Concert Photography: 7 essential Tools to get started


Concert photography is probably one of the most challenging fields in photography, but also one of the most rewarding. I can clearly remember the first time I stood in the photo pit, getting ready to shoot the alternative band, Tv On The Radio. I was still trying to figure out the right settings on my camera when suddenly the lights in the venue went off. The band got on the stage, hundreds of people started screaming behind me and I thought, “Am I dreaming or is this real?” Then it hit me – damn, it’s real and I’d better get back to reality quickly and take some great photos! That was how concert photography felt for me the first time I did it. 7 years later, every concert I shoot still gives me an adrenaline kick and there´s always a new challenge to deal with.

Concert Photography is the dream of many passionate music and photography lovers out there. However, there isn’t much information around detailing how to succeed at concert photography. You won´t be able to find many books about concert photography. Something else that holds people back from starting to live their dream is thinking that they need the expensive gear that pro photographers use. In this article, I’m going to show you 7 tools that will help you to get started and bring your concert photography career to the next level.

Your 7 must-have tools in concert photography:

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Linkin Park Reaches Out to Live Photographers, Launches Contest to Shoot for Their Tour

A while back there was some pretty bad news circulating the blogosphere involving live photographers – specifically in music. I thought it’d be cool to shed in more of a positive light in current relationships between musicians and the artists that photograph them. A few months back, Los Angeles-based band Linkin Park announced their upcoming tour across the US, and they just recently announced a contest targeting photographers who want to have a chance at shooting for their shows.

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Tour Manager for Three Days Grace Speaks Out On Concert Photography

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Two days ago, controversy was bred after a clash over social media between photographer Rohan Anderson and the pop-punk band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus; the band began a crusade of defamation against Rohan after being called out for posting his picture up without permission or credit. In return, Rohan sparked a wave of protest from the online community by posting the entire story online, and publicity for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus expectedly took a plunge.

Now that the story’s been gaining widespread coverage over the online photography and music community, the tour manager for the band Three Days Grace decided to weigh in on the topic.

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Interview With Rock/Concert Photographer Adam Elmakias

Jared Leto of 30 Seconds To Mars at Rock For People Festival in Hradec Kralove CZE July 2nd, 2013

Adam Elmakis is one of the best concert/band photographers I know. He was kind enough to “sit” with us for an interview. I had no idea how demanding his job was.

DIYP: Can you tell us about your background and how you got into photography?

AE: I was born in California, and my parents moved us to Madison, WI when I was young. My family was normal-ish (I like to think). I got into photography in high school.

I started shooting in 2005 when I was a high school sophomore in Madison, WI. School wasn’t really my thing, but I took a yearbook class that I really liked. We were given an assignment to shoot self portraits, and when the school counselor saw my photo he convinced me to give photography a try.  Eventually I signed up for and shot around for that site, and the same teacher was able to convince someone from the community to generously give me a camera.  I’m very competitive, so it dpchallenge was a fun way to get inspired! You can see some of my early work there.

Most of my time outside of school was spent going to local shows, so I started bringing my camera to concerts for fun. Eventually I became friends with local promoters and was able to trade photos for free admission, and from there I scored gigs with online publications that allowed me to start shooting bigger shows from the photo pit.  My [parents’] house became a crash pad for touring bands, and we would usually do quick press shoots the next day around town. I went to college for a semester, but ended up deciding it wasn’t my thing. Was making pretty decent money doing press shoots for bands. So yea, stopped school, and started touring. [Read more…]