How to Become a Concert Photographer

Concert photography is a thrilling and challenging field that combines two passions: music and photography. It’s a great way to capture the energy and excitement of live music performances and share them with the world.

In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know to get started on this exciting career path.

The first step in becoming a concert photographer is to attend concerts and familiarize yourself with the concert photography process. This can be done by attending small, local shows and taking pictures with your camera or smartphone.

Additionally, consider researching and studying the work of established concert photographers to gain insight into the craft.

Essential gear and skills

Once you’ve developed a basic understanding of concert photography, it’s time to invest in the right gear. Here are some essential pieces of equipment that every concert photographer needs:

  • Camera: The camera is the most important piece of equipment for a concert photographer. A camera with good low-light performance, high ISO capabilities, and fast autofocus is crucial for capturing fast-moving performers in challenging lighting conditions. DSLR or mirrorless cameras are popular choices.
  • Lens:A fast lens with a wide aperture is essential for concert photography. A lens with a wide aperture like f/2.8 or wider allows more light to enter the camera, which is important when shooting in low light conditions.
  • Memory cards: Concert photography requires a lot of storage space, so it’s important to have plenty of memory cards on hand. A fast and reliable memory card can help you capture more images without worrying about running out of space.
  • Batteries: Concerts can last for hours, so it’s important to have extra batteries on hand to ensure you don’t miss any important shots. A high-capacity battery can provide enough power to last through a long performance.
  • Earplugs: Concerts can be loud, so it’s important to protect your hearing with earplugs. A good pair of earplugs can reduce the volume of the music without distorting the sound.

In addition to the right gear, certain skills are also necessary for success in concert photography. These include:

  • Understanding Exposure: In concert photography, lighting conditions can vary widely, from bright stage lights to dark ambient lighting. Understanding how to properly expose your images in different lighting conditions is essential to getting a great shot. Shooting in manual mode and understanding the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is key to achieving the desired exposure. 
  • Anticipation: In concert photography, capturing the right moment is crucial, and that requires anticipation. A good concert photographer needs to be able to anticipate the movements of the performers and know when the perfect moment is about to happen. For example, knowing when a performer is about to jump, move around, or interact with the audience can help you get the perfect shot.
  • Composition: It’s important to pay attention to the placement of the performers, the lighting, and the overall scene to create visually appealing images. A basic understanding of the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing can help you create a balanced and aesthetically pleasing composition. 
  • Post-Processing: A basic understanding of editing software such as Lightroom or Photoshop is essential. This includes adjusting exposure, contrast, and saturation, cropping the image, and removing unwanted objects or blemishes. However, it’s important to keep in mind that post-processing should enhance the image, not alter it to the point where it no longer accurately reflects the performance.

Legal and ethical considerations

Before you start taking pictures at concerts, it’s important to understand the legal and ethical considerations of concert photography. This includes obtaining the necessary clearances and respecting the intellectual property rights of the artists.

  • Clearances: Before taking pictures at a concert, make sure to obtain the necessary clearances from the event organizer or the artist’s management team. This may involve signing a release form or obtaining a photo pass.
  • Intellectual property: Concert photographers must respect the intellectual property rights of the artists they are photographing. This means not using their images for commercial purposes without permission and giving proper credit when sharing their work online.

Building a concert photography portfolio

Building a strong portfolio is essential for success in concert photography. Here are some tips for creating a compelling concert photography portfolio:

  • Showcase your best work: Your portfolio should include your strongest and most compelling concert photographs.
  • Variety: Include a variety of shots, such as wide-angle shots of the stage, close-ups of the performers, and shots of the audience.
  • Consistency: Your portfolio should have a consistent style and aesthetic.

Networking and finding opportunities

Networking and building relationships with industry professionals are crucial for finding opportunities in concert photography. Here are some tips for networking and finding opportunities:

  • Social media: Use social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to showcase your work and connect with other photographers, event organizers, and music industry professionals.
  • Attend events: Attend music industry events, such as music festivals or album launch parties, to meet other professionals in the industry.
  • Build relationships: Building relationships with event organizers and artist management teams can lead to future opportunities in concert photography.

Marketing yourself as a concert photographer

Once you’ve built a portfolio and networked with industry professionals, it’s time to start marketing yourself as a concert photographer. Here are some tips for marketing yourself:

  • Create a website: A website is a great way to showcase your work and make it easily accessible to potential clients.
  • Use social media: Social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter are powerful tools for promoting your work and connecting with potential clients.
  • Attend events: Attend music industry events to network with industry professionals and showcase your work.
  • Collaborate: Collaborate with other professionals in the industry, such as graphic designers, music journalists, and event organizers, to expand your network and reach new clients.


Becoming a concert photographer is a thrilling and challenging career path that requires a combination of technical skill, creativity, and business acumen. By starting with small shows, investing in the right gear, understanding the legal and ethical considerations of concert photography, building a strong portfolio, networking with industry professionals, and marketing yourself effectively, you can turn your passion for music and photography into a successful career.

With dedication and hard work, you can join the ranks of some of the most respected and celebrated concert photographers in the industry.