Recently had the awesome opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic to shoot some photos for Hard Rock Hotel All Inclusive. This particular trip was even better because it was planned specifically during the weekend of appearances by Snoop Dogg, A$AP Rocky, and Rihanna. So I was there to not only take photos of the property, but of these shows. I had taken some concert photos before, but nothing of this size and notoriety. Every photo session of every type is a learning experience, no matter how may times I've done it - this trip was no different. In the end, I was really satisfied with the shots I got and even got a lot of them published on the website of The Source. They were even featured on the front page. To view the direct links to the published work, click here and here.
Here are some notes I've kept in mind before and after the trip about concert photography:
- Be prepared for low lighting so bring gear to reflect that
- Concert crowds can be very, very tough to navigate around if there isn't an area for photographers
- Be assertive when trying to get your position - the camera is often a symbol of authority
- Don't get distracted from your main assignment - fans at the show will often ask you to take their photo, if you're not there for that, stay focused on your shots
- Get every aspect of the concert if you can - I was not expecting Snoop to have to walk through a part of the floor to get to the stage, but the shot of him offstage is perhaps my favorite
- Don't burden yourself too much with excessive gear - decide what you need and only bring that because you'll be dealing with a lot of bodies around you. A tripod is most likely out of the question but a monopod might work. However, bring small things that you'll need on the fly for back up like memory cards, batteries, cloths, etc.
- Anticipate movement and concert setups as best you can - if you've been to enough shows, you'll vaguely understand how a performer works the stage so you'll want to be in the right place and ready to snap when they pull their signature dance move or bring a fan on stage.
- Research the artist - get to know their songs and style so you have an idea of what to expect. This way, you can capture their tone, personality, and essence. Some artists are very improvised and loose, while others are meticulously choreographed.