How To Become A Concert Photographer in 2023

Dreaming of capturing the magic of live music through the lens? Are you curious about how to become a concert photographer? Being a concert photographer is an exciting yet challenging career path. This job requires technical photography skills and an understanding of how to thrive in low-light environments and unpredictable scenarios that live concerts present.

This guide will break it down for you, from developing your skills, buying the right equipmentand building a solid portfolio for networking in the industry. Ready to rock and roll into a new career? Let’s dive deeper!

Key Takeaways

  • A concert photographer’s job is to capture the joy, action, and feel of live music through photography.
  • To become a concert photographer, you must develop relevant skillspurchase the right equipmentbuild a strong portfolio, network with others in the industry, and ask to photograph events.
  • Starting small by shooting local shows and building connections can lead to more significant opportunities in music photography.
  • There are various job opportunities for concert photographers, such as working with bands, covering music festivals, collaborating with music publications, or freelancing.

What Does a Concert Photographer Do?

A concert photographer takes photos at concerts. They capture the joy, action, and feel of the music. Their job is to capture quality images that show how a concert looks and feels. Their photos may be used in many ways.

Some are used for news stories, some on websites, or in music magazines.

Being a concert photographer is a challenging job. It needs skill with a camera, artistic ideas, and business knowledge. A lot of times, you need to shoot fast in low light while bands play loud music! It’s all part of capturing the energy and excitement of live shows that people can feel when they see your work later on.

So you have to love both music and taking photos!

Steps to Becoming a Concert Photographer

To become a music photographer, you need to develop relevant skills, purchase the necessary equipment, find outlets for your work, build a strong portfolio, network with others in the industry, ask to photograph events and consider starting your publication.

Develop relevant skills

You need to learn and practice many skills to become a concert photographer. Knowing about light, timing, and shot setup is vital. These let you take impactful concert photos that stand out.

There are many ways to gain these skills. Some people study in schools or join online classes on music photography. Others learn by doing – they go to concerts and try shooting them themselves for fun.

No matter how you learn, remember that getting better takes time and lots of practice!

Purchase equipment

You need good gear to become a concert photographer. Start with a high-quality camera. That is the main tool. The right camera can take clear, bright photos even in poor light. Also, get different kinds of lenses like zoom and prime lenses.

These help you snap all sorts of shots. Remember memory cards too! You will shoot a lot of pictures at each show, so they are essential for storage space. Plus, have a strap to hold your camera and keep it safe.

Find outlets for your work

One of the essential steps to becoming a concert photographer is finding outlets for your work. When starting, shooting small local shows to gain experience and build your portfolio is a good idea.

Additionally, contacting smaller venues and asking to photograph at their events can be a great way to get started in music photography. Remember, building a solid portfolio is crucial for showcasing your skills and attracting potential clients and opportunities in the future.

Build a strong portfolio

To become a successful concert photographer, building a solid portfolio is crucial. Start by taking photos at local concerts and events to showcase your skills. Capture the energy and excitement of the performances, and focus on getting close-up shots that highlight the artists and their emotions.

Seek opportunities to photograph more established concerts and events, as this can help build credibility. Also, consider networking with other photographers and professionals in the music industry to open up new collaboration opportunities.

Freelancing for local magazines and music companies can also help you gain recognition in the industry. Building a personal brand is crucial to attracting clients and job opportunities as an experienced concert photographer.

Network with others in the industry

Networking with others in the industry is essential to becoming a concert photographer. Building connections can help aspiring photographers gain access to larger shows. By attending small local shows and getting to know other photographers, journalists, and music industry professionals, you can increase your chances of landing your first gig and gaining more opportunities in the field.

Famous concert photographers have made a name for themselves through their work and connections. So don’t be afraid to reach out, make new friends, and build relationships with people who share your passion for music photography!

Ask to photograph events

To gain experience and build your portfolio as a concert photographer, it’s important to ask if you can photograph events. It is a crucial step in the process. You can start by contacting smaller venues and asking if you can capture images at their concerts.

Music event

That allows you to develop skills and gain valuable experience before moving on to more significant events. When networking with others in the industry, you may connect with bands, promoters, or fellow photographers who could provide opportunities and guidance.

It’s also essential to obtain a photo pass so you can photograph bands at concerts. Remember, starting small and being proactive will help kickstart your career as a concert photographer!

Consider starting your own publication

Starting your own publication can be a great idea if you want to become a concert photographer. By creating your own platform, such as a photo blog or magazine, you can increase your visibility and credibility in the industry.

