Capture the Joy of Music With These Tips for Successful Concert Photography

Clipart images of a closeup black and white illustration of a woman taking a photo

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” — Don McCullin

From my side of the camera, at least when I’m taking pictures of my six grandchildren, there’s plenty of feeling involved. This hobby began quite a while ago with our now teenage grandson and it has continued after a long dry spell with the bundle of adorable little ones who have most recently blessed our family. My ultimate hope has always been that their vibrant personalities are as evident in my photos of them as in real life.

Did the enigmatic gaze of our blue-eyed beauty shine through? Can people see the sense of fun and joy in the tow-headed charmer that is her brother? Are they compelled to smile at our dimpled sweetheart. Does my picture effectively show the gentle spirit of our tiny toddler, or the inquisitive nature of her baby brother? Is there a sense of the love that was there for me in capturing these images? With my heart so invested, I like to think that at least some of the time I meet with a level of success in that regard.

It is, however, when branching out to other types of photography that I’m less sure the feeling I have for a place or thing transfers through the camera lens.  In these the subjects are varied. There are my favourite places, landscapes that have become as familiar to me as the dearly-loved faces of family. There are, too,  the friends and acquaintances who have enriched my life.

And there is music.

I feel pretty fortunate to have grown up in the 1960s. It was an amazing, admittedly sometimes scary, time — a decade of growth and change.

A lot of that came from the music we listened to and the bands that created it.  They and the songs they gave us were our voice, speaking out politically and emotionally. They protested against violence, oppression and injustice. They praised love, freedom and unity. And we were thrilled to listen.

Concerts were big events for us as we took every opportunity and travelled any distance to see the groups we loved and hear the songs that moved us. Just as they are today these were chaotic places with wildly-excited youths crowded into darkened auditoriums. In our version of a mosh pit,  where fans, though loud and boisterous, were usually considerate of everyone’s space,  we shouted and sang along to anthemic lyrics, gyrated and swayed to tunes that captured our souls.

What was significantly different than today, however, was the absence of cameras. They were not only too cumbersome, but not permitted. Now, we have the cellphone and  trying to stop people from taking pictures or shooting video is almost impossible, so we all have the potential to grab that “I was there” photo, once the exclusive right of professionals.

Not that they’re usually any good.  Lighting conditions and sitting too far back in a room filled with other bodies don’t contribute to award-winning pictures. Even if you’re lucky enough to be at the front, it can still be a challenge. I know that any music photo I’ve ever taken hasn’t been good, let alone conveying the feelings I had when taking it

This weekend, we’re going to see our son’s band play at a favourite venue. It’s the perfect place for me to practise with a little help from these great resources:

DPG Photograph Rock Concerts

DPS Rock Concert Photography

Exposure Guide Concert Photography

Concert Photography Tips

Further Reading

Further Reading

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