The concert just ended, you’re on your way home in the back of the cab, scrolling through your phone to see all the snaps from the show because you don’t want it to end now. There’s only one problem: All photos look blurry or under-exposed.
It may be true that smartphone cameras can’t compete with professional cameras, but there are a few tricks to getting great photos of live concerts on your phone, and we’re going to share them all with you. Follow these tips, and you’ll never take bad photos of your favorite bands again.
1. Make sure your phone is charged
You can’t take pictures on a dead phone, so let it fully charge before leaving for the show. Try not to use it for anything else until the performance starts, you want to preserve every last bit of battery as this may be your only chance to catch your favorite artist.
In case your phone battery drains quickly, check if you are allowed to bring a power bank to the venue.
2. Do not turn on the flash
It’s not uncommon for the camera flash to be banned at concerts, but even if it’s allowed, you’ll want to keep it turned off. Performers may already be overwhelmed by all the stage lighting, and watching the incessant glow in the audience can throw them off their game.
Flash is also simply not necessary. For it to have any effect on your subject, you have to get very close. Assuming you’re standing at least several meters away from the action on the stage, the flash won’t do you any good. In fact, it will illuminate people right in front of you, or even dust mites—not ideal.
3. Keep the Lens Clean
Concerts can be messy; They are dirty and overcrowded. At some point, your hands touch your phone and you don’t even realize it. This means you will be touching the lens as well.
For ultra-clear photos, bring a small microfiber cloth and wipe down your lens from time to time to keep it free of sweat and dirt. A small cloth used for cleaning glasses is perfect.
4. Don’t Zoom In (Move Closer Instead)
No matter how good your smartphone’s camera is, the quality of photos will always drop when you zoom in. Have you ever noticed that when you zoom in on an image on your phone or computer and it eventually looks pixelated? Well, something similar happens when you do this while taking pictures. This will result in fuzzy, pixelated images.
If possible, try to get closer to your subject instead. If that’s not an option, you’ll have to settle for more distant photos. But if you’re really desperate to take a shot of the artist’s face, you can zoom in, and then run the picture through an app like Remini that will unblur and enhance their features.
5. Leave the Tripod and Selfie Stick at Home
You might think that taking a tripod stand or a selfie stick is a good idea, it will only help you get a better angle, right? Sure, but it can also ruin someone else’s experience. If you lose control of your tripod or selfie stick in the chaos, it can really hurt other people. At the very least, it may obstruct their view.
Not to mention, a lot of concerts ban the use of tripods and selfie sticks anyway. You’re better off leaving it at home before you get into trouble or have it confiscated.
You can still get a good angle without it. If you are far from the stage, keep your arm straight and your phone at a 90-degree angle to the floor. If you’re near, hold your phone in a slightly upward angle, just above your forehead.
6. Shoot in Burst Mode
The right composition is often one that is not forced. You can’t predict when a guitarist is about to do a great hair flip. So, shoot in burst mode. It is perfect for capturing dynamic subjects; That’s why it was invented. That way, you’ll be able to capture all the little details that you might not have even noticed during the show.
Not to mention, if you’re going to spend a long time getting every single shot perfect, it will rob you of the time you could have spent enjoying the show. Let your smartphone do the work for you.
7. Change your phone’s camera settings
Depending on which phone model you have, you may not have a lot of room to maneuver with this tip.
Ideally, you’ll want to increase the ISO to increase the camera’s sensitivity to light, but not too high, or you’ll end up with grainy pictures. You can control this on some Android phones, but not on iPhones—use Night Mode instead.
A fast shutter speed is great for taking sharp pictures of moving subjects. And a wider aperture will let more light into the camera. Again, these settings are only customizable on some devices, but you can always fix exposure problems later in an editing app.