Capturing photographs at your first music event can be daunting experience. Music Photography is a challenge. The challenge of securing your first photo pass and now it’s one chance to shoot the first three songs without flash. There is lots to consider, composing images while dealing with changing light levels and moving artists requires a simple camera approach. The following covers a few music photography tips for getting the most from the experience.
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With music photography, practice and experience play a significant role in improving your skills. Each event is unique, keeping your camera set up simple and adapting to the specific circumstances, you can capture memorable moments and create stunning images that tell the story of the music and the performers.
A 50mm lens is a popular choice for music photography for several reasons. This versatile, all round prime lens offers unique advantages for capturing live performances. This includes both in low-light concert venues and outdoor festivals.
The Nifty Fifty for Music Photography
The 50mm lens , fondly referred to as the “nifty fifty” is neither a wide-angle nor a telephoto lens. The 50mm lens offers a field of view that’s similar to what the human eye sees. This creates a natural and immersive perspective in your photos, allowing viewers to feel like they’re part of the concert experience.
Most 50mm lenses come with wide apertures, such as f/1.8 or even f/1.4. This is a significant advantage for music photography, especially in low-light (ever changing) conditions that are common at concerts. The wide aperture allows more light into the camera helping to create sharper, clearer images.
50mm (and prime lenses in general) are well known for their sharpness and image quality. They produce crisp, high-resolution images with minimal distortion. This is crucial when you want to capture the energy of a live performance.
The common f/1.8 aperture (or higher) can create beautiful bokeh effects. Bokeh is the aesthetically pleasing background blur created by controlling the depth of field to isolate your subject from the background. This is useful when dealing with distractions behind the artist.
With music photography you often need to move around quickly in limited space. A 50mm lens is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry and manoeuvre. With a 50mm lens you won’t be weighed down by heavy gear, or end up clashing with other photographers with long reach lenses. The lack of zoom also means you have less to think about other than capturing the perfect shot.
50mm Lens Auto Focus
Many 50mm lenses have fast and accurate autofocus capabilities. This is essential for music photography, where subjects are constantly moving and changing positions on stage. A reliable autofocus system ensures you won’t miss critical moments. Interestingly, more expensive lenses don’t always mean better auto focus. As your experience grows you might move to manual focus for even more creativity.
Compared to some other lenses, 50mm lenses are also relatively affordable. This makes them financially accessible and ideal for those just starting in music photography.
Music Photography – Manual Mode
Shooting in manual mode gives you full control over your camera settings. Adjust your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to adapt to changing lighting conditions and the fast-paced nature of music events. Experiment with different settings to achieve the desired exposure and creative effects. It is worth trying to explore shooting in manual mode for a few months before your first formal music event. This will take a bit of practice to get right, it’s a fine balance between, ISO, shutter speed and aperture (the exposure triangle).
A 50mm lens is a great all-round lens for music photography, especially when paired with a full frame camera body. The 50mm lens quickly captures the energy of live performances while offering creative control over your photographs. Regardless of your experience with music photography, a 50mm lens should be a valuable addition to your camera bag. See 5 Reasons why everyone should own a 50mm lens.
Note: Most but not all images in this post were captured with a 50mm lens.