I have been taking photos at concerts I go to for about 4 years now, and the main question I get asked is
How do I get good photos without a professional camera?
Now, I am not really a professional. I’m just an avid concert goer who has learned a lot through trial and error, and I’ve had some good luck with photos I’ve taken. Some have gone viral, others are my own personal pride and joy. I have decided to share some ways to get good concert photos using a point and shoot camera.
First of all, choosing a camera does make a lot of difference. Luckily as time goes on, cameras are able to fit more and more into smaller bodies. An issue I had this year was smaller venues I was going to for Harry Styles had rules about the size of the camera, as most venues do. It is almost common practice for any venue to ban cameras with detachable lenses or lenses that extend from a powered off camera. My original go to was a Kodak Z990. It is an older camera, but it hadn’t failed me from 2014 and on. Unfortunately, though it is a point and shoot, it would not be allowed into the venues I was going for. My best bet was a pocket sized camera.
The camera I used to collect these shots was the Canon Powershot SX730. I personally love the camera and the fact it has 40x optical zoom. It also had built in stabilization. I will also link other cameras I have found to work well in concert settings.
Nikon Coolpix A900 – 35x Zoom
Nikon Coolpix S9700– 30x zoom
Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX – 30x zoom
- PRACTICE – Obviously, practice makes perfect. But in this case, it is important to get to know your camera a bit beforehand. I suggest buying your camera a month or at the least, a week beforehand so you can play around with settings and lighting. Another tip is before the artist you wish to picture comes on, test out the zoom and take a few photos of the stage area so you can get used to the general angles and direction you’ll be shooting in. Think of photos you want to take and try your best to make them a reality! TAKE PHOTOS OF THE OPENING ACT! Practice on them, enjoy the music while you get the best settings for lighting as the house lights will most likely be down.
- Expect Blurry Shots – As you’ll most likely read with other photographer advice, you may take 200 photos and only find 20 you like, if that. The person I was photographing, Harry Styles, is like a jumping bean on stage during certain songs. It was difficult sometimes to get a good shot, and while it was frustrating for a moment, taking a moment to realize It was just one shot out of many made me feel better. Try and shoot slower songs, songs where the artist may not be moving around too much. For example, some of my best shots came from Just a Little Bit of Your Heart cover, Meet Me in the Hallway, and Sign of the Times. I knew from watching videos beforehand that he stayed a bit more still during these songs. I got one of my favorite shots during sign of the times, a good shot of his jawline along with the flag in the background.
- LIGHTS – Concerts most of the time have a lot of interesting lighting. It can either be your camera’s best friend, or worst enemy. My suggestion is to play with the light, take some more ‘Artsy’ than normal photos. Harry had a lot of different colors, and when I realized with this lighting set up that i could n0t get a good facial photo, I played with the angles and light the best I could to get these.
- Have FUN- Ok, getting to the cheesy part. But make sure you take some time to put the camera down. Enjoy the music, live in the moment. Its easier said than done, but you most likely have waited for a long time for that night, so take time to enjoy it. I sometimes need to take this advice myself. I get overly excited because photography is my passion and I do adore Mr. Styles, and he very kind to my camera. Taking a few songs to just listen and watch will help the experience.
If anyone has any other questions, feel free to DM my Instagram, @allydelmonte, and I will do my best to help!