Capturing the energy and essence of a live concert can be a thrilling experience, and having the right camera can make all the difference. If you’re a proud owner of the Sony A7s, you already possess a powerful tool for low-light photography – a crucial feature when shooting concerts. In this guide, we’ll explore tips and techniques to help you get lucky and capture stunning concert pictures with your Sony A7s.

  1. Know Your Gear: Before diving into the concert photography world, familiarize yourself with your Sony A7s. Understand its settings, buttons, and menu options. The A7s excels in low-light conditions, thanks to its impressive low-light sensitivity, so take advantage of this feature by exploring the ISO settings and experimenting in different lighting scenarios.
  2. Fast Lenses are Your Allies: Concerts are dynamic, and lighting conditions can change rapidly. Invest in fast lenses with wide apertures, such as a 50mm f/1.8 or a 24-70mm f/2.8. These lenses allow more light to reach the camera sensor, enabling you to maintain faster shutter speeds and freeze the action on stage.
  3. Mastering Manual Mode: While the A7s has advanced auto modes, learning to shoot in manual mode gives you greater control over your exposure settings. Adjust your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO based on the specific lighting conditions of each concert venue. Manual mode ensures you capture the mood and atmosphere without the camera making unwanted exposure adjustments.
  4. Embrace High ISO Values: The Sony A7s is renowned for its exceptional low-light performance, so don’t hesitate to push the ISO values. Higher ISO settings allow you to maintain faster shutter speeds in low-light conditions, reducing the risk of motion blur in your shots. Experiment with different ISO levels during soundchecks or quieter moments to find the sweet spot for your camera.
  5. Shoot in RAW: Concert venues often have challenging lighting situations, with intense spotlights and dark shadows. Shooting in RAW format preserves more information in your images, providing greater flexibility during post-processing. This ensures you can salvage details from underexposed or overexposed areas, delivering professional-looking results.
  6. Focus on Autofocus: The A7s features reliable autofocus capabilities, but in the dynamic environment of a concert, it’s crucial to master your camera’s autofocus settings. Experiment with continuous autofocus modes and different focus area options to ensure your camera can track moving performers accurately.
  7. Capture the Atmosphere: Concert photography is not just about the artists; it’s about capturing the overall atmosphere. Include shots of the audience, the venue’s unique architecture, and the interplay of lights and shadows. These shots add depth to your collection and tell a more complete story of the concert experience.
  8. Positioning and Composition: Explore different vantage points to find the best angles for your shots. Get up close to the stage for intimate shots of performers, but also step back to capture wider scenes that showcase the entire stage and crowd. Experiment with framing and composition to create visually compelling images.


Owning a Sony A7s opens up a world of possibilities for concert photography. By understanding your camera, investing in the right lenses, and mastering the art of low-light shooting, you can increase your chances of getting lucky shots that truly capture the magic of live performances. So, gear up, familiarize yourself with your A7s, and get ready to document the energy, passion, and excitement of the next concert you attend.


Concert photography is an electrifying art form that allows photographers to encapsulate the essence of live music performances in a single frame. It’s a thrilling blend of technical skill, creativity, and the ability to capture fleeting moments of raw emotion. In this blog post, we’ll explore the most important aspects of concert photography, offering insights into the techniques, equipment, and mindset needed to excel in this captivating genre.

  1. Technical Proficiency

Concert photography demands technical proficiency, as it often involves capturing fast-moving subjects in challenging lighting conditions. A solid understanding of manual camera settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, is crucial to adapt to varying stage lights and achieve stunning shots. Pre-concert preparation, including checking venue lighting and scouting for ideal shooting locations, can significantly enhance the quality of your work.

  1. Timing and Anticipation

Timing is everything in concert photography. Anticipating the peak moments of a performance allows photographers to immortalize the artists’ passion, the crowd’s excitement, and the synergy between them. Capturing an artist mid-leap or a guitarist shredding their instrument requires a keen eye and the ability to react quickly to the unfolding spectacle.

  1. Storytelling through Images

Concert photography is more than just capturing musicians on stage; it’s about telling a story. A series of photographs should reflect the energy of the concert, the connection between the performers and their audience, and the emotions shared during the event. A well-composed sequence of shots can transport viewers to the heart of the concert, even if they weren’t physically present.

