I love photography and I spend a huge chunk of my life either practicing or appreciating the art, but when I’m at a gig I leave the camera at home and I think you should too.
That suggestion doesn’t come without qualification but my general point is simple, taking your camera to a busy gig is likely to get you nothing more than a sore arm and a card full of blurry memories whilst taking away from your enjoyment of the experience.
There is a reason why the professional photographers are all scrambling for position near the front of the stage, because that’s where they are going to get the best pictures. They have also made careful choices about their camera and lense choices to make the kinds of compelling images we see in print.
But this isn’t about photo snobbery, this is about enjoying the experience of the gig. Without being in the right position with the right equipment the results you’ll get just aren’t worth all the effort and arm ache. I appreciate you might feel the urge to grab a quick picture to brag about getting those rare as rocking horse shit tickets you managed to snag but once you’ve got the evidence, please put the camera phone away! Your arm is blocking someone elses view and you should br enjoying the music, that’s what you paid for.
And definitely don’t start filming your favourite song for later upload to YouTube. That shaky distorted mess is hardly a fair reflection of your experience.
These principles apply to the larger gigs. The arenas, theatres and clubs. If you are in a smaller venue, perhaps watching a great local band, snap away! The band will probably appreciate the publicity and you shouldn’t be getting in the way of too many people.
This is also a great place to start if you aspire to be a professional photographer, jostling for position in the pit in front of your favourite music stars.