Industry Highlight: Concert Photography

by | Sep 14, 2020 | Photography

In 2018 I was presented with the opportunity to be one of Les Schwab Amphitheater’s preferred photographers for their summer concert series in Bend, Oregon. Les Schwab Amphitheater is Bend’s largest concert and event venue, situated outdoors, in the middle of the city’s popular shopping district, the Old Mill District. This was my first experience documenting events of this magnitude. Not only was I hired to photograph the artists on behalf of the venue, I was also there to document the fans’ experience and capture the general excitement of concert-night. On top of which, I had the rare opportunity to photograph some of my personal favorite musicians such as Ray LaMontagne and Neko Case as well music legends Willie Nelson and Allison Krauss. Photographing professional artists comes with strict regulations. I document what I learned below.

have a plan

Unless you’re hired by the actual artist or venue, photographing musicians is generally forbidden. But even when hired by the venue, access to the stage is extremely limited and allowed shoot times can be mere minutes before the artist’s security reminds you of the contract terms. Be prepared to only have a few seconds to nail your camera settings and shot.

neither to be seen nor heard

The best event photography is composed of candids. Try your best to neither be seen or heard  when you photograph that group of people dancing like no one is watching. 

get artsy

Find ways to capture the whole event that don’t necessarily pertain to the stage and artists. Zoom in on the branded merchandise, sponsored drinks and glassware, photograph the workers of booths and food trucks – they all play a critical role in how the event is remembered.