Catching the Mood of the Music: Pointers for Taking Better Concert Photos

When you go to a music concert, you’ll probably want to take some great photos to show your friends when you get back, or to upload to your social media accounts.

But there’s a problem: why do they always seem to come out so badly?

Taking concert photos can be tricky. The light conditions are not great, and it’s hard to get photos that really impress.

Here are some tips to taking better snaps at the next concert you attend so you’ll get back home with some photos that will really impress your friends.

Use a Better Camera

First of all, the camera makes a big difference. If you just have a budget smartphone on you, don’t expect too much from your photos.

You don’t need a DSLR, however, to take good pics. Some of the higher-end smartphones like the Sony Xperia have excellent camera technology built in, allowing you to take fantastic photos in any setting.

Choose the Right Exposure

You will want to set the exposure on your phone or camera, and this can be tricky because stage lighting is difficult. You may want to underexpose some of your shots, then overexpose them, in order to experiment and find what leads to the best shot. This is mainly just trial and error and you’ll get a better feel for it with experience.

Set a Correct ISO

ISO is the other major technical issue to think about, and it will have a big effect on your photos. You will probably want it somewhere just below the highest setting, about ISO 800 or so, but you may want it higher.

A higher ISO will lead to more noise, but you can then use noise reduction software afterwards. So experiment with the ISO and find out what works best.

Keep It Steady

Dark concerts mean you will need a slower shutter speed, but this can be hard to get clear shots. Practice holding your camera steady by supporting your elbows on your chest, and you may also want to use image stabilization.

Shoot In RAW

Make sure you are shooting in RAW format. This will take up more storage space, but you will have the freedom to change things like exposure and white balance later on.

Turn the Flash Off

Keep the flash off during the concert. It won’t help to make your photos better, and it will annoy other people in the crowd.

Pick Your Moment

Take some time to watch the performers and choose the right moments to take photos. Watch how they move, look at their postures and their emotions, and really try to capture their unique style. Anticipate your shots, and don’t just shoot away without thinking about the photos you are taking. Also try to avoid clutter in the foreground.

Take LOTS of Photos

Finally, take lots of photos. You may only get one in every 20 shots that is worth keeping, and that’s fine as long as you end up with a few good shots. You don’t want to spend so much time taking photographs that you don’t enjoy the performance, but don’t just take a few snaps and hope for the best.

Isabel Skinner is an amateur photographer who carries her camera almost everywhere she goes. She writes for lifestyle, tech and photography blogs sharing her ideas and tips.