The best part about concert photography is that with the smartphones out today, literally anyone can leave a concert with epic photos to share with their friends.

Even professional photographers, like our good friend Nubbs, reach for their cell phones nowadays:

At any given concert I have two DSLRs and a point-and-shoot on me and ready to go. Still, I find myself reaching for my iPhone throughout the show and have pulled some of my personal favorite photos from it.

If you’re looking for simple photos to share with friends, thinking about how to get even more out of your concert-going experience, or looking to start a career in concert photography, we’ve got six tips on getting the most out of your shots.

Concert Photography 101

Concert Photography
9:30 Club — Nubbs Photography


Angles are a big one. Are you going to do the same shot as most, with a straight-on shot of the entire stage; or are you going to angle your phone a bit to make your concert photography stand out? Changing the angle can change everything. Consider not only angling your phone when taking shots but in the after-effects as well (which we’ll talk about below).

TL;DR: Just because it’s level doesn’t mean it’s right.

Concert Photography
Baby’s All Right — Nubbs Photography


Explore the space. Not all concert photography needs to be of the band, and if it is, you can switch it up between the instruments, the equipment, the crowd, and the venue itself. Even when the band isn’t playing you can create a piece of art.

TL;DR: Just because the band is in it doesn’t mean it’s good.

Concert Photography
O.A.R. — Nubbs Photography


So much of the concert photography out there is the same shot. Find new and interesting views of the stage and really see what distance can do to your photo. Are you zooming in on the guitarist? The drummer? A singer? Are you right up front or way in the back? What is the view from the balcony?

TL;DR: Just because you’re close doesn’t mean you’re on top of it.

concert photography
Fiction of the Future — Nubbs Photography (on an iPhone)


Lighten up. Or get darker… I know, that sounds weird, but so much of a good shot is in how it’s lit. Sometimes, there’s the perfect intersection of light and dark and it changes the picture into something magical. Concert photography isn’t all about everyone being lit up like a Christmas tree. Think about the dark spaces in photos, the lights, and what can be done with the photo after the fact.

TL;DR: Just because your photo is lit up doesn’t mean your photo is lit.

Concert Photography
Firefly Festival — Nubbs Photography (on an iPhone)

After Effects

“The best advice I can give for getting good phone photos is to get to the event early and get along the rail and try to get angles and perspectives that are different from everyone else out there. Oh and get some type of editing app. Straight out of camera is overrated.” – Nubbs

Every once in a while, you’re going to take a photo that is gorgeous. It’s everything you’ve always wanted in your concert photography career. But most of the time, this is just not the case. If it’s investing in something hardcore like Adobe Photoshop, or just downloading some cool photo-editing app, try a few out and take your photos to the next level. It could be as little of a change as color to black and white.

TL;DR: Just because it’s good doesn’t mean it can’t be better.

Concert Photography
The Meadows Festival — Nubbs Photography


At the end of the day, concert photography is your oyster and you need to open it up. Try a lot of things, and then try some more. Experiment with everything. You don’t even know what you don’t know, so try a few of the things above, search the web for more, then search the venue for new ways to make what you love even better.

TL;DR: Just because you did something once doesn’t mean you need to do it again.

How do you do concert photography? Share with us on Twitter, we’d love to check out your stuff!

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