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How to Take Great Pictures at a Concert With Your Smartphone: 10 Tips

The concert just ended, you’re on your way home in the back of a cab, scrolling through your phone to look at all the snaps you took from the show because you don’t want it to be over yet. There’s only one problem: all the photos look blurry or under-exposed.

It might be true that smartphone cameras can’t compete with professional cameras, but there are some tricks to get great photos of a live concert 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 band in action again.


1. Make Sure Your Phone Is Charged

You can’t take pictures on a dead phone, so let it fully charge before you leave for the show. Try not to use it for anything else until the performance starts, you want to preserve every last bit of battery power because this might be your only chance to capture your favorite artist.

If your phone notoriously runs out of a battery charge quickly, check if you’re allowed to bring a power bank into the venue.

2. Don’t Turn On the Flash

It’s not uncommon for camera flash to be prohibited at concerts, but even if it’s allowed, you’d want to keep it off. The performers could already be overwhelmed by all the stage lights, and seeing constant flashing in the audience can throw them off their game.

Flash is also simply not necessary. In order for it to have any effect on your subject, you’d have to get pretty close. Presuming you’re standing at least several meters away from the action on stage, flash won’t benefit you. In fact, it’ll most likely just illuminate the people, or even the dust particles, right in front of you—not ideal.

3.Keep the Lens Clean

Concerts can get messy; they’re dirty and crowded. At some point, your hands are going to get all over your phone without you even realizing it. This means that you’ll be touching the lens as well.

For ultra-clear pictures, bring a little microfiber cloth and wipe over your lens every now and then to keep it free from sweat and dirt. Those little cloths used for cleaning spectacles are perfect.

4. Don’t Zoom In (Move Closer Instead)

It doesn’t matter how good the camera on your smartphone is, the photo quality will always drop when you zoom in. Ever noticed when you zoom in on an image on your phone or computer and it eventually starts looking pixelated? Well, something similar happens when you do this while taking pictures. It will result in unclear, pixelated images.

If at all possible, try getting closer to your subject instead. If that’s not an option, you’ll have to settle for more distant photographs. But if you’re really desperate to get a shot of the performer’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 it’s a good idea to take a tripod stand or a selfie stick, 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 actually end up hurting other people. At the very least, it could 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’re far away from the stage, hold your arm straight up and keep your phone at a 90-degree angle to the floor. If you’re close, hold your phone right above your forehead, angled slightly up.

6. Shoot in Burst Mode

The perfect composition is often one that isn’t forced. You can’t predict when the guitarist is going to do an awesome hair flip. So, shoot in burst mode. It’s perfect for capturing moving subjects; that’s why it was invented. This way, you’ll capture all the little details that you might not even have noticed during the show.

Not to mention, if you’re going to spend a long time trying to perfect every single shot, it will rob you of time you could have spent enjoying the show. Let your smartphone do the work for you.

7. Tweak Your Phone Camera Settings

Depending on what phone model you have, you might not have a lot of room to maneuver with this tip.

Ideally, you want to increase the ISO to increase the camera’s sensitivity to light, but not too much, 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 wide aperture will let more light into the camera. Again, these settings are only customizable on some devices, but you can always fix exposure issues in an editing app later on.

8. Use a Smartphone Lens or a Third-Party Camera App

Given how limited our ability to adjust smartphone camera settings are, we need to think outside the box. A smartphone lens allows you to do things that your phone’s camera isn’t capable of, such as increasing the focal length—this will let you zoom in further without compromising the quality.

If you had no luck adjusting the camera’s settings, try a third-party camera app, such as Camera+ 2. With an app like this, you can control things like exposure, depth, and shutter speed, and even shoot in RAW.

9.Adjust the Focus

Most smartphones use autofocus by default. This setting is perfectly fine for concert photographs, but sometimes you’ll need to tweak it manually. Doing this will be helpful when there is more than one subject you want to fit into the composition, like a five-member band and all their instruments. Luckily, almost every smartphone lets you adjust the focus, so you won’t need a lens or app for this.

10. Secure Your Phone in Your Hand

Have we mentioned that concerts get messy? Your body temperature will likely rise, which can make you sweaty, including your hands. This is bad news for your phone.

To prevent your phone from slipping out of your hand, get a wrist strap or a pop socket to securely hold onto it. Even if it doesn’t completely slip out of your hand, securing your grip will reduce the likelihood of blurry photos.

Take Amazing Concert Photos With Your Smartphone

If your favorite artist has an upcoming tour or performance and you plan on going, keep these tips and tricks in mind. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, not even close; anyone with a smartphone can take great pictures at a concert.

Lastly, don’t overthink the photos, don’t even take any during the parts you’d rather see with your own eyes and experience in the moment. The most important thing is to have fun.

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