  1. Respect for Artists and Audience

As a concert photographer, respect for the artists and the audience is paramount. Avoid being intrusive or disruptive during performances. Remember that you are capturing intimate moments of vulnerability, passion, and creativity. Building a rapport with the artists and the crew can also lead to unique opportunities and a deeper understanding of the music scene.

  1. Creativity and Style

Concert photography offers a canvas for photographers to infuse their artistic style and creativity. Experimenting with different angles, perspectives, and post-processing techniques can lead to unique and visually captivating images. However, it’s essential to maintain a balance between creativity and authenticity, ensuring that the images genuinely represent the essence of the performance.

  1. Equipment Essentials

While creativity is essential, having the right equipment is equally vital. A fast and reliable DSLR or mirrorless camera with good low-light performance and high ISO capabilities is a must. Fast lenses, such as a wide-aperture prime or zoom lens, enable capturing sharp images in low light. Additionally, spare batteries, memory cards, and a sturdy tripod are essential tools for any concert photographer.

  1. Managing Photo Rights and Etiquette

Understanding photo rights and etiquette is crucial when it comes to concert photography. Different venues and artists may have specific rules and restrictions regarding photography. Always seek permission and adhere to the guidelines to avoid any legal issues and maintain a positive relationship with the artists and their management.


Concert photography is a thrilling and demanding art form that requires technical expertise, creative vision, and a deep appreciation for music and performance. It’s about capturing the magic of live events, freezing moments of passion, and telling powerful stories through images. By mastering the technical aspects, embracing creativity, and respecting artists and audiences, concert photographers can create breathtaking photographs that transcend time and allow others to experience the euphoria of live music, one frame at a time.

Concert photography can be a fun and rewarding hobby or profession, but it can also be challenging and fast-paced. Here are some steps to get started with concert photography:

  1. Learn the basics of photography: It’s important to have a solid understanding of photography principles such as composition, exposure, and lighting. Consider taking a photography course or workshop to learn the fundamentals.
  2. Invest in equipment: You’ll need a camera with a fast shutter speed and a lens with a wide aperture to capture sharp, well-exposed images in low light conditions. A telephoto lens can also be useful for capturing close-up shots of performers.
  3. Find concerts to photograph: Look for local concerts or events featuring bands or artists that you enjoy. Many smaller venues and local bands are happy to have photographers cover their shows.
  4. Get permission: Before you start taking photos, make sure you have permission from the venue and the performers. Some venues may require you to have a media pass or credential to photograph the show.
  5. Practice: The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Consider attending local concerts or events to hone your skills and get comfortable shooting in a live environment.
  6. Edit and share your photos: After the concert, edit and select your best shots and share them on social media or on your own website. You can also reach out to the bands or venue to see if they’re interested in using your photos.

The Best Camera Settings for Concerts

Today I’m going to explain the best camera settings for concert photography. Concert photography is one of the more challenging types of photography. You have very difficult lighting, a lot of moving subjects. One of the best things you can do to ensure your concert photos are as awesome as you want them to be is to make sure your camera settings are optimized for concerts. The first and most important thing you need to do is get your camera ready to focus and capture the action. First, let’s discuss the focus mode. There are two basic focusing methods that all cameras have, which are the default focusing action and then continuous focus. Single Shot focus is where you half-press the shutter button to acquire focus and then for as long as you hold the shutter button and half-press, the focus will not change regardless of whether or not the subject moves with a single shot if you want to readjust focus, shutter button and then half-press it again to reacquire focus. Single Shot focus is not good for concert photography. Therefore you need to use some form of continuous focus.

Continuous focus is exactly what it sounds like the camera instead of blocking focus on a point in space instead it looks at the subject in the scene. As the subject moves, the camera continuously adjusts the focus to keep the subject in focus. Most modern cameras have a few different continuous focus options. Typically a standard continuous tracking is continuous. Now I cannot tell you which one of these to use because how well they work will vary from camera to camera. Instead what you will need to do is a test for different continuous and tracking focus modes to see which one gives you the best performance with whatever continuous focus option you use. You still have to be sure that the camera is continuously focusing where you want to focus. This brings us to the next setting you want to set which is your focus point. This again will vary from camera to camera. But you typically have three options to use with continuous focus. Those options are a single focus point, a grouping of focus points, or face or eye focus. For Concerts, I recommend a single point or a group and I recommend you avoid face or eye protection. Here’s why. Face for eye detection can be great when say you’re tracking the lead singer and they are moving across the stage and passing in front of the performer’s face. The camera sees the bass player’s face and thinks it should track that face and in doing so, stops focusing on the lead singer which is the actual subject.

