How to Make Good Photographs at a Concert



Object: Make great looking phots at a concert

Many times I have seen people attempt to make photographs at a concert from their seats, only to be disappointed with the results. Typically, what I see is someone sitting in front of me at a concert, using a digital camera with a display on the back. They zoom in, frame the picture and then snap the photo. When it appears on the display a couple of seconds later, it typically is very dark, unlike the image they saw before snapping the photo. 

The reason is that the flash was used. Flashes on these cameras are good for a distance of about from 4’ to 12’ or so, not the 100’ they may be from the stage. Since the flash is not capable of reaching the stage that far away, the photo comes out dark and the person making the photo looks disgusted.

Their photo would have looked like the display did just before snapping the photo if they had only turned off the flash. Cameras vary a lot in how they function, but most digital cameras probably have a way to go into a menu and turn off the flash. I use an older Canon G4 which I have had now probably 5 or 6 years. It was a $900 camera when purchased, but would only be a couple of hundred dollars if new today. Of course Cannon has apparently found that they must sell cameras much cheaper now to compete, so some of the features have been removed in an apparent cost cutting effort. Even so, I think most cameras have a way to turn off the flash.

At a concert, there is sufficient light on the stage to light the subjects without a flash and they will appear perfectly lighted, no matter how far away they are if you use stage light and not the on-camera flash.

The other option, of course, is to go down to the stage area to make the photograph where the flash is within its prescribed range.