I have discovered a new subject I love to photograph, concerts. Concert photography is fast paced and full of raw human emotion. Photographing concerts however can be challenging, you are typically shooting in really low light and the musicians and singers are moving around everywhere. You can't be afraid to use your ISO here, so expect to bump it up to 1,000, 1,600 or higher so that you can have a shutter speed fast enough to capture the movement and have it sharp along with having enough light to create the image.
I recently covered the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, it was an experience I will never forget. For three days I got to photograph amazing bands like Old Crow Medicine Show, Folk Soul Revival, Railroad Earth and so many more. Each band had its own challenge, lighting was different and the people moved around differently. Before the event though I studied other photographers who typically shoot concerts and even took the time ask advice from some. I got some great advice from Matt Adams, he is an editor for the YourShot side of National Geographic, he also shoots a lot of concerts. His advice was very spot on for myself and I want to pass along what Matt Adams shared with me, so you can read his tips HERE. The best tip for myself though, was to not keep looking at the back of my screen to see what I captured. If you do that, you may loose a moment you would of loved to capture. I set my setting in my first frame and checked after that shot, made an adjustment and just shot everything I wanted to capture. I got a lot of great moments I may of missed if I had just kept checking.
One thing I really looked for while shooting all of the different concerts were dramatic shots that the stage lighting created. They would illuminate and silhouette different people and the colors were vibrant and really created some cool effects with the fog machines. Some bands only give you a limited amount of songs to photograph them as well, the industry standard is three songs. The bands do this so that fans can enjoy the concert without people jumping around in front of them and ruining their experience. Some bands will even let you come back to shoot the encore performances as well, Old Crow Medicine Show did for us at this event.
I would like to encourage those of you looking into photographing concerts to find other photographers already doing it and follow their work. You will get a lot of great ideas and don't be afraid to ask them questions, you'll find that most of them will be more than willing to throw you a tip.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this blog on concert photography, I hope it was helpful! Below are some of my favorite images from the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion and if you want to check out more of concert photography work, head over to my Concert Photography page and my Concert Photography Black and White Work page.