How to Capture the Most Insta-Worthy Music Festival Photos

Pics or it didn’t happen, right?

This is true with almost all social events or life milestones, but it becomes even more true once music festival season is in full swing. Everyone wants to be the subject of social media envy during their festival weekend—after all, if you spent weeks planning your outfit and shelled out some serious cash just to get a ticket, you want people to see. But how do you go about getting the perfect festival Instagram post this summer? We spoke to a few women to get their inside tips for what makes the perfect Instagram.

1. Check the time

Of course, you’re already going to do a lot of preparation for your festival of choice, and that should apply to your photos as well. You’re going to be dealing with a huge crowd, so if you want to make sure you can get a great shot in front of that one stage or sign without having to stop to let people pass 600 times, Columbia University sophomore Gabriela Vascimini sums it up best: “Arrive really early!”

This is a great tip especially for performers’ sets, since you want to get close enough to the stage that you might have a chance at getting a good picture of your favorite performers. High Snobiety suggests that you leave sets 10 minutes early (we know the last song might be the best one, but trust us) because you’ll likely be able to get near the front for whichever stage you go to for the next set.


READY FOR THE WEEKEND // @jessthrowiton #coachellastyle #coachella #festivalstyle

A post shared by Her Campus Style (@hercampusstyle) on

2. Wait for the best lighting

Lighting is just as important as location – you don’t want to look like you’re squinting through the sun in all your posts. Arizona State junior Marisa Pieper has some advice. “The perfect time of day to take pics is at the end before sunset! We call this golden hour,” she says. “It’s usually around 6:30/7/7:30 and the sun just washes you in a gold color!”

Sounds pretty beautiful to us, especially with some festival scenery behind you. So once the clock hits 6:30, pull out your phone and start snapping.

3. Strike a pose

You definitely don't want to get stuck looking awkward and uncertain in all the photos of yourself. Rhea Chawla, a sophomore at the University of San Francisco, advises you to "know what poses you look best in and an idea for what you want." She also says, "Try multiple angles! Always."

We promise it'll be totally worth it after you make your friend take a thousand times in a row, just to get that one perfect shot. But what if you’re stuck on what position to stand in, or how best to show off your cute outfit?

“A really cute angle is to pop a hip to one side and kick out your opposite side leg with your foot in a pointed position,” Marisa says. We couldn’t agree more that this is the perfect pose to convey the sass you want to show off—just check out the post below from @HerCampusStyle for inspo.

Another popular pose is to show off your side profile. You can just look off to the side, like you’re watching all the cool people passing by, and when your friend snaps the shot, you’ll have a nice, candid-looking cool photo to post.

If you’re hoping to get some great pics with friends, candid is the way to go, too. Pictures of everyone smiling for the camera are nice, sure, but part of the appeal of music festivals is the energy, and you want to capture that in your shots. Try getting a pic of you laughing with your bestie, or of your whole friend group chowing down on something delicious from one of the food trucks. It’ll make your post more memorable, more exciting to look at, and more aesthetically interesting.

4. The background matters

Whichever festival you’re at, though, you want to make sure you get enough of the location in the frame; otherwise, how would people know you were there?

High Snobiety recommends taking photos in front of the art installations that some music festivals bring to the venues. Not only will this give you a chance to explore different parts of the festival in between sets, but it’ll add a nice and unique touch to all the regular old Instagram posts that are of campgrounds and stages.

Rhea takes matters into her own hands when dealing with how to frame a photo. "If someone else is taking a photo for you, I always take a picture of the framing I want (distance, angle, all posed correctly), show them, and then hop into the frame," she says. The extra preparation just might help you avoid becoming that "when I take photos for my friends vs. when they take photos for me" meme.

5. Avoid the zoom

Unless you’re an aspiring photographer with your own camera, chances are you’re doing most of your Instagram work on your smartphone camera. And even though phones keep making their cameras better and better, there are still some things you should avoid when using your phone to take concert photos.

For one, try to avoid zooming at all costs! We know it sucks that you were stuck standing so far from the stage, but while zooming might make your favorite performer appear a bit closer to you, it’s going to make your pic look grainy and blurry—aka, not something you’d want to share with your followers. Instead, if you’re stuck toward the back, try using the opportunity to get a cool crowd shot instead. Anyone who scrolls past your post on their feed will still see all the cool lights from the stage, and the crowd alone should be enough to give them major FOMO.

If you do get close enough to have a great shot of the performer, try to catch them in a candid moment just like you should with your friends—if you get them dancing, or jumping, or in the middle of a song, it’ll come across to your followers like they’re right there with you. And bringing people together is what music festivals are all about, right?

Have fun with these Insta tips! We hope you have a fun, ridiculous, memorable music festival weekend.