2019 concert and music festival season is approaching and a popular question I have been asked recently is: “What’s your favorite go-to gear for concert photography?”
Don’t get me wrong- I love giving all my fellow concert photographers tips & advice! But sometimes I catch myself answering the same questions over and over… SO, I have decided to utilize this blog in a fun way to provide opinions and help reveal some of my personal favorites for concert photography.
Invest in a Camera Bag
First things first- we can’t really talk about gear until we discuss the importance of having a good camera bag. This is especially key to those who photograph 3-day weekend long music festivals where you are constantly carrying heavy gear for 8 hours at a time. This puts so much unwanted pressure on your upper back, lower back, and legs. (Trust me on this. I’ve severely messed up my back in the past from not investing in a proper camera bag when I should have.)
Anyways, if festivals aren’t you’re jam, it is still so important to invest in a good bag for concerts in general that 1.) fits all your gear perfectly and 2.) is comfortable on your back.
I use the DSLR Pro Pack from a brand called INCASE. This camera bag holds a DSLR with an attached lens, four additional lenses, a laptop, and even has space for a speedlite flash and other miscellaneous items you may need.
Link for the DSLR Pro Pack: https://www.incase.com/dslr-pro-pack
Top 3 Concert Photography Lenses
Next, I want to share with you in detail my top 3 favorite lenses for shooting concerts. My #1 go-to lens is the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8. This is my all-time favorite for concerts because it is SO versatile. Shooting at 24mm allows me to get all of my landscape and/or portrait wide-angle shots. However, the best part is I am not only limited to one focal length. This lens ALSO allows me to zoom in and out so I can capture more of a close up or portrait shot of the artist or musician in frame.
Ok, so often I find myself in situations where my ISO is bumped up WAY to high for comfort. My shots are super grainy and I am all around stressed out about the way my photographs are turning out. 95% of the time the lighting is going to downright suck beyond your control. My advice is to always bring a lens with a lower f-stop (just in case!) My 2nd favorite go-to lens is the Sigma 35mm f1.4 ART.
My last go-to lens (but definitely not my least favorite) is the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS II. In smaller-medium sized venues, I don’t often find myself in need of a telephoto lens. This particular lens is my absolute favorite to use while photographing in large stadiums and outdoor music festivals. I also LOVE using this lens when I know I’m photographing high profile acts such as Billie Eilish, Post Malone, and Halsey to name a few!
Pro tip: this lens is HEAVY AF! Make sure to double check that you are shooting on stabilizer mode.
Lastly, let’s talk about some miscellaneous gear that I HIGHLY suggest carrying along with you in your camera bag…
I love my Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs! YO…when I say these things protect your ears. I was punching myself for a week straight for not investing in a good pair of earplugs prior to these babies.
Link to Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs: http://www.discovervibes.com/products/
Don’t Forget Your Speedlite!
It is crucial to have a speedlite flash for documenting artists and/or bands backstage, especially if you are hired as their OFFICIAL photographer. The backstage area and green room in the venue will be dark 100% of the time. The LAST thing you want is to be bummed that you missed out on documenting those perfect candids of the band shooting the shit before the show. I use the K & F Concept KF-882N I-TTL Speedlite Flash.