Concert photography at smaller venues

When we recently posted our guide to concert photography, someone rightly pointed out that the tips were mostly geared towards larger venues with photography pits. This is true, of course, and in my eagerness to tell you all I know about taking photos, I completely forgot about the smaller concert rooms. Shame on me!

Of course, the same person also tipped me off to a site that does have a good guide to concert photography at smaller venues – Excellent! 


Onno’s article on Concert photography is largely about taking photos at smaller venues, and offers useful advice, such as “Don’t be annoying” and “Don’t move around constantly” – both which are excellent, but are probably most useful to amateur photographers – if you are there to take some photos of your favourite band, then the advice offered by Onno is good. If you are there to work, you have to act like a professional: You’re not there to enjoy the gig (you can do that after you’ve put your camera away), you are there to capture the action.

The article writer gets excellent results with his method, but when photographing at small venues without a pit, there are still a few things you have to think about, and not annoying people is only one side of it. However, if you are at the venue to do a job, then you have to get your elbows out there, and get the job done: If you have to move through the crowd to get a particular shot, then that’s what you have to do.

Other things I don’t agree with in the article is the notion that you should bring a bag with you. Hell, it’s difficult enough to move through crowds with a camera without having a bag to worry about. So don’t bring a bag, and only put the lens you think you are going to get the most use out of. Make sure your batteries are full and that you don’t have to swap memory cards, too, because you don’t want to be fiddling with your camera in the middle of the action.

One thing that I missed, though, which Onno covers very well, is this:

Keep an eye out for the most active band members. If someone does certain things that seem to show their personality well, try and catch that. People don’t look good with their mouth open towards a microphone. Wait for them to step away from their standard spots so you can catch them off guard and in a different pose from the million other photos out there.

In other words, between our concert photography article and Onno’s article with the same subject, you should be an expert. Now go out there, and get those photos!

Making money off your concert photos

Originally, we had a lot of information here on how you could monetize your concert photography, but it all became a bit wieldy. I would strongly recommend you have a look at our seperate writeup on event photography, and our making money off your photos article.

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