Taking photos at concerts can often be pretty tricky as it’s usually quite dark and flashes are typically not allowed. This means you’ll probably have to set your camera manually and make sure you have the right balance between aperture, shutter speed and ISO levels.
Even if you’re allowed to use a flash, it’ll probably be of no use to you anyway unless you’re in the front row. An SLR camera is definitely recommended for this type of photography as you can manipulate the settings.
Low-light concert photography is somewhat like trying to photograph a boxing match as you have limited light and you never really know what the subjects are going to do next. This is why anticipation is such a large part of taking good photos.
It’s sometimes a bit of a job to focus on rapidly-moving people and the auto focus will have a hard time doing it if there isn’t much light. This means you’ll probably be better off using the manual focus.
Using a zoom or telephoto lens will definitely help to bring you closer to the subjects and you’ll need to use a fast ISO camera setting such as 400, 800, or 1600.
The more light there is the more you can set the ISO lower, as a higher setting can cause graininess. The best thing to do is take a few practice shots if possible and see what setting works best for the venue and its lighting.
You should set your white balance appropriately and keep your camera as steady as possible. It’s also a good idea to shoot in high resolution mode and crop the photos later if you’re a bit of a distance from the performers.
Try to zoom in as close as you can to the subjects. A good lens to have is a 70-200mm 2.8 aperture model or something or even a more faster one as it’ll let in more light. Its wide aperture at the long end is ideal for close up shots and background blur.
You’ll really have to take some test shots to get a good balance between shutter speed and aperture. Try taking a few photos at about 1/40th of a second and keep going faster until the photos are too dark.
Once they’re too dark, cut back on the speed a notch or two. You can also try this with the aperture by opening it wider each time until the photos have enough light.
The best thing to do is make sure you record the photo’s data information so you can check later to see what speed, aperture, and ISO settings produced the best images.
Only take along the necessary equipment such as meters, lenses and flash as you don’t want to spend your time fumbling around in your bag and you don’t want to weigh yourself down as well.
Remember to follow the venue’s rules about photography if you want to take shots at a concert or other large events.
Take as many photos as you can as you can always delete some of them later. You can then narrow the photos down to your favourite shots and edit them with a computer software.