It’s not easy to take a great punk rock show photograph. It’s hard to get the right lighting, composition and angle. And if you need some help, here are 27 easy tips you can use when taking pictures at any punk rock show.
Top Punk Concert Photography Tips
1) Bring a flash – they work wonders in low light conditions.
2) Bring two cameras – they reduce the chance of a bad photograph.
3) Be inconspicuous – no one likes a photographer who’s in everyone’s face. Refrain from taking flash photographs if you’re close to the stage and try not to stand in front of people watching the show. Move through the crowd slowly and don’t push ahead or hang back.
4) Be quick – don’t dilly dally at shows, the band won’t wait for you!
5) Make eye contact with the band members – they’re more likely to smile and interact with you.
6) Don’t be afraid to take photos during an encore – most bands are happy to be photographed at this point because they know that everyone else is going to take pictures of them.
7) Try not to cover your flash with your hand – it leaves a shadow on your photograph.
8) Take a photo of the band as they walk off stage – you’ll have a chance to look at them and get some natural expressions.
9) Try to stay in front of the band as they walk off stage for a great angle.
10) Watch for signs about photography restrictions and be mindful of any restrictions.
11) Keep your camera close to your eye and hold it as steady as you can.
12) Don’t use a flash when shooting at a show – you might not get any candid shots. If you have to use a flash, be prepared to put your camera down and wait for an appropriate time.
13) Bring some spare batteries and make sure they’re charged. Batteries in your camera will run out over the course of the show or poor lighting conditions will drain them faster.
14) Don’t try to shoot every song – you won’t get a lot of great shots and you might miss some action.
15) Try not to use a flash during the first few songs – the band will probably be more relaxed and there are better lighting conditions at the beginning of a show. Save your flash for later in the show when it’s darker, if at all.
16) Don’t flash the entire crowd – only take close up photographs of the band or a small group of enthusiastic fans.
17) Watch out for security guards – they’ll confiscate your camera if they find you’ve taken photos and they can ban you from future shows. Don’t be afraid to ask them what’s allowed before taking any pictures.
18) Keep good eye contact with security guards – they’re more understanding if you’re open about your intentions.
19) If you can, get a photo pass – it’s almost impossible to get great shots at shows without one. It’s worth paying extra money if the bands you want to shoot are selling photo passes at the door.
20) Be courteous of other photographers – don’t try to take their shots or stick your camera in their frame.
21) Take photos of the crowd – they’re often more colourful and interesting than the band. The show isn’t just about the band, so make sure you capture your experience!
22) Get a good spot early on or get there early to avoid a lineup wait.
23) Don’t stand in front of people – move through the crowd slowly and give people a chance to leave if they want to.
24) Use a zoom lens – it’ll help you get a clear shot without being right up front.
25) Bring a monopod – your camera won’t be as easy to hold if you’re already holding something like a beer or camera bag.
Tip 26) Only use the largest aperture on your lens when you’re shooting at a show. If you have to adjust exposure, do it with the lowest f-stop number and the same amount of light.
27) Stand near a wall – it’ll help you capture candid images if shooting a club venue.
Be determined to get great shots at punk rock shows, but don’t be standoffish or pushy. If you’re polite and courteous, the other people around you are more likely to respect your space and leave you be. Be bold and brave, but know when to back down from a situation.