January 29, 2004
Taking a camera to a concert

There are several interesting concerts coming up in London the next months. I'm considering taking my camera gear with me to take some photos of the ones I'll attend, but I want to ask you, treasured readers, about your advice and experiences with bringing camera gear to a concert venue?

Dave has taken photos are recent Goldfrapp concerts, and Kim reports no problems in taking a camera to the recent Radiohead concerts, but at least in the latter case, those were hi-ISO film-loaded "point and shoot" cameras, not SLR cameras (that are impossible to hide in a pocket, for example, and hence will attract the attention of any guard actively looking for them).

... are there any other things to be aware of when taking photos? Flying beer bottles? packing the gear well? some non-obivous tips? any UK (or other geographies) spesific tips?

Does any other non-professional photographers have any experience getting press-credentials and photo permission to such events?

I'm curious! So much to learn, so much fun to have :-)

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Be prepared to be strip searched unless other information is given.

I haven't even tried to bring a camera to any concerts, but it seems to be OK on most events, but I don't know about "big" cameras that don't fit in some pocket.

Went to Elton John in Bergen last summer, and the strip-search-policy was enforced. Bring anything (chairs, tents, camping equipment) - but absolutely NO cameras. Camera phones were heavily used, as it is hard to take people's phones away from them...

Posted by: Jan Tore Ynnesdal on January 29, 2004 07:15 PM

I've been shooting quite a few concerts and festivals with my 10D for the last year, and my experiences are the following:

At small clubs (with mostly local bands playing) it's no problem bringing your camera. Just show up and start shooting. Be aware that there's not much room for shooting, the stage is very low or non-existant and the lightning is general very bad. There is a chance the band will ask you for photos after the show. I've never bothered to ask permission for shooting at small clubs. Still there's a fair chance of getting good pictures and you might even be asked to take pictures at other events.

Ordinary clubs are a bit different. I've tried emailing in advance and always gotten a no - I think this is because that's what the rider[1] of most bands says. On a few occasions I brought my 10D along and took photos, and no questions was asked.

Larger events and halls: Expect your bags to be inspected and only rarely are you allowed to bring your camera (this goes for both SLR's and point-and-shoot). I don't bother to bring my camera to such events, for two reasons. First the chance of the camera being forbidden is big and second I paid a lot to get in and really want to enjoy the show.

In general, try to behave - when you have to go to the front of the stage ask nicely for people to make room and tell them you'll be gone in a minute. Don't block peoples view for extended period of time. If at all possible don't use your flash - it's very annoying for the artist on stage. People throwing beers in the air is mostly an issue at festivals. Just to make sure bring a handkerchief or put on a T-shirt that you don't mind using to wipe of your camera. So far nothing has happened to my equipment. Buy some earplugs - even when the band plays at moderate levels you might try to get the perfect picture and end up pressing your head against the speakers (I did this at several occasions). Of course your equipment belongs in a proper camera back. Keep it closed when not reaching out for lenses and keep your flashcards easyly available in your pocket. The E-10 handstrap for the 10D is a great and cheap way to secure your camera when you're squeezed into the crowd in front of the stage. Dress on black or dark clothes - that makes you less visible and people are really there for the show - not to watch some photographer! Make sure to put your shots online for everyone to enjoy.

[1] A rider is a list of requirements for the venue, from the musicians.

Posted by: Jan Chrillesen on January 29, 2004 08:18 PM

i hope i am not bothering you with this but i really dont know where to begin. in a nutshell i love to take pictures and i recently went to a concert and came back with some really good pics with my digital camera. this is something i would really like to do more often or maybe see if i could get any credit for these pictures. like maybe provide them to a manager of the band or what not to see if they would like to use them. do i have to get permission to share them. i know i couild post them up just about anywhere, but i want to maybe sell them or something just because i think they are really great pictures. is there any information u could give me or any help because i would really like to do more with these pictures besides just have them for myself. but i dont want any problems since i dont have permission to use them. can u help me or point me in the direction to help me?? thank u for your time.

Ruby Perez
SAn ANtonio, TX

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Anders Jacobsen's blog: LAMB Live @ Brixton Academy (February 16, 2004 02:06 PM)
"Lamb was playing live at the Brixton Academy Friday 13th Feb. I took some photos with my mobile phone."

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