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When people ask me what makes me smile my standard answers are cooking great food for friends or family, planning a trip somewhere new, and catching a band I love live. Concerts are a happy place for me. When I’m headed to a concert, the music, lights, and performance are all part of the excitement. Photographing the event is essential to ensure that you remember the night. If you want to improve the quality of your photos, there are a few essential tips to follow.

Focus on the Light
Although some concerts can be dim, you’ll need to focus on the amount of light that is available to ensure that you get a great shot and allow the image to look visually appealing. Look around and know where the light is coming from and how it falls on the stage to determine the right angle that you’ll need to get. The light should cause the subject to stand out on stage to ensure that your focal point is easy to see. Crank up your ISO and widen your aperture. Even if your flash could reach the stage, it’s not cool to blind the performers!

Remember That Less is More
When it comes to concert photography, less is more when taking great pictures. Make it a point to keep the gear kit to a minimum because you won’t necessarily use all of it when shooting photos. If you have a lot of gear packed, it can make it challenging to find what you need, which can mean missing out on a great picture when the moment is right. Packing too much equipment can also mean risking that it becomes stolen or lost as you’re distracted when taking photos.

Practice Patience
Practicing patience is key to ensure that you can get a great shot and don’t rush the process. Allow yourself to take the time to observe what is going on onstage. You may see the potential of a great shot, which will require that you want until the right moment before taking the picture. Remain where you are and wait for the musicians to walk to a specific part of the stage or make a particular move instead of trying to change where you’re positioned. Part of getting great concert photos is having patience and closely observing the actions of those who are on the stage.

Establish Trust
If you have the chance, establish trust with the subjects to ensure that they allow you to get near or on the stage when taking the pictures. Network and make friends with security while respecting the musicians’ space to ensure you’re given more freedom.