In todays digital world, I find as a professional photographer, more and more barriers are being put in the way of taking photographs. Try putting up a tripod in London, taking an SLR into a small gig. I have found that the law is not understood by security guards or some members of our police forces so how do you get the pictures you want of the band you have come to see.
First of all pick the events that you go to, I recently had the pleasure of going to the Harlequin Fayre to listen and photograph the 3 Beards. Now here is a very chilled festival with plenty of easy access to the band and no photographers pit and no three songs rule. Trying to use a large SLR with battery pack and long lenses can be difficult in a crowded gig. So if this is not possible have a look at a smaller camera, for me it is the Sony range of cameras. I now use the NEX 7 a fantastic small camera that fits in a pocket and has a huge pixel count and is great at high ISO. Not only is it small but people stop assuming you are a professional photographer!
Now easy enough to photograph them practicing the light was good and they don’t mind me in their faces!
Now one has to consider how you are going to take pictures of the band as they perform, It will be dark other than stage lights and do you use flash or not?
Flash unless properly used will not give great pictures as it tends to burn out the atmosphere of the picture as shown below.
Therefore you need to try to get the highest shutter speed you can and keep the camera as still as possible. Use both your arms and brace them to your body so that you become a tripod and try to take pictures after you have breathed out to make your self as steady as possible.
Look for the ISO controls on your camera and set this to 1600 and then set the camera to A mode and the lowest number you have for your lens, which will be 2.8, 3.5, 4 or 5.6. Also set your camera to the highest picture quality that you can. You are now ready to shoot, find a good position by the stage and follow the flow of the performance and you will get better pictures:
As you can see it is possible to get the pictures that you want without flash. You can also get the atmosphere of the event conveyed in a photograph as these next pictures show.
I hope that this gives you all an idea of how to get better pictures at the gigs that you go to.
Good luck but if you have any questions do come back to me at www.piersphoto.com
Just check out the 3 Beards if you want to see a band that enjoy themselves