What not to do…..

As part of the class I teach on concert photography at Photoshop World, I go over a bunch of stuff that you shouldn’t do as a concert photographer. In my years of doing this, I think I have seen just about anything, but I continue to see behaviors and actions by photographers that leave me flabbergasted. Here is a quick list of things that you shouldn’t do as a concert photographer.


8. Turn off your flash and your camera’s modeling light.

7. Please don’t leave the giant lens hood on backwards.

6. Learn how to hang your cameras off your shoulder or your neck so that the lens doesn’t stick out sideways.

5. Pack appropriately, You don’t need 3 bags of gear for a bar shoot.

4. Don’t shoot video unless you are credentialed to.

3. There is no reason to have a flash attached to the top of your camera

2. Don’t push your way up front and then stand in front of the paying customers.



There are a bunch more… but honestly, some of the behaviors I’m seen this week are just crazy….


  1. Please, please, please… Come to México and help me explain this to at least 90% of concert photographers that I see at every concert.., I have been shooting concert for about a year now and I’ve seen things I never thought of seeing or even remotely doing… How can we let them know it is just WRONG and Disrespectful?

    • I know, i work in mexico city, and you can have from an elbow in your shot, to a frikin ipad and iphone. im not gonna start punching people, but i sure want to.

      • I’m 100% with you my friend! It seems that every time in get worst, I have not had the chance to go shoot a concert in Mexico City but in GDL is getting worst every time since everyone has a digital camera and somehow they manage to get credrentials to concerts. We should start a movement against it hehe, I agree that everyone should be able to do this, but at least we should respect each other right?

        • hay que hacer folletos hermano, y entregarlo a cada uno de estos culeritos que nos encontremos, pero nos puede salir caro las impresiones.

          • Es asi!

  2. The purpose of a photo shoot is the photo shoot, the purpose of a concert is the concert & photographers should blend into the scene best they can, stupid yellow staff polo shirts ruin the look of a show, imagine how your affecting the persons experience behind you. You want them to see your ID, know your there & be impressed that wow, I was near the photographers, hopefully go to the site, fb it tweet it & get you or who your representing more hits, not leave & say that big jerk was annoying & in my way for half the show I paid to see

  3. It’s still OK if I shoot with my iPad though, right?

    • Only if you lift it as high as your arm can go.

  4. I’ve seen a guy doing exactly what you wrote here, during my last seen Toto concert @ HMH. He ruined his flash when boucing to a wall, walking by. Not a good night for him I guess.

  5. An excellent list that should be printed on little cards and handed out as need arises.

    I love shooting concerts, but always dread the “front of stage” privilege – running in a constant crouch kills my thighs! And I’m always self-conscious about getting in someone’s view.

    IMHO, most concert and event photographers should be ninja – to be seen is to be shamed (and have a strobe set off in your face).

  6. A couple of other things to add to the list.
    9. Don’t wear bright clothing that would be distracting to the artist on stage.

    10. Don’t stand there and review every shot on your camera lcd screen while standing in the photo pit. Most venues give a three song limit and every minute counts. Shoot and move.

  7. I’m gonna add one from the last show I shot. There was a guy shooting with a flash who had the head pointing into a 40 foot tall, flat black painted ceiling with the diffuser pulled spreading the light for a 14mm lens and the bounce card up which only reflects 15% of the light forward, standing about 30 feet from the stage on a staircase (right behind me) with a 70-200mm lens forcing the flash to fire full power each frame but at the same time turing the camera vertically so the flash is right next to my head and I think I still have a small amount of sunburn on the side of my face from the heat of that thing dumping full power flashes and trying to keep up with about a 5 fps burst rate! (How was that for a useless run-on sentence!) At least it was a Nikon and the flash actually kept up with him! Needless to say I didn’t give him one of my Nikon business cards… :-)

  8. Do you ever feel like it’s hard to move around to find new places for good shots without bothering the fans? When I go to concerts, it’s pretty annoying when the photographers won’t get out of my way, but I also feel like their shooting space is pretty limited.

  9. So many photographers don’t know about this stuff, it’s great that you take the time to teach them in your class.

    When I shoot, I’m always keeping the fans in mind. While I am there to work, they are paying customers and without them being at the show, I wouldn’t shoot the band in a fun venue. So I try and not stick to the same place too often. I also chat up the fans if I can between bands and if I happen to take photos of fans, and if I have time, I give them a business card so they can get a free photo of themselves at the show :)

  10. To me, the point is how to tell the AVERAGE fan NOT to hold his phone up and shoot video for 3 min. VERTICALLY !!! There aren’t many pro concert shooters here,,,,well, there really aren’t any Top Acts here either, so the 2 or 3 of us get along. My main venue is a stage and dance floor, no photo pit, so I’m constantly getting elbowed by drunk dancers. I ALWAYS wear black (even a black doo rag for my hair sometimes) and hope the band members DON’T wear black…Thanks for the tips, i agree with someone above, the “rules” should be printed on back of the ticket or Creds. Rock on….Jock

  11. Thanks for the “do nots” I must admit I have held my camera up like the photo to get a unique shot- Never all that good. So never take up in the air hand held shot?

    Thanks for the advice


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