Jared Polin scored a paid gig photographing Macklemore in concert. Lucky for us, he filmed his experience using a GoPro mounted above a Canon 1D X, which he was using for the first time. Along with the high-end camera, use of the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens helped the photographer capture tack sharp focus and accurate colors. See a photographer in action as Polin narrates the video he created during Macklemore’s three song set to give us an insider’s perspective of concert photography:
Polin’s experiences from the pit give valuable tips to concert photography novices:
- Position yourself on the opposite side of stage of the hand that holds the mic in order to get clear shots of the subject’s face.
- Find an open space to stand. In this case, the photographer stood next to a person doing video, because he knew no one would be standing nearby.
- Wait for the performer’s microphone to be away from his or her mouth.
- Protect your gear. Turn your back if the musician throws water from the stage.
- Work around speakers and other obstructions by waiting for the subject to be in just the right place.
- If the musician is wearing sunglasses, look for opportunities to capture his or her face when the glasses are removed.
- Move up to a higher position when you see a musician moving off of the stage and into the crowd. Be sure to move back down as soon as you see the musician turning to return to the stage.
- Step back and zoom in so you’re not shooting directly up at the subject. It’s difficult to get a good view of face when you’re too close to the stage and below the performer.
- Bring a step stool when possible.
At the end of the video, Polin discusses his editing decisions. Though he shot 240 frames during the set, he narrowed his final image choices down to just eight to ten shots. Choosing photos that all capture a different scene and pose creates the kind of well-rounded cross-section of the entire event that publishers are looking for.
Jared Polin’s commentary offers information and advice that many professional photographers don’t want share. By taking these tips and first-hand experiences to heart, you can improve your success rate with concert photography.
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