How to Take Better Concert Photos

How to Take Better Concert Photos


COOPH has released a 4-minute video with photographer Michael Agel, decoding the mystery behind shooting great concert photos. Concerts and gigs typically feature challenging, but also very unique, lighting situations.

This can make for incredible images, but if you don’t know exactly how to handle the drastic lighting changes and colors then it could go very wrong for you!

Better concert photos

“Photography, for me, is painting with light,” says Agel. “You have to look where there is interesting light, and create a good image.”

Agel is also a big advocate of putting down the camera and building rapport with the musicians you are shooting. This will help you to create better shots, but also avoid potentially disastrous situations (such as standing in front of a confetti cannon that’s about to go off!

Staying invisible will help you to nail those perfect shots; knowing when and how to choose your moments is paramount. You don’t want to get in between the singer and the crowd, and it’s key things like this that will make for a much smoother shoot – and hopefully get you booked again!

Check out the full video above to hear from Agel himself and see more of his work.

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Will Nicholls is a professional wildlife photographer and film-maker from the UK. He has won multiple awards for his work, including the title of Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2009. Will runs a blog for nature photographers, Nature TTL, which provides tutorials and inspirational articles to readers. He also has a free eBook available called 10 Top Tips to Instantly Improve Your Nature Photos.

  • David

    So obviously he is using the light from the stage to light his subjects, but I would really like to know what settings he typically uses for these images, ISO in particular.

  • Michael Clark

    Whatever you need to use to get the shot. I’ve gone anywhere from ISO 800 for bright, theatrically lit venues to ISO 6400 for less well lit stages. The key is to not use too low an ISO and then push the shot in post. With most cameras, that will be far noisier than just going ahead and shooting at the higher ISO. Use whatever ISO you need to get the exposure you want at whatever aperture and shutter time you want. Don’t let your camera tell you those black backdrops and dark backgrounds need to be mid-tones, though. Use spot metering to to set exposure on what you want to be the midtones.

  • David

    Thank you, Michael. I’m printing this so I don’t lose it. I appreciate you taking the time to run through this. The most useful part to me is shooting at the higher ISO instead of bringing things up in LR. I have always worried, and I have no reason to be, about shooting at high ISO because it’s bad (or so I think for no reason). So I will now give ISO preference, don’t worry about it, and see how things come out which I’m sure will be fine.

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