Top 5 Concert Photography Tips from Ricky Shoebio

Top 5 Concert Photography Tips from Ricky Shoebio

Posted by Images & Tips © Ricky Shoebio on 2024-06-21

Images & Tips © Ricky Shoebio

My biggest tips for my style of concert photography are feel, composition, rhythm, intention, and hero shots.

Tip #1)
What I mean by feel is, making sure to capture the feeling to the moment or performance. That can range from the emotion of the crowd, set list, or the artist in a given moment. Our responsibility as photographers when capturing shows is to amplify or showcase what it was like to experience that moment. You become an extention of the artist in that moment and that's how you make it special.

Tip #2)
Composition is the most obvious of the three, but can also be one of the more complex aspects. Depending on the show location or venue as house shows, arenas, festivals, etc all vary with how they are laid out. This can lead to moments where you have infinite nothing in your background for your performer. Whether that be sky (overcast or just blue) or black dropoff on the stage. Here is where being patient and moving your body rather than zooming in can make the difference in your shot. Using Pyro, Smoke, Rafters, Speakers, etc can all help with creating better framing for your composition.

Tip #3)
Rhythm is one that's also important. We aren't always going to be familiar with all the music of every artist we capture at a show. When we do know the music, it's great to understand the rises, changes, and breaks to when certain things are going to happen in the songs. When we don't, being "on beat" and getting into the pacing and enjoying the music itself will help to organically find good moments to capture your shot. I don't believe in shooting on burst mode so this is a bit of a backbone to my process at all times. Get into the music, enjoy the performance, and from there you will find a flow to the whole thing that will translate in the photos.

Tip #4)
Being intentional in your concert photography is on aspect that can make a huge difference in your photos. We typically think of shot lists for productions. But, having specific shots in mind when approaching shows can be a great tool too. When we have the moments and time to move around venues as we please it adds to the entire experience of the captures that much more. It shows different perspectives and vantage points of the show. The pits are great but if you can understand movement in the pit as well as outside of it, you can make something special.

Tip #5) 
Here is one of my favorite tips. Live shows have a beautiful aspect of making the artists we are fans of seem larger than life. They give the feel and presence of being almost super human in these moments. This is why I like to look to capture artists in ways that make them seem almost heroic when I can. Creating a photo that feels powerful, that makes the subject look and seem powerful, and that creates a feeling by the viewers is something to cherish.