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Article: Concert photography: capturing the energy of live music

Konzertfotografie: Die Energie der Live-Musik einfangen

Concert photography: capturing the energy of live music

Concert photography is fascinating, exciting, inspiring, but also challenging. The aim is to capture the unique energy and atmosphere of live music in pictures. Special techniques and appropriate equipment are the basis for achieving this. In this blog article, we give you valuable tips on how you can best capture the dynamics and emotions of live performances for eternity. We have summarized a few points for beginners in particular. You will find these in a separate section after the general explanations for photography at live events.

The right equipment for concert photography

As the lighting conditions at concerts are often difficult, it is advisable to use a camera with good low-light performance. Single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) and mirrorless system cameras are particularly suitable. As a tip: Timing is also important. The changing lights on stage can quickly cause a recording to fail. Especially at the beginning of songs, the lighting is usually geared towards being able to see the artists as well as possible. This is also a good time to take your own shots.

However, the changing stage lighting is not only a disadvantage. It often offers spectacular colors and effects. Use these for dramatic and atmospheric shots. Do not overexpose, otherwise you will lose the mood of the light.

You can also find the right camera bag for your equipment and everything you need to protect your camera in our Oberwerth Shop. From classic camera bags to modern sling bags up to noble photo weekenders and backpacks. Of course you will also find hand straps and shoulder straps. Finest craftsmanship made from the best materials. Take a look around and find the bags & accessories that best suit you and your equipment!

Cameras and lenses

A camera with a large sensor (APS-C or full format) and a high ISO performance helps to produce low-noise images even in low light. However, you will need to reckon with a certain training period. For the best results, you also need experience of how your technique works best.


In addition to the camera and lenses, other accessories such as spare batteries, memory cards and a robust camera strap are important. This should not only offer a high level of comfort, but also safety for your equipment.

Proper preparation is key: tips for research and planning

Thorough preparation is the indispensable basis of concert photography. This has already been mentioned in connection with the lighting on stage. Find out about the location, the band and the lighting conditions in advance. There is often information on social media or on the venue's website about which stage effects will be used. You can also simply look at past performances. This will give you a good impression.

For professionals: clarify the rules for access

If you are photographing for a magazine or blog, you will usually need accreditation. Apply for this in good time and clarify the rules that apply on site. Photographers are often only allowed to take photos during the first three songs or from certain areas.

Test camera settings in advance

Test the camera settings before the concert. Ideally, you should attend similar concerts or practice in dark rooms. This will give you a feel for the different settings. If there are support bands, make sure you take some shots during their performances. These "rehearsals" will give you an idea of the quality of the chosen camera settings. You can make improvements based on this.

Concert photography techniques and tools

Use the continuous shooting mode and benefit from a fast shutter speed

The continuous shooting mode helps you to take several pictures in quick succession. You won't miss the perfect moment for a picture. A fast shutter speed (i.e. 1/250 to 1/500 second) is advisable if you want to freeze movements in your photos. This will give you sharp images. For very dynamic scenes, however, slower shutter speeds may also be a good idea. Test it: use motion blur deliberately to convey the energy of the performance.

Focus: that's what matters

Your camera's autofocus should be fast and precise. Use continuous autofocus mode (AF-C) and select single-field focus to focus specifically on the artists.

The human factor: capturing the mood and emotions

Photographing concerts is more than just technical perfection. It's about feeling and capturing the mood and emotions of the event as a human being. This is the only way to captivate the viewer with the live experience. It all depends on your intuition.

Creative image composition

Pay attention to an attractive image composition. Play with perspectives, close-ups and wide shots as well as different angles. Detailed shots of instruments or close-ups of the artists' faces can be just as rewarding as pictures of the entire stage.

Post-processing: the finishing touches

Post-processing is an essential part of concert photography. You can use programs such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to optimize your images and add the finishing touches. Select the best images. Quality comes before quantity. Adjust exposure, contrast and colors to enhance the mood of the concert. However, preserve the naturalness of the images. Therefore, do not edit the photos too much. They will develop a feel for this over time.

Black and white photography

Learn which images are particularly effective in black and white. Basically, these colors should evoke emotions. To do this, experiment with different compositions: For example, the stage and audience provide a good mix for a black and white shot.

Special tips for beginners in concert photography

If you are new to concert photography, it can seem overwhelming at first to find the right technique and equipment. These tips can help you get started:

1. You should know your equipment very well
Before attending a concert, you should take a close look at your camera and lenses. This is especially true if you have just purchased a new device, lenses and/or accessories. Practice quickly changing settings and adjusting exposure parameters so that you are well prepared for live use. Absolute beginners can work with the automatic ISO and Av mode to transfer this task largely to the device. You can then concentrate fully on the live event.

2. learn how to work with the light
We have already covered the subject of lighting. For beginners, however, there is still this to consider: Observe the lighting and adjust your settings accordingly. Spot metering can be helpful when taking pictures of the artists' faces.

3. positioning and perspective
Find a good spot with as clear a view of the stage as possible. Experiment with different angles and perspectives. Close-ups of artists and their instruments are just one of many possibilities. Wide-angle shots of the entire stage, for example, are also worthwhile.

4. consideration
Be discreet and respectful towards the artists and other concert-goers. Avoid using flash, as this not only disturbs the atmosphere, but can also irritate the artists and the audience.

5. patience and practice
Concert photography requires patience and practice. Don't be discouraged if your first attempts are not perfect. The more concerts you photograph, the better you will become.

Conclusion: practice makes perfect, and not just for beginners

Photographing concerts is challenging, but rewarding at the same time. With the right equipment, good preparation, a feel for the right moment and, above all, practice, you can capture the energy and emotion of live events in impressive images. This applies to beginners and advanced photographers alike. And it's worth it. After all, successful pictures will turn concerts into unforgettable events for you and your family.

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