Photos through the ages

When you see videos of the early developers of photography, it is pretty funny especially in light of photography today. In those old movies, to get a picture, the camera was as big as a computer is today. The photographer had to put his head under a sheet and hold up a huge tripod which exploded with smoke and fumes to make the flash.

Today photography could not be more different. In the movies, we used to be astonished when spies had cameras in their watches or the soles of their shoes. But now it is common for almost everyone to have a camera in their phone and to be able to pull it out and snap a photo virtually anywhere.

Let’s fill in a few gaps. We can go back to the origins of the language to find that the word photography began in the Greek times and it literally means drawing with light. But the actual science of photography did not really take off until the 1800ís in this country when a fellow by the name of John Hershel applied the words photography, positives and negatives to the task of producing pictures. We had negatives of our photos from then until the dawn of digital photography in the last few years.

For most of us, though, the company Eastman Kodak is probably the one we associate most with the early developments of photography. And it was the early pioneer of photography, George Eastman that made the first advancements on the primitive methods being used until his work in 1839. A little trivia? Eastman made the name Kodak up because he wanted his company name to begin with a K.

The developments began to come along pretty routinely as photography began to mature and become more sophisticated. Color photography was developed in 1861 by a scientist named James Clark Maxwell. Up until then all photographs were black and white or monochrome. Color photography was a huge leap forward but it really did not start to move into the public arena until two brothers named Lumiere in 1907 invented the color plate.

Over the decades to follow, photography moved forward steadily and moved out of the world of science and then journalism and into each of our homes. But the revolution that has turned photography into what we know it to be today occurred in 1981 when Sony invented the first camera that worked without film. The digital age was upon us.

It was Kodak that again got the lead on the marketplace by getting the first digital camera out on the market in 1990 when they developed the Kodak DCS 100. As with all technology, early digital cameras were large (by today’s standards) and much more expensive than we are used to now.

Innovation in the field of photography has continued to march almost as fast as people could keep up. When digital cameras were offered that gave us a port to be able to download them to our computers, the internet explosion of imagery was fueled.

Further development coming virtually every year since 1990 included the rapid and phenomenal expansion of memory in digital cameras along with the concept of swappable storage drives. This changed the way people took pictures because now the number of pictures someone could take was virtually limitless. The expansion of memory also gave developers the ability to add video capture to the same devices as were used for photography so that virtually anyone could become a cameraman with that tiny camera that could by this time fit in their shirt pocket. Much of the fun of internet sites like YouTube can be attributed to the ability of the average citizen to take video anywhere, anytime and at no cost to them.

The photography and video industry has had to do a lot of adjusting to learn how to service this market that was changing at speeds unimaginable by George Eastman a century before. The affordable availability of quality color printers that enabled people to print their photographs at home was a boon to the amateur camera buff but a blow to the photography industry.

But to their credit, the industry has kept up. But we can be sure that the developments are just getting underway. Who knows what new technical wizardry is ahead for the photography world. It is sure to be a fun ride, no matter what the future holds.
Best Cameras for Concert Photography

Concerts with Changing Lights

Tips when lights are changing

When photographing live performances in small venues where the lighting changes continuously, try using Manual Exposure and Auto ISO Sensitivity Control. Auto ISO Sensitivity Control allows the camera to adjust ISO sensitivity automatically if optimal exposure cannot be achieved at the value currently selected by the user.

To use Auto ISO Sensitivity Control, go to the Photo shooting menu and select Auto ISO sensitivity control in ISO sensitivity settings. Highlight On and press Ok. Choose the maximum sensitivity. Let’s try ISO 12800. This lets the camera raise ISO sensitivity as high as 12800 if required. Next, adjust shutter speed and aperture. You’ll probably want to set shutter speed fast enough to help avoid motion blur. Here, we shot in Manual Exposure mode, at a shutter speed of 1/160 of a second and an aperture of F4. This feature, which takes advantage of the high ISO sensitivities offered by digital SLRs, will help you get shots that perfectly capture your creative intent.

