Last Updated on January 13, 2019
Do you want to take the best photos of a concert or during a concert?
You should know that there is no one formula to make this happen and camera settings vary for every different concert situation. There are many factors in play, after all.
If the subject is moving, for example, which would be highly likely, the camera setting you use will be different than if they are stationary. There is also the lighting and all that effects in the background that you need to consider.
Since there is no perfect camera setting for concert photography, your best recourse is to understand how each setting works, the baseline where you can start shooting, and the limits you can push.
This refers to a combination of settings that ensures a properly exposed image. These include the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. The first refers to your camera sensor’s sensitivity to light, the second to the length of time a shutter is open so light can come in, and the third to the size of your lens’ opening.
Because a concert setting is often dark, you want to let the most light in. This means high ISO, slow shutter speed, and wide open aperture.
What’s bad about a high ISO is the noise or grain in your photo. This makes little sense since it is what you need to brighten up your shot. Well, an ISO of 500 is a good baseline and you can then crank it up to 3200.
Just make sure that the camera you use can handle high-ISO grain better, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS 6D. Both DSLRs let you increase your ISO levels to 6400 without your image looking too grainy.
A shutter speed of 1/250 is a good baseline and you can then increase from there. This will ensure you capture motion well enough without the need to push other settings too far. This speed is ideal for low and extremely low light conditions.
For a brightly lit concert, the best shutter speed is 1/400 or 1/640.
The best setting is a low f-number aperture or f/1.4 to f/2.8+. This is often achieved by specialized yet expensive fast lens. If you have such a camera, you don’t need to push your shutter speed really low and your ISO really high.
The downside of this aperture setting, however, is a smaller depth of field that will result in a less-sharp image. But you can use this to your advantage by stylizing a shot. For instance, a shot featuring a sharp image of a vocalist with the background a bit blurry.
In addition to these settings, you also need to set white balance and focus to auto and drive mode to continuous. You should also save images as RAW files.
Considering the adjustments you need to make, experts recommend that you use your camera’s manual mode. This gives you better control over image exposure under various lighting conditions.