Concert photography is an entertaining activity that many professional photographers enjoy. And, after all, what’s there not to like? You get a nice badge, meet amazing people, and get to see the artists for free, with front-row seats.
However, if it’s your first time shooting at a concert, the experience can be overwhelming as well. Experienced photographers already know their way around the photo pit, and, as you get there, you will see there are lots of unwritten rules you had no idea existed.
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Concert Photography Etiquette
Worry not, as learning the hooks of these events comes with the experience. Still, we know how overwhelming things can get for novice concert photographers, so here are a few etiquette rules that should make things easier for you.
Always have your confirmation email on hand
When you arrive to pick up your press accreditation, your name will likely be on the list already. However, the event organizers may want to see your driver’s license or any form of ID to make sure you are who you claim to be.
Often, they will also ask to see the confirmation email to rule out any potential mishaps, and the last thing you want is to not be able to prove that you have a legit reason to enter the media pit. This can be avoided if you print out your confirmation email or have it on your phone.
Stash your gear away in a safe place
Photographers often have to carry their gear in huge bags to fit all their lenses, tripods, and more. While necessary, these bags often take up space, which is why some media pits have specially designated places where photographers can stash their gear to free up space in the pit. The problem with these equipment-designated places is that you will often end up with 10 identical photographer bags in one single place – a recipe for disaster.
One thing you can do is personalize your bag so that you can easily recognize it, but you may also want to consider insuring your gear. Just as there is DJ equipment insurance, there is photography equipment insurance as well, which should cover your expensive gear in case of damage or theft.
Be mindful of everyone else at the event as well
If you want to start on the right foot, you need to be mindful of everyone at the event, including the staff, the security, and the fans.
If event staff gives you specific instructions, make sure to follow their words – you can have your press pass taken away at any moment if not. When it comes to security, be smart and learn to read the room. If you see security walking towards you rapidly and you know you did nothing wrong, get out of the way – they are likely going to stop a stage diver or someone that’s threatening the safety of the event.
As for the fans, know that they are the ones paying the tickets and making this event possible, so be respectful and kind. Don’t shoot with your camera too high, as not to obstruct their view, and don’t get too annoyed if they ask for a photo – it’s only natural they want to create memories.