How To Become A Concert Photographer (7 Basic Steps to Follow)

For music and photography enthusiasts, becoming a concert photographer is a dream come true.

However, to get into a concert photography, you need to have the skills and equipment to capture stunning images regardless of the challenging sound and lighting conditions at concerts.

Typically, concert photographers are professionals who attend live music events and concerts.

They take photos of the performers, the audience, and the atmosphere.

Further, concert photography is a competitive field that requires creativity, technical proficiency, and networking abilities.

So, learning how to become a concert photographer, this guide is for you! We have analysed the step-by-step processes you need to know.

How To Become A Concert Photographer (Best 7 Steps)

Concert photography is a taxing job for anyone interested in doing it.

Nevertheless, with the right steps, in no time, you should be able to achieve your goal of becoming a concert photographer.

Below are some of the major steps to consider:

#Step 1: Shoot Or Start Small

Newbie concert photographers usually have dreams of shooting at stadiums and big concerts of megastars.

This is an unrealistic expectation for a novice. As a beginner, you don’t have to start with big concerts.

Start by shooting at local bands, open mic nights, or small venues. Over time, you will gain experience, confidence, and a portfolio as you train your skills.

#Step 2: Develop Your Photography Skills

The most important thing for concert photographers after experience is skill. No one will hire you if your skills are subpar.

Hence, you have to develop and master the essential skills of a concert photographer. Invest in online class or any internships.

#Step 3: Choose Or Invest In The Right Equipment

Don’t just use any equipment, make sure you look for right and perfect equipment that can enhance the quality of your work.

Most importantly, your camera must have lens that can handle low-light situations and fast-moving objects.

#Step 4: Freelance At Local Magazines

Numerous local magazines, newspapers, and websites are desperately in need of concert photographers who can freelance for them.

Therefore, to build your portfolio, make sure to apply for any remote freelancing jobs you can see.

#Step 5: Grow Your Music Photography Network

Networking is important if you want to create awareness and build your business and brand.

To do this, you have to be active in looking for local gigs, festivals, workshop, and online forum that can connect you with other concert photographers and promoters.

If you’re consistence, over time you will get referrals.

#Step 6: Attend Industry Events

Attending music industry events such as award shows, exhibitions, listening parties and more is also a way to network and advertise yourself.

Attending these events exposes you to influential people, such as editors, agents, managers, and artists that you can work with to showcase your work and skills.

They will end up boosting your recognition.

#Step 7: Start A Photography Blog

A reputable concert photographer should have a blog that curious artists and fans can go to and check out their works.

This is a great way of showcasing your portfolio, reviews, recommendations, and backstage knowledge and images fans thirst for about their celebrities.

With time, you will build a sizable following that will attract clients and generate income.

Related Topic > How do You sell myself as a photographer?

Tips For Concert Photography: How to Photographs a Concert

Concert photography Tips
Rocking concert at the nightclub

Beyond the steps to become a concert photographer, there are many more you have to know to have a rewarding career in concert photography.

Concert spaces are turbulent and challenging, regardless, these tips below will ease the task for you.

Venue and Lighting:

Each concert venue is unique and different from the last.

You have to arrive early to scout the location and find the best spots to shoot from where you’ll get good images with good lighting.

If you can’t get to the venue before the event starts, you should check the venue’s website, and social media or contact the organizers to ask for information.

Right Gear:

As mentioned earlier, having a good camera and other equipment makes it easier to get great pictures as a concert photographer.

Essentially, you need a camera that can shoot in low-light, night-time, and fast-moving objects.

Other equipment to have includes a flash, a tripod, extra batteries, and memory cards.

With the right gear, most of the lighting issues are half-solved for the most part.

Manual Camera Mode:

A crucial aspect of using the right gear is for you as a concert photographer to have full control over your camera settings to adapt to the changing lighting and sound conditions.

It is advisable to use a histogram and an exposure meter to monitor the exposure level and avoid overexposing your photos.

Act accordingly and adapt to the changing concert space with your camera mode to get the best images.

Fast Lenses:

Fast lenses are great for capturing fast-moving objects that are hard to capture normally.

Using a lens with a maximum aperture, such as f/2.8, f/1.8, or f/1.4 will allow your camera to capture more light, and achieve a faster speed.

Functionally, this also helps you create a shallow depth of field, blurring the background and making the subject of the image stand out.

Start Shooting at the Lowest Aperture Number:

Concert photographers shoot at the lowest aperture number initially. Along the line, they then gradually increase it for more depth of field or sharpness.

Doing this will help capture more detail in the dark, avoiding noise and grain in the photos.

