Photographing Live Concerts

I have a spent a great deal of my life attending hundreds of of concerts and I regret not photographing each and every one of them. The reason being Baby Boomers are revisiting their youth collecting photographs of their favorite Rock Stars while many say they have a whole room or wall collection of Rock n Roll images .

Many of the images from my "So you Want to be a Rock n Roll Star" collection were shot live at the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin. Others were taken at concerts around the country while I was on assignment for either the artist or record company, or for my own personal collection. In most cases, I have been lucky enough to be able to photograph some of my favorite musicians. Legendary artists like The Grateful Dead, The Byrds, Kinks, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Leon Russell and the Who.

The keys to shooting a live performance are: the right location, the right equipment and patience. Securing the prime spot, whether on stage or right up front close to the stage requires planning and a well trained eye. I usually arrange for a Press and Backstage Pass, but I also make sure I’m in the front row with the audience during at least some of the performance.

A lot of thought goes behind the equipment choices. At the very least, plan on either two fast prime lenses, like a 50 1.4 and a 135 F2, or a fast medium telephoto zoom such as a 28-105 2.8 or a little longer 70-200 2.8 .

Shooting concerts with todays digital professional SLRs such as a Nikon D3 or a similar Canon etc. is really nice as there is very little noise at ISO 1600 and higher.

If you visit my website, Vanredin.com, I have posted some of my collection. The older Black and White images were shot on Tri-X pushed to ASA 1600 and processed in Diafine developer. Older color images were shot on Ektachrome 400 and if needed, pushed 1 or 2 stops. These images were then scanned, cleaned up and in some cases enhanced using Adobe Photoshop.

Van Redin’s Rock ‘n Roll prints are for sale.
Prints sizes are available from 8×10" to 16×20" and larger on some images.
Canvas prints stretched on a frame are very popular also.
See all the images at VanRedin.com . Leave a comment or contact the author through his website for more information.