Concert Photography Tips 6: Best lenses for concert photography

Concert Photography Tips episode 6 answers the most common question I get asked – what equipment should people be buying to see the biggest difference in their concert photography work?

Episode 6 tells you that while there is no quick answer for what gear you should buy, I can share with you what I would recommend you start with. The best gear for concert photography is equipment that lets in a lot of light. To capture as much light you need to have a lens that will open up wide. The width that a lens opens by is referred to as the aperture. The smaller the aperture number, the more light will pass through, but the shorter the depth of field will be. Like everything in life, there’s always a compramise you need to make when shooting. Episode 6 of Concert Photography Tips tells you what aperture range you should consider and what the common, inexpensive options are for lenses that open to f/1.8.

What’s the best gear for concert photography?

Here’s the dialogue of the episode:

“One of the most common questions I get asked is what gear a starting out concert photographer should invest in to see the biggest difference in their photos.

The gear a photographer uses is important, but it’s important that you acknowledge that gear isn’t the only thing that will make you a better photographer. You need to practice, figure out what works with trial and error, and find an editing style that works for you.

I can’t recommend you buy one lens over another, but I can help you make some of your investment decisions a little less complicated.

So we already know that capturing light is the hard part in concert photography. If we think about what limits the light from hitting our sensor, it’s the width that the lens opens and how our camera body processes the sensitivity to the light. You can learn more about this stuff at photographytipsforabeginner.com, but in terms of gear, the quickest way to see a notable difference in your photography is to get a lens with a wider aperture.

Any lens that can open to an f-stop between 1.4 and 2.8 will let in much more light and make things easier for you when shooting at a venue that doesn’t have a huge lighting setup.

These lenses are often more expensive, but both Canon and Nikon have cheap lenses with an aperture of 1.8. They are both 50mm lenses which can make things a little tight in some venues, but they are great starting lenses for live music photography.

As you shoot more and have more money to spend, look at the Canon 24-70 – 2.8 lens or Sigma’s Art Series of lenses, which are all open to around an aperture of 1.4.

This photo was taken with a Canon 24-70 lens at 2.8.

This photo was taken with a Sigma 35mm Art lens at 1.4.

This photo was taken with a Canon 50mm lens at 1.2.

There really isn’t one lens that will do everything you need, but investing in even a cheap, wide aperture lens will make a huge difference in the photos you take and reduce the amount of time editing in Lightroom or Photoshop.”

Last episode’s shout outs

Here are some of the kind words you shared about Concert Photography Tips Episode 5 over on Instagram:

Great tip! Thanks mate – @dadplayscook

these tip videos are a work of art in themselves haha! so well done. love anty rocking @artoftrog – @jakedigity

Thanks for the tip! Will put it to good use when I see them support The Living End early 2017! – @xander85

These are super helpful thanks so much! – @laurenleaseburgphoto

Thanks for the tips @mattwarrellphoto I’ve encountered this before and simply used the servo function to hopefully grab a shot. This is much better and less to cull. Appreciate it! 🤘 – @der_sebastianauer

Again, your feedback means the world to me! Thanks for everything you guys are doing to support the Concert Photography Tips video series!

Keep on shooting!

Matt

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