Fast Shutter Speed:

A concert photographer who uses a fast shutter speed does this to freeze the motion of the performers, and the audience.

With the subject frozen, they end up capturing photos that are not blurry, but rather sharp and clear.

High ISO:

As a concert photographer you need to use a high ISO to increase the camera sensor’s sensitivity.

Effectively, the camera captures more light with a faster shutter speed.

Moreover, with the use of noise reduction software, the effects of noise and grain in the photos are reduced.

Aperture Size:

Concert photographers know that the sharpness and depth of their photos are dependent on the aperture.

Therefore, concert photographers are mindful of the aperture suitable for a scene at concerts.

Burst Mode:

Due to the high intensity of concerts, concert photographers use burst mode.

This is essential for concert photographers who want to take multiple photos quickly due to limited time.

Burst mode ensures they capture the best moments and expressions of the entertainer and the audience.

Creative Angles:

Creative angles bring life to the photos, especially for concert photographs that are high with emotions.

With different angles, concert photographers capture unique perspectives at concerts with a distinctive style.

Composition:

Concert photographers always consider the various elements of composition in photos effectively this is because better photos are free of distracting or cluttered elements.

Spot Metering:

At the concert, concert photographers spot meters and measure the light from a specific point in the frame of the camera.

By doing so, they avoid underexposing or overexposing the photos.

Capture Details:

Concert photographers are not short of details to capture at a concert.

They go around the concert, capturing every detail possible to show the mood, atmosphere, and energy of the concert.

Flash Photography:

Concerts already have an abundance of light sources and this will reflect negatively in the photos if the photographer uses flash photography.

They make use of the natural or artificial light of the concert. Avoid flash photography whenever it is possible.

How Do You Build A Concert Photography Portfolio

For a budding concert photographer, a portfolio helps attract clients, grow their reputation, and exposure.

Below are some tips for building a concert photography portfolio.

Niche Website

As a professional concert photographer, you should create a website that reflects your brand and identity.

The website should have a domain name that is memorable and catchy to your musicians.

Contact Details

Most concert photographers are contacted online which means you should be reachable at any time for a gig.

Add your contact information, and social media to the website. Also, include testimonials, awards, and services you offer.

Social Media

Concert photographers in this period get most of their gigs through social media.

Regularly promote yourself on social media like LinkedIn, Instagram, X, and others.

Also, link your social media to your website for anyone curious to check you out.

Regular Updates

As a concert photographer, to attract clients, ensure your website is fresh with new concert photos that highlight your improved skills.

Further, remove any old and outdated photos that do not reflect your current quality. Altogether, update your contact information and awards, if any.

Technical Skills

Clients are always on the lookout for your skills.

This means your portfolio must be able to show your technical photography skills in low-light settings, composition technique, editing, and dynamic shots.

Largely, they will want to see if you can capture the emotions and energy of the concert.

So, always upload your captured concert photos in your website and social media platform to prove your skill.

Style

The hallmark of any concert photographer is how distinctive their shots are compared to other concert photographers.

In addition to that, a logo or watermark that matches your brand should be recognizable in your images and website.

High-quality Images

What finally sells a concert photographer to a potential client is the high-quality images they see in your portfolio.

Therefore, choose sharp images, and detailed ones to upload to the website. The better the images, the more likely they are to attract clients.

FAQs

What Is A Concert Photographer Called?

A concert photographer or a music photographer who has a great technique of  low light shooting condition. Typically concert photographers are found to shoot in live music performance.

By mastering camera techniques and fostering relationships within the industry, they can excel in concert photography and preserve unforgettable moments for artists and fans alike.

Is Concert Photography Hard Or Soft?

Concert photography is a hard aspect of photography due to the shooting conditions.

These shooting conditions can be challenging for any experienced photographer because of the fast-moving objects, and unpredictable situations at concerts.

What Is The 3-Song Rule For Concert Photography?

This is a rule that started in the 80s with New York bands.

This rule stipulates that concert photographers are only allowed to shoot the first three songs of the performance.

Now the rule applies across the board for every concert photographer. Hence, they must capture their best images in a short period.

Is It Illegal To Videotape A Concert?

This depends on the venue, event, and the artist. Some concerts might allow the audience to videotape the performance, while others prohibit this and might ask you to leave your phones behind with security.

How much do Photographers Charge for a Concert?

Concert photographers’ rates vary depending on the experience, skills, location, and demand for them.

On average, they may charge anywhere from $500 to $3000, or higher.

On the other hand, some concert photographers work for a fixed salary from a media outlet.