Music photography is something that I have been doing since I was about 12 or 13. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as music photography at the time. To me, it was all about capturing snippets of a concert I loved and being able to reminisce it whether I’m thirty or sixty!
Every time I was at a show, I wanted to capture exciting moments: the lead singer giving the mic to the crowd, a guitarist jumping mid-air, the bassist doing a crazy stunt or the drummer executing his solo. I tried my best to capture this, whether it was grainy or blurry, with the family point and shoot camera. I had to make do with whatever was available!
If you’re a beginner at music photography or are curious about how you can become a better photographer, here are a few music photography tips:
Invest in proper gear
We all have to start somewhere–whether it’s a point and shoot camera or a DSLR you already own, invest in proper gear. If you’re going to save up to buy a point and shoot, ask yourself if you’re okay with no interchangeable lens. There are a couple of point and shoot cameras nowadays with the photo quality as an DSLR. If you’re the type who wants to be more in control and creative with the outcome of your shots, then you will want to invest in a camera that allows you to change lenses.
The wider the aperture, the better, especially for conditions like ours–extremely bad lighting! Ever since I borrowed my cousin’s 1.8 50mm lens, I never looked back!
Shoot in RAW
RAW gives you more control of your photo editing. JPEG photos are already flat, so editing in this format is much, much harder. I used to edit my photos in Photoshop, but ever since I explored with Lightroom, I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Practice as much as you can
This goes with any skill set you want to develop. The more you practice, the better you get at it. It’s taken me years to get to where I am today, but up to now, there is still so much about photography that I have yet to learn! Continue to expose yourself to as much learning opportunities as you can.
Wear earplugs if you’re in the pit
I was lucky that during my first photo pit experience, fellow music photographer, Stephen Lavoie was there to give me tips and provide me with an extra pair of earplugs that came in handy. You don’t want to damage your eardrums permanently especially if you plan on spending a massive amount of your time in front of loud speakers!
Experiment with different angles
Don’t be afraid to try shooting from as many perspectives as possible. It’s more fun going around and seeing the show from different angles. You never know, you might get “the shot” from a perspective you wouldn’t normally try.
Share your work
Aside from constant practise, showing your work to others and asking for their critique is another way to learn. If you have fellow music photographer friends or if you’re lucky and you have a mentor, ask for their advice. They’ll teach you their tips and tricks, which always comes in handy. If you don’t know anyone, you can search YouTube tutorials!
Be aware of the crowd
As a photographer, you’ll want to get THE BEST possible shots, but you must also remember to be aware of the people around you. Is your lens going to hit someone? Are you blocking their view? As much as possible, get the shot with the least inconvenience for those around you. Why? Because as much as you love to document the show, there are others who want to live the moment in their own way too. If you want others to be considerate, you must be considerate of them too!
Wear all black
From head to toe, hehe! Props to you if you got that reference. As they say, if you want to get the part, aside from acting like it, you have to dress like it. This tip is particularly helpful if you’re going to shoot in the photo pit. I’ve heard this from my fellow photographers. Bouncers and security guards take you seriously when you’re dressed like the official crew.
Have a mentor
Whether is it someone you can follow online and observe or someone who can be there with you at shows, this is extremely important. For me, it’s a mix of both. I have fellow photographers who are with me at shows Carla and Kara–they’re super amazing at what they do. I also follow photographers like Maysa Askar, Anna Lee, and Nina Sandejas!
In case you’re looking for new music photos to follow, here’s a list I wrote:
Sign-up here for my newsletter