How to Shoot Stage Shows – Tips and Tricks

By chirag
In tech
Jun 27th, 2011

On stage photography can be a hefty task but its more or less great fun. You get to interact with the band and get the feel of the music closer than anybody there. Skipping out on the much banal intros , I’d like to share some tips that helped me click some of my favourites ….

1. ) As a person well acquainted with the guitar and the whole band concept its relatively easy for me to picturise what all angles give you a great shot .     So before you start , just google your favourite band and see how they’ve been clicked by the pros. Trust me it helps.
2.) Interact with the band before you get onstage with them , so that they feel comfortable around you and you’re not just another random guy clicking them.
3.)For acts just starting out, tell the band that their stage presence is VERY essential , If the vocalist/guitarist is standing like a dumbass because he didn’t get any last night, it’ll shatter the whole outlook of the band both from the audience and the photographs.
4.) Sometimes , you don’t get the opportunity to get on stage. Accept the fact that you’re not that pro,nobody is paying you 10/20 grand to click … Stop cribbing about that fact and get a good zoom lens / a camera with a great zoom . That’ll do the job.
5.) Okay , now you’re on stage. The prime most thing to consider is not to obstruct the band in their playing. You don’t want to be right next to the vocalist , figuring out angles and the next thing you know you just got socked by him cause he just got the feel and started head bangin’ . Also if its not so a metal concert , I’d still advise you not to stand too close cause its not justified. A perfect photograph is important but not at the cost of their performance.
6.) At a low budget concert , the lighting is generally really poor. The guitarist and the vocalist would be in the spot light but the bassist , drummer and keyboardist … Not so much . Buying an external flash is handy but if you’re running low on resources just get some tissues and place them on your camera’s inbuilt flash. That avoids the harsh light and you’re good to go.
7.) Okay from personal experience , the drummer is the hardest to click . I pity the poor guy whom the audience is unable to see and just kept at the back of the stage. So its your job to get good shots of him and keep him alive in the show . If you’re onstage , then it won’t be an issue . If you’re not , the only option I can imagine is getting a good zoom and just pray that the lighting is nice.
8.) As a guitarist , I’d love to see a pic of mine doing a solo with string bending / taps / anything that looks super cool. So whenever the solo is on , no one is more important than the guy moving down the axe . So that’s where you want to be …
9.) The equipment on the stage can help you get some really classic shots . So keep an eye out for the expensive gears out there …
10.) The music being played on stage really helps set your mood. And that mood is reflected in your pictures .. So just pick up your camera , get the feel of the stage , listen and start clicking. It’s more fun than a job.