How to Hit the Right Shot: Concert Photography Tips from ASH FOX

With hoards of eager fans pressing against you, low light conditions and such energetic performers, snapping the perfect picture at a concert has never been easy. Capturing the mood, energy and feel of both the audience and the performer can be challenging, but a good concert photograph can also serve as the perfect reminder of your great night.

Photo by Monika Haebich

Low lighting is always one of the biggest challenges that any photographer faces at a concert. Although a low ISO value will give you higher quality photographs, it will also lead to blurry photographs. Blurring the motion of the performers can be a good way to capture movement; however, most often, it is easier to use a higher ISO at the small price of a grainier photograph. Converting the picture from color to grayscale can also be a good way to hide noise resulting from a high ISO value.

Writer Monika Haebich's picture of DJ Ashba of Guns N' Roses playing at the House of Blues in Atlantic City

Another way to improve your photographs is to always observe and attempt to predict lighting. Concert lights often move in patterns, and watching and predicting the lights are good ways to ensure that the subject of your photograph is properly lit. Although the moving lights will act as yet another challenge, they can also result in much more dynamic and aesthetically appealing photographs. Using lighting to create silhouettes of the artist, for example, is another way to create a more interesting photograph.

Writer Monika Haebich's photograph of Brian Newman

ASH FOX, blogger and photographer, was also kind enough to give Her Campus UPenn some of her best concert photography tips. She advised photographers to “find a spot early before the show starts to stake out the best spot in the venue. If you're being hired by the band or if you're a friend of the band, ask permission to get physically onstage and spend time shooting from there. You'll get some of the best shots and a different view than any of the other photographers or the audience taking pics on their iPhones.”

Ash Fox’s photograph of Tommy London of the Dirty Pearls at Luc Carl’s Drunk Diet Release Party (Here are tips from Luc Carl on how to stay drunk and lose weight)

If that isn’t possible, ASH suggested sticking to one location throughout the show, stating, "if you move you might lose your sweet spot. You might not get the most variety in angles, but you can still experiment with focal lengths and focus on the expressions of the artist. You can still get a lot of variety in your images even if you’re limited to a small space to shoot.”

Photography by Ash Fox

Her last piece of advice was to have fun. “Don't be afraid to jive to the music. It's OK to dance while you're shooting. I find it helps me get into the groove, and I'm sometimes unaware of it. Fully immersing myself in the experience and trying to experience the show both as a fan and as a professional helps me take better shots. Grooving to the music also helps you get into the rhythm of the performers and sense when a crescendo moment is about to happen.”