As found on Youtube

Concert Photography

Part One


I get a lot of requests to talk about concert photography so I decided to find some existing video that has already been created on the subject.

Anthony Morganti has made a three-part miniseries on concert photography.

In the first part he talks about why you might want to become a concert photographer and what you could expect to gain from it and how you would go about doing it. In part two he talks about equipment and the settings for the equipment and in part three you are going to actually process a few images and find out why would you want to become a concert photographer. Here is a transcript of what Anthony has to say:

This is probably very personal and it’s different for just about everyone, I only could speak from my own perspective I’ve always been a lover of music and years ago when I was really starting out as a professional photographer I decided I wanted to be a concert photographer.

I looked into all different ways to getting access to venues, when I figured out how it’s done and I actually got in, I was able to take pictures of a performer or a band and now I had these images what do you do with them?

Well what’s the part what can you expect to gain from it?  I’ll tell you right off the bat you’re probably not going to make a living at it, it’s not the type of photography usually that a photographer could make a living, yet there’s a few that do it. I mean it is possible but it’s very difficult and I would say don’t expect to make a lot of money from it, what you’ll find is that it might not even be worth the actual time that you spend doing it, you could make money doing other things in photography so to be a concert photographer it’s really about the love of the art the love of doing it you love the music you love taking the pictures and you love that type of photography.

If that is you then you should be a concert photographer and try it out. How do you gain access to the venue’s?

Well there’s three different ways to actually do it and this first way is fading out a little bit, meaning in the past I could contact a venue itself and I could say, you know that you have YouTube playing on this night I’d like a Press Pass to take pictures of the band, they could give you a press pass and they might ask you who you’re working for. That pass may give access to take pictures of the band usually for the first three songs. That way is drying up that’s because many bands now are very protective of their brand they brand their image and they don’t want somebody else giving a photographer access to take their pictures. They want to grant the permission, they don’t want the venue to do it so most national acts particularly world acts you’re not going to be able to do it that way.

You might be able to do it for local bands in local venues, you may know a band coming through that’s not really a national band they just have maybe a local CD or EP out. You probably will be able to get in to take their picture and to tell you the truth most of those bands would be flattered that they have a photographer there to take their picture.

So that is probably the only way you’d be able to do it with these smaller local bands. The second way is you could actually embed yourself with the band meaning you befriend a band and you become their photographer and they’re going out on tour and you’re going to take pictures of them when they’re eating dinner when they’re traveling on their tour bus or their tour van you’re going to take pictures of them when they’re just hanging out playing playing, you’re going to take pictures of them when they’re performing.

You’re probably not going to be able to call up Bruce Springsteen and say; “I want to be a tour photographer for you” and he’s going to say “sure come on in”.

No you’re going to have to start out small, you’re gonna have to start out with that local band. The ones who might have a local gig or they’re going on in this mini tour where they’re doing a few cities in their state or area, they’re going to be traveling in a van and you’re going to get to tag along with them and do these images you’re probably not going to get paid for.

It’s a matter of fact you’re probably going to have to foot your own bill pay for your own meals and things like that, but the hope is that this band makes it big, you’re their buddy and you keep going on and you hopefully get employed by them eventually to become their official photographer.

The third way is probably the most popular way, you contact a band that is going to be coming into your city to play a show, you usually would go through the website and you’d look for either the band management or their publicist and you would fire off an email to them.

You would say that you’re requesting a press pass. Now the way to do it is you want to make the email short as possible because these people are busy. To tell you the truth you’re a necessary evil they don’t really don’t want to be bothered with, so try to be as professional, short and to the point in the email as possible, in the subject line put a press pass request, add the city so let’s say it’s Buffalo press pass request Buffalo New York and put the date of the show August 14 2016 that way the person that is reading it knows that you need a press pass and you might need it in two weeks or you might need it in three months. They know how urgent the email might be after that in the body of the email if you know the person’s name definitely use their name.

As found on Youtube

Sony a7s

One thing about concert photography that is vital is NO FLASH. This presents some interesting challenges to budding concert photographers and when I started I had no idea. My interest started in the days of film and all I could do was buy a high speed film as I knew the powers to be would never allow a flash. Even though I have been to a number of concerts where flash was used, it is unacceptable, not only for the band but also the distraction for the good people who have outlaid good money for tickets.

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