Photographing Rock Concerts

25 Apr

Photographing Rock Concerts and Other Entertainment.

By: Bob Gersztyn

All Photography: Copyright Bob Gersztyn

Joe Bonamassa 1a

I. Always get permission first.

            A. From the MODA Center to the local bar, always ask permission first.

                        1. Avoid film, memory card or camera confiscation.

II. Lenses to use.

            A. Wide angle to telephoto.

            B. Zoom lenses work good.

            C. With film or ISO’s below 3200 fast lenses work best.

            D. Sometimes long telephotos from 400mm to 600mm are needed.

                        1. A teleconverter can be used to extend the focal lenght by 1.4 to 3 times.

                                    a. 200mm lens can become a 280mm to 600mm lens.

                        2. Be aware that a teleconverter will reduce image quality and lens speed.

                                    a. There is always a price to pay, so it’s a tradeoff.

Ted Nugent pointing 2007

III. ISO to use.

            A. That depends on the type of lighting.

                        1. Daytime outdoor concerts are usually shaded,  but 200 or 400 ISO can be used.

                        2. If it’s in a tent sunlight is blocked and there is usually stage lighting so you use                           3200 or 6400 ISO.

                                    a. The ISO was called the film speed, so there was both fast and slow                                             films and lenses.

                                                1. ISO 100, 200, 400 are slow and ISO 800, 1600, 3200, etc are                                                      fast

                        3. Any indoor concert will use 3200 ISO or faster.

                        4. If it’s a bar, sometimes lighting is non-existent, so use your highest ISO, e.g.                               20,000 if you have it.

016 Bono of U2 reaching out to crowd

IV. Shutter speed and aperture to use.

            A. To Capture sharp images 1/30 second using a monopod or bracing using a wall or          the stage.

            B. Blurs and zooms can use 1 full second to 3 or 4 seconds.

            C. If flash is allowed, use it.

                        1. As the main light.

                        2. As fill flash.

                        3. To freeze action in blurs and zooms.

            D. Normally wide open aperture is used.

                        1. A small aperture may be necessary for proper flash exposure.

                        2. A small aperture may also be used to slow down the shutter speed for blurs and                                     zooms.

Bob Weir

V. How to actually photograph the event.

            A. After all the technical details are in place then the aesthetic part can begin.

                        1. When photographing a solo artist, take everything from tight head shots to full                          body ones.

                                    a. Shoot from both sides, as well as head on.

                        2. Try to capture them interacting with their musical instrument.

                                    a. Expressions of joy or intense concentration are the most powerful.

                        3. When photographing a musical group with multiple members.

                                    a. Photograph the entire group performing together.

                                    b. Photograph each individual member separately.

                                    c. Photograph members performing with each other as duos or trios.

            B. Find different angles to shoot from.

                        1. From a balcony or raised area.

                        2. On stage from the sides or back.

                                    a. include the audience.

            C. Don’t forget the other subjects.

                        1. The outside of the venue.

                                    a. the marquee with the artists name on it.

                                                1. If possible, with the artist.

                        2. The venue itself.

                                    a. With a line of people waiting to get in.

                        3. Individual fans who look interesting.

                                    a. Ask their permission first.

                                    b. Use a Model Release.

                                                1. Example of Robert Di Nero film.

                        4. The CD and T-shirt sale table.

 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland Oregon Linup



3 Responses to “Photographing Rock Concerts”

  1. indresh kumar April 26, 2017 at 1:39 AM #

    It your attitude is soled mi

  2. indresh kumar April 26, 2017 at 1:39 AM #


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