URGENT help needed - Concerts/music gigs


So I’ve been asked, at short notice, to take some photos of a local concert event happening tonight (in around 12 hours from now). To be honest, I’m completely of my depth with this sort of thing, but happy to rise to the challenge.

I just need some tips with regard to camera settings, and anything else I might need to know.

The floor is yours… and thanks in advance!

(Pat David) #2

Any idea of the venue conditions? I’m assuming evening, dark, stage lighting?

What type of concert? An orchestra is a different beast than a rock show…

Is there a photo pit at the venue? Sometimes you’ll get access right up to the stage pit area (and usually they’ll only let you shoot for a few songs at most). Try to not shoot into LED lights (or lasers!) if possible.

I’d opt for the speed as much as possible (even at the cost of noise - don’t be afraid to bump the ISO if you need to - better a grainy shot you can see than a blurry one with less noise). I also imagine that to stay fast you’ll likely want to choose fixed focal length, something short maybe? If so - you’re going to need to be spry on your feet… :wink:

I’d keep that aperture cranked as wide open as you can and leave it there (unless you’re able to get over 1500 or so.

Probably try to keep the shutter speed above 1120 or so. Something fast enough to freeze the motion in your scene reasonably well.

Adjust ISO to let you sit in those two ranges above as needed. Rent or borrow faster glass if you need to.

(Mica) #3

Use high ISO or an off camera flash! Lots of angles and take photos of all the members individually and group shots as they’re playing.


I’ll be a rock concert, teen challenge type thing. a local community thing based at a church with a stage area, so I’d imagine you’d use the floor area below the satge as a photo pit? Though it’s also possible that area might be a mosh pit. 8pm-midnight.

The seating is like that of a university lecture room, where the seating goes up as you get closer to the back of the room.

I have only 2x std kit lens and a prime 50mm at my disposal atm, so it’ll certainly be a challenge!

It’s possible I could borrow a faster lens from our local camera shop, but I’d have to pay for it if it gets broken. So, bearing that in mind, what would you recommend I get?

(Pat David) #5

How fast is your 50mm? That might be fine if it’s around f/1.8 or so.

Really, the big problem here is lack of light usually. You also usually want to capture the ambiance of the show somewhat, so flashes sometimes aren’t in the equation (if they are, try to get them off the camera if at all possible).

As such, the faster the better in this case. I personally like shorter focal lengths as I feel like it gets me “more in the action” and closer to what’s going on.


yes, it is a f/1.8, but that’ll probably pose problems in that I’ll probably have to get close and I may not be able to.

I might have to have a chat with the camera shop and see what glass they have and what they’d be prepared to loan.

EDIT: It would appear I’m off the hook. The camera store wasn’t happy to loan me the glass best suited, mainly considering the price tag. It just goes to show what happens when a photographer isn’t arranged well in advance for such an event.

The more I talked through what they wanted, the more it became obvious they needed a pro who had all the gear, but no budget to pay for their services.

(Pat David) #7

Did you at least go and shoot anyway for a bit of practice? If you had the time it might have been a great way to prep yourself for possibly doing further work of that sort and being comfortable with the situation. And here I was just checking back in to see what the results were! :slight_smile:


Lol, no I didn’t go. I got caught away doing other stuff.