So not only was the Dessa show fantastic tonight because I love seeing women own big stages, but the lights were ah-mazing. There was so much thought and detail put into the production, and it made the photographs much more interesting. The shot above isn’t necessarily my favorite image of the evening, but it was so different from most shots I give you around these parts, that I thought I would include it. If you want to see the rest of the images (including all the dudes from Doomtree that showed up — YAY!) you can do so over here.
And now, let’s talk about all these cell phone pictures at concerts, shall we?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to lecture anyone. I’m just as guilty when it comes to tweeting or instagraming — share away, I say. And we’ve all been caught up in the moment at our favorite band’s show and posted something horrible (you can see my absolute worst right here of Justin Timberlake at SXSW — I’m still horrified I posted it). I have a few friends in my feed who post the most amazing concert shots on instagram — it really blows me away — and I’ve been working a little to improve my own. Here are a few tips I can share:
1. Clean your camera/phone lens. That phone has been lord-knows-where, and some of you have never wiped it off. I can tell because your images look smudgy and greasy and we’re all groaning about it, but are too Minnesotan to tell you to your face.
2. For the love of God, turn off your flash. The only thing it’s illuminating is the person’s head in front of you.
3. Don’t take the photo in Instagram. Take the photo with the phone app (or another app of your choosing) where you can take 5-6 shots consecutively. You’ll have a much better chance of getting the artist in sharp focus this way, and it just takes a moment to scan through them, find a good one, and then put it on Instagram. And speaking of this, you should really be editing yourself harshly. It’s much better to post one really amazing shot than four mediocre ones. We get it. You were there. Show us something great!
4. Wait for a still moment. Lots of times people pull out their phones during the happiest “makes me want to dance” song of the night because we’re all thrilled it’s being played and we want to capture it. Guess what? Getting a sharp image of that moment is going to be way harder than during a slow song — not only because the artist is moving so much more, but the crowd is likely bumping into you as well. And you know what else? People in your instagram feed can’t hear the music (I’m talking photos obvs, not video), so they don’t know the difference anyway. Or better yet, take your photos between songs. I get the best facial expressions of artists during their banter anyway — that’s when they smile and laugh, right? So wait for that.
5. Consider your lighting when choosing a filter. I am a big fan of using the b/w filters for concert photos because cell phones have a hard time with such huge contrast in lighting. Black and white always looks classic, and keeps that rock’n’roll vibe.
6. Oh hey, you get an extra tip! Either be so close you can clearly (and I mean CLEARLY) see the artists face, or go to the back of the club where you can see the whole experience (crowd, lights etc). Those images taken in between where no one can even distinguish who’s on stage? And what the stage setup is? Those can be kinda worthless.
7. Oh my gosh! I’m so full of opinions! But seriously, this is more about etiquette. Don’t be that person with their phone up the entire show recording it or trying to take an image. Be thoughtful of the people around you and courteous and QUICK with your photo snapping. That way the person behind you can have their shot as well :)
If you have other tips (or apps!) on taking great cell phone shots at shows, email me and I’ll share it here!