Concert Photography Tutorial (Low Light Tips!)

Welcome to our blog on Concert Photography Tutorial with a focus on low light tips! Have you ever attended a concert and wished you could capture those incredible moments on camera? Well, you’re in luck! In this tutorial, we will unravel the secrets of taking stunning concert photographs even in challenging low light conditions. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just a passionate music lover with a camera, our tips and techniques will help you elevate your concert photography game to the next level. From understanding camera settings to mastering composition, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and discover how to capture the energy and essence of live performances through the lens!

Concert Photography Tutorial (Low Light Tips!)


In this article, we will discuss some valuable tips and techniques for getting started with concert photography, particularly in low light situations. These insights are based on our own personal experiences, but please note that your own experience may vary depending on the type of concerts you wish to shoot. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Squarespace for sponsoring this video.

Getting a Photo Pass

Most concert venues require a photo pass in order to bring your camera inside. To obtain a pass, you can try becoming a contributor to a print or online music or news publication. This is often the best way to secure photo passes. To become a contributing photographer, simply email the publication and express your desire to contribute. Make sure to include a link to your portfolio. Additionally, you can reach out to the band or their management directly, even if you are not affiliated with a publication. Although this approach may be more challenging, offering to share the photos afterward can sometimes convince the band or label to grant you a photo pass. It may be harder to reach out to more popular bands or management, but reaching out to opening bands can be a successful alternative. Smaller bands are usually grateful to have photos of their set, creating a win-win situation. Keep in mind that for some tours, you may need a specific photo pass to shoot the headlining band, depending on their size and restrictions.

Building Your Music Portfolio

Another way to build your music portfolio is by attending smaller venues that allow anyone to bring a camera inside. These clubs often have challenging lighting conditions, but this offers a great opportunity for practice.

Gear and Settings

Concert photography heavily relies on your gear, as the lighting conditions are constantly changing and there is usually a lot of movement. It is advisable to use a camera that performs well in low-light, high ISO situations. For lenses, we recommend shooting with fixed focal lengths prime lenses that have wide apertures, allowing for more light. Having a variety of focal lengths will help you create a more dynamic set of images. Shooting in manual mode is our preferred method, as it gives us more control over our camera settings. We usually shoot with our aperture wide open, around F 1.4 for prime lenses and a maximum aperture of f28 for our zoom lens. Using prime lenses enables us to keep our ISO lower, resulting in better image quality. Your shutter speed will depend on the focal length and the amount of movement you are capturing. Starting at around 1/250th of a second is a good baseline to freeze motion, and you can adjust your ISO accordingly. It is essential to have a maximum ISO limit you are comfortable shooting with, as cameras handle high ISO settings differently. We also recommend using AI servo or continuous autofocus, which ensures that your subject remains in focus, especially if they are moving around.

Shooting the Concert

For shows with a photo pit, you typically have the opportunity to photograph the first three songs of the band. Use this time to capture some wide-angle shots, as being close to the action adds emotion and feeling to the photos. Move around and experiment with different angles to capture the musicians. Be considerate of other photographers in the pit. The three songs will pass quickly, so shoot efficiently and try to capture a variety of focal lengths and compositions. The drummer is often the most challenging musician to shoot, so take advantage of being closest to the stage during this time. Once you are out of the photo pit, try capturing shots from the back of the venue to show the crowd and the entire stage, giving a better sense of what it was like to be there. If there is a balcony, consider taking shots from a higher vantage point as well.

Editing and Final Thoughts

Editing concert photos can be tricky due to the mixture of different lighting colors on stage. Instead of striving for the most natural skin tones, consider embracing the colors on stage to authentically capture the concert atmosphere. You can also experiment with more extreme white balance adjustments to change the overall mood of the photos.

We hope these tips help you get started with concert photography. If you have any additional tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe and hit the notification bell to stay updated with our latest posts. See you next Monday!

Concert Photography Tutorial (Low Light Tips!) – FAQ

Concert Photography Tutorial (Low Light Tips!) – FAQ

1. What is concert photography?

Concert photography is the practice of capturing images of live musical performances. It involves taking photographs of musicians or bands on stage during concerts or music festivals.

2. What are the challenges of concert photography in low light conditions?

Low light conditions pose several challenges for concert photographers. The main challenge is the limited amount of available light, which can result in blurry or underexposed images. Additionally, fast-moving performers, dynamic stage lighting, and crowded environments can complicate the process.

3. How can I capture better concert photos in low light?

Here are some tips for improving your concert photography in low light:

  • Use a fast lens: Invest in a lens with a wide aperture (low f-number) to allow more light into the camera.
  • Adjust your camera settings: Increase your ISO setting to achieve better exposure in low light. However, be cautious not to set it too high as it can introduce noise in your photos.
  • Shoot in RAW format: RAW files retain more information, enabling better post-processing adjustments for exposure, white balance, and noise reduction.
  • Employ image stabilization: Use a tripod or a lens with built-in image stabilization to minimize camera shake and capture sharper images.
  • Experiment with different shutter speeds: Depending on the movement of the performers, adjust your shutter speed accordingly to freeze the action or create motion blur.
  • Anticipate and follow the light: Keep an eye on stage lighting cues to capture impactful shots.
  • Shoot in burst mode: Continuous shooting helps capture multiple frames of an action-packed moment, increasing your chances of getting a perfect shot.

4. Are there any recommended camera settings for low light concert photography?

While camera settings may vary based on the specific lighting conditions and equipment, here are some recommended settings to start with:

  • Aperture: Use the widest aperture available on your lens (e.g., f/2.8 or lower) to maximize light intake.
  • ISO: Set your ISO to a higher value (e.g., 1600-3200) to achieve better exposure without introducing significant noise.
  • Shutter speed: Experiment with a range of shutter speeds, such as 1/60s for freezing motion or slower speeds (e.g., 1/30s) to create intentional motion blur.
  • Focus: For moving performers, switch to continuous autofocus mode to track their movements and ensure sharp focus.

5. How can I get access to photograph concerts?

To gain access to photograph concerts, you can consider the following options:

  • Apply for media or press credentials: Reach out to event organizers, music publications, or local media outlets to request media access for concert photography.
  • Build relationships with local bands or venues: Engage with local music scenes, network with bands, and offer your photography services to gain entry to smaller concerts or gigs.
  • Start with smaller venues or local festivals: Begin by capturing images at smaller local events or music festivals, where permissions might be relatively easier to obtain.

Remember to always respect the rules and guidelines set by event organizers and obtain necessary permissions to photograph concerts.

I hope you find useful my article Concert Photography Tutorial (Low Light Tips!), I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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