There aren’t many photographers who get to do what I do. It’s not like I am special or more talented than any other photographer that does, it’s about placement. Being in the right place at the right time.
Concert photography offers an adrenalin rush that a select few get to experience and action that accompanies loud music, screaming fans, flashing lights and five foot wide security guards.
I have been blessed and fortunate to make a modest and respectful living and name for myself as such, where my reputation for quality and turn time (delivery) also plays a role.
What elements are most important to any concert photographer are access, gear and patience.
Having access to the venue and artist is gained in several ways, the most restrictive of most access is a media pass, because most outlets are limited to only three songs and post event interview shots.
Having a fast lens (aperture of 2.8 or faster) is recommended, a body that offers rapid shutter speed (frames per second) and high ISO capabilities (the Light Triangle is referenced here) are all very helpful, because the use of flash is a BIG NO NO.
Waiting for clearance and the show to start, are two of the most heart pounding events before the event.
When you don’t have a reputation or experience, I recommend using the “Who you know” channels, because waiting for someone to say “yes” to you can take its toll on someone who isn’t accustomed to rejection on a professional level.
In closing, if you aspire to be a concert photographer, go to small venues, practice your existing light photography (not to be confused with natural light) and make a name for yourself.
I was fortunate, because my first concert was in a large venue and had to learn on the fly…with film.