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How To: Photography and Videography in Music

Have you ever fancied taking photos or filming a concert? Here are five tips on how!

Frannie B at Rokefest 2018

I really love live music. There's something about how it makes you feel. The atmosphere, lights, merchandise, staging and not to mention the music. Now imagine being able to capture that feeling in a photo or video. That's pretty much my goal as a music videographer and photographer.

As a freelancer, I am still trying to figure out my way into this career. There are lots of music photography but not necessarily videography... but, here are a few tips I would pass onto you which I have learned so far:

1. It's Not About the Equipment

Of course, it would be amazing to have the Canon C100 or simply a camera which sees no challenge in low light. But it isn't about the camera. If you cannot use the settings on the camera, then it is as useful as a chocolate teapot.

I was lucky enough to attend university to be taught all about camera settings, but it is just as easy to figure it out yourself. There are TONS of YouTube tutorials on aperture, shutter speed, ISO and how they work together. These settings are more valuable to know than buying yourself a £3000 camera. Trust me.

Make the most of the equipment you have. Yes, try and get yourself a decent DSLR and low aperture lens. Just remember that it is how you use the settings that matter and not how expensive the camera is.

2. Shoot, shoot, shoot some more.

This is the stage that I feel I am at now. I know the settings and I need to put them to use.

Get yourself out there. Shoot everything and anything. Whether it be an open mic night at a pub or an actual music event in a bigger venue. You may have to start with unpaid work, but at this point in time, it is your skills and confidence you should be looking to improve and not your bank balance.

Taking photos and filming different bands, setups, venues, lighting, staging, audiences... anything will help you. It will help you think on your feet when your photos are coming out pitch black. It will help you when all your photos are blurry. It will help you when you need to find the sound desk to ask for a recording of the sound. It will all help.

Building up your confidence and knowledge of how the live music industry works is crucial. It may feel overwhelming but you will get there.

3. Be nice. Respect others.

This sounds like a silly one, but it probably may be one of the most important.

Respecting others in the same field, helping them out, knowing when to step down. I know it may be frustrating if a security guard tells you that you cannot film or photograph from there, but listen to them. Move to a better place, make sure it is okay and try and sort it out reasonably.

Being respectful and kind to others will make your job a lot more fun and less stressful. This is where your people skills you gained from shooting lots of places comes in handy. You will know who runs the sound desk, who to talk to if there is an issue and so on. If you are nice, people will like working with you. They will want more... and that's the goal, right?

This also ties into respecting the bands or artists you work with. Whether it be at the open mic night or on their tour, get to know them and talk to them. Make sure you give them space when they may need it, without sacrificing that shot you need for their tour diary. Respect them, they are just like you who may need space or time to eat and sleep.

4. Make mistakes.

Making mistakes is how we learn. Did you mess up a big shoot? Fabulous. What did you do wrong and how should you have done it? Now you will know for next time. Roll with the punches. If you do not understand where you are allowed to film, double check. If you are told you are in the wrong place, apologise and make a note.

It is okay to make mistakes. Learn from them. Accept constructive criticism. Work to better your craft.

5. Have fun.

If you are not having fun, it isn't the right job for you. Having fun will come through in your photos and videos. You can have fun while being professional. Have a laugh with the pub owner or tour manager. If there is someone there like you, offer a future meet up or some tips.

Going back to the beginning of this, I love live music. I love watching as an audience member, but I also love filming and photographing it.

Go out There and Capture Those Amazing Live Music Moments

Some honourable mentions:

Ashley Osborne

Tom Pullen

Adam Elmakias

Mark Eshleman (Reel Bear Media)

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