This is something that I am often asked about, what gear am I using to shoot concerts?
It mainly depends on the venue, knowing your venue helps a lot to determine the gear you may need, and a bit of the band, black metal generally needs a bit more of light than a big pop star like Madonna.
In my case, my gear is limited so what I am bringing for one night, 1 to 5 bands most of the time, is the same. But it is really different when I need to shoot a festival, will discuss this in a future blog post.
So my “one-night” bag looks like this:
- The amazing Peak Design Everyday Messenger. It allows me to carry all my gear without taking too much space if I have no pit, It is easy to put it in front of me to be able to change lenses. If I got a pit I put it under the pit barrier or where I can. It is “waterproof”, which is always nice when a beer is raining.
- Peak design Slide Strap. A comfortable strap, that will change your life if you are used to the canon default one.
- A Canon 6D. A full-frame is really a nice thing to have for live photography, it allows you to have a really wide angle and a better quality when using high isos. I could definitely have a better body, 5D MKIV, 6D MK II, 1Dx… But it is enough to do my job, and at the time I purchase it, it was the one in my budget.
- Canon 50mm F1.8. THE must-have for any concert photographer (and for me all photographers). It is really cheap, light, wide aperture, and 50mm on a full-frame body is a really good focal. If you are looking for a lens to start concert photography, go for it! I use it almost on all show, and it delivers really nice pictures, you just need to be careful to the depth of field and focus point to have a clean image.
- Canon 16-35mm F4 L IS USM. A nice piece of glass that does the job. 16-35 allow you to shoot really wide angle, Being able to capture all the stage in one picture, or small portrait if you have access to the pit. When You have to shoot from the crowd, I use it only to do ambient shots, capturing the band with the crowd. If you do only low light photography, I strongly recommend you to go for the F2.8 version. The reason I am using this one is that when I purchase it, my goal was to do landscapes and daylight photography, so F4 was enough and lighter. The weight was my main concern to be able to hike and photograph at the same time. But At the end, if you are short on a budget the F4 can do the job, you will just need to crank up isos a bit.
- Canon 70-200 F4 L IS USM. Same as above, I recommend you the F2.8 version which is THE best lens I have ever tested. But it is also more expensive and heavier. Otherwise, 70-200 is a really nice range for concert photography, it is really helpful to capture the drummer and do a nice portrait. And when shooting from the crowd is really a must-have.
- 2 extra batteries LP 6, I never had to change my battery even for a 5 band night, so it may seem to be overkill, but you never know what could happen (you can forget to put a battery in your body before leaving… and you are happy to have some extra when arriving at the venue – True Story)
- Pelican 0915 SD Memory Card Case. Always protect your memory card, it is easy to break them, so having them in a good case is safer. Especially if your body does not have a dual slot, you do not have any backup while shooting so be careful.
- Sd Cards. Usually got 6 from 8Go to 64Go. I switch between them from shows to shows in order to use all of them and not the same one every time. Use fast cards, no need for 4k filming cards, but choose at least a 90MB/s in writing. Otherwise, on a burst, you may be blocked by your card writing data, and miss a crucial shot.
- A lanyard from HTBARP. Really useful when you have some credential other than a bracelet to enter the pit.
That’s it. A pretty small bag, that would need some upgrade, but this will be for another post.
If you have any suggestions or question about that, do not hesitate to comment or send me an e-mail.
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