take a lot of concert photos for two reasons. The first being I am afraid I’m not going to capture just the right moment. Secondly, I know a majority of them will not turn out as I would have hoped. When taking concert photos, be prepared to discard some of them.

Professional photographers will have much better luck, but for those of us who are untrained and learning on our own, it’s a gamble. If the professionals have issues with concert lighting and motion, you can be sure that you will too.


If you really aren’t sure which settings on your camera to use, or how your camera will perform under concert-like conditions, you should take it for a few practice runs. Go to a few local shows and take some photos, try all the settings and see what works best.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned, I did sneak a camera in for a Bon Jovi concert in my teens, and I still have those concert photos. I’m not sure why really. You would laugh if you could see them. I was in the nosebleeds and the band members are mere specks in the distance. They are horrible shots, but they are memories.

Today, I wouldn’t sneak my camera in, simply because I try to respect the wishes of the performers. I also really dread the thought of my camera being taken from me, and being unable to retrieve it, or missing half of the show while I return it to my car. Many venues that allow cameras will not allow professional cameras. Do your best with what is allowed and remember to turn off your flash.