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  • Writer's pictureJunior Jin

How To Professionally Behave During A Live Music Concerts Photography Set

As we’re halfway through 2024, I think it’s time to write about how I behave during the set when a band or artist books me in to photograph their set at a respective gig, doesn’t matter which venue. Most of what I’ve written are based on my own experiences whereas some come from some of the photographers I’ve observed first hand. Also to any photographers reading this article, I encourage you to do the same!

Across the entire set, I avoid any forms of headbanging, air drumming and foot tapping. I also avoid any forms of hair flicking up (like I’ve just finished tying a ponytail in my hair) or feet stamping. Thus, I refrain from doing occasional boxing and sparring jabs. Hence, I aim to stay out of the pushing/shoving in the mosh pit so my gear doesn’t accidentally get wrecked.


When a band prompts the crowd to get down, there’s 2 options out of this:

1) Get down with them and take the shots from the front

2) Move out of the way and capture the crowd shots

 

Courtesy and manners can get important, so when I’m moving to the next spot should it get busy, I say: “Sorry please, thank you.”

 

I put my phone away throughout the set so I can fully concentrate and focus behind the camera without getting distracted.

 

I don’t scroll through the images I’ve just taken to see if it’s in focus; it should be second nature for me to know whether the photo is in focus from behind the viewfinder / LED screen on my RP.

 

If a band performs a song I really like, original or cover, I use this opportunity to capture some action shots based on the music cues which I remember from listening in my free time. I contain my excitement and therefore, focus on the performer/s on stage.

Some venues does not allow you to go on stage. An example is Lazybones Lounge, where I kept it in mind after a band kindly told me about this crucial info back in 2021. So therefore, it adapted my critical thinking skills.

Factory Theatre is best for taking photos on stage. However, I ensure I watch out for any gear on stage. Thus, I maintain my balance so I don’t risk falling over by accident.

There are some venues which allow flash usage ie The Duke of Enmore and The Alley. Where possible, I aim the rectangle of my external flash towards the ceiling to minimise the risk of eye sting on the performers.


Some venues don’t allow flash usage which has therefore taught me to respect the venue rules and improvise with camera settings on the spot with critical thinking.

 

When the audience applauds after each song, I don’t slam my hands on the stage floor or ground sound speakers.

I try to be considerate of the audience who are watching when I’m at the front row. Where necessary, I aim to crouch down and aim my camera upwards for a more dynamic angle.


At any point during the set, I don’t change lens or go back to my camera bag. Not only does it eat up valuable time, it increases the potential risk of missing out on visual cues.

Resisting to having an exciting reaction to a song is a must; ie no going crazy during the scat part in “Freak On A Leash” by Korn and no fingers up during the “I won’t do what you tell me” in “Killing In The Name” by Rage Against The Machine.

 

Starting from the Black Cardinals 12/1/2024 Metro Theatre gig, I have adopted a new practice of wearing a plain black tee. When the weather’s cooler, I prefer to wear a black striped long sleeved tee. Darker clothing works best so you look like a shadow when you're moving around.


Thus, if you're gigging at a venue where you're privileged with a wristband or pass, that stays with you visible the whole time.

 

Last but not least, I aim to enjoy the gig with a smile!

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