Since 2011 I have photographed quite a few electronic dance music shows… I have photographed a lot of big names in the EDM shows from Tiesto to Armin van Duuren. I usually stay away from the stage and focus on the crowd and the view from the crowd. I love using the light from the stage to outline some of the attendees. I know security hates it but I love it when folks get up on the shoulders of others. It makes for a better isolated subject.
The advantage (and disadvantage) of shooting from in the crowd is that you have to wait until you get a good silhouette, then you have to hope that the light from the stage will give you something cool. When it works, it really works.
The problem with shooting from the middle of the crowd is that sometimes the attendees can get a little wild when dancing and bump, jostle and hit my gear. I try to keep my cameras in close to my body but it does seem that the more I protect my gear the more I get bumped.
Fast shutter speeds freeze action, but they also don’t allow the light to paint the scene. For many of these shots I usually drop my shutter speed to 1/60 or 1/80 second to allow the light to spread out over the whole scene. It’s a balancing act to freeze the performers and the allow time to get the color wash from the light.
Some of the performers have great light when they are performing. An angle up in the seats allowed me to get details of the hands and DJ step without going on the stage.
Then there was this light. A bright white spotlight from the rear that seems to emanate from the performer.
Or even better, then the lights just seem to work for you
Finally, getting in position for things like balloon drops can give you a great perspective on the whole event. Here I shot the balloon drop with a 16mm fisheye from the middle of the crowd.
All images shot with a Nikon D4 and Nikon D700 with a 24-70mm f/2.8, 16mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 with a 1.4 tele-extender and captured on Sony XQD cards and Hoodman Raw CompactFlash cards.