Collaborating with other photographers and showcasing their work alongside yours can also be beneficial. Having your own publication can make it easier for you to obtain concert photo passes and attract potential clients interested in your work.

Additionally, networking with other publications can help establish connections and open up opportunities in the concert photography field. It’s a way to showcase your talent while building relationships within the industry that can lead to more exciting projects!

Tips for Getting Started as a Concert Photographer

  • Develop skills in photography, including understanding camera settings and shooting in low light conditions.
  • Invest in the right equipment, such as a DSLR cameralenses, and a tripod.
  • Start by photographing local music events or smaller venues to build your portfolio.
  • Network with musicians, event organizers, and other photographers to gain exposure and opportunities.
  • Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of concert photography, including obtaining necessary permissions or photo passes.

And that’s it! With these tips, you’ll be on your way to getting started as a concert photographer.

Music Photography Jobs and Opportunities

There are various music photography jobs and opportunities available for aspiring concert photographers. Here are some options to consider:

Working with bands: Many bands hire photographers to capture live performances or document behind-the-scenes moments. Building relationships with local bands can lead to potential gigs.

Music festivals: Music festivals often require photographers to cover the event and capture the energy and excitement of the performances. Look out for photography opportunities at these events.

Music publications: Magazines, websites, and blogs focusing on music often need visual content for their articles. Pitch your work to these outlets or apply for positions as a staff photographer.

Freelance work: As a freelance concert photographer, you have the flexibility to work with different clients and genres of music. Develop your portfolio and reach out to potential clients needing your services.

Stock photography: Some online platforms allow photographers to license their images commercially. Consider submitting your concert photos to stock photography websites as another source of income.

Remember, breaking into the field of concert photography may take time and persistence. Keep honing your skills, building connections in the industry, and seizing any opportunity that comes your way.

Concert Photographer Salary

Delving into the financial aspect of a concert photographer’s career, it’s crucial to consider several of the following factors:

  • The average concert photographer’s salary is $44,500 per year. This figure is based on many variables, including skillset, portfolio, and industry exposure.
  • Keep in mind that this profession has a broad salary range, with figures as low as $12,000 to a substantial $105,000.
  • Another perspective to consider is hourly remuneration, with many concert photographers earning an average of $250 per hour.
  • Data shows that the average salary for concert photographers is $38,788.
  • Remember that salaries for concert photographers fluctuate based on experience, location, and the employer’s budget.
  • Working with media outlets often provides concert photographers with access to front-row concert opportunities, which can notably impact income.
  • As a music photographer, creating captivating visuals for musicians and artists can lead to a significant financial reward.

Understanding these factors will help you manage your expectations and negotiate your pay.


Becoming a concert photographer is an exciting and rewarding career path for those passionate about photography and music. By developing relevant skills, purchasing the right equipment, building a solid portfolio, and networking with industry professionals, you can pave your way to success in this competitive field.

Remember to showcase your unique style and creativity while constantly honing your editing skills to stand out from the crowd. With determination and perseverance, you can capture the energy and excitement of live music through your lens as a professional concert photographer.


No, you don’t need a fancy camera to become a concert photographer. A DSLR or mirrorless camera with manual settings can work well for capturing great shots.

To get access to photograph concerts, you can start by contacting local bands or smaller venues and offering your services. Building relationships with industry professionals and networking can also help you gain access to bigger shows.

To become a concert photographer, it is vital to have good knowledge of photography techniques, including understanding composition, lighting, and using manual settings on your camera. Being able to anticipate moments and capture the energy of live performances is also crucial.

Yes, it is possible to make money as a concert photographer by selling your photos directly to artists or their management teams, submitting your work for publication in music magazines or online platforms, or even working on assignments for media outlets covering concerts and events.

To become a concert photographer, you can follow a few steps:

  1. You need to have a passion for both music and photography.
  2. You should work on improving your photography skills and knowledge. Building a solid concert photography portfolio to showcase your work is also essential.
  3. Network with music industry professionals and try to get access to concerts to gain experience.

Concert photography is the art of capturing live music events through photographs. It involves capturing a live performance’s energy, emotion, and atmosphere. Concert photographers typically work in the music industry and photograph musicians and bands during live shows.

While a degree in photography can provide a solid foundation and technical knowledge, becoming a concert photographer is not a requirement. Many successful concert photographers are self-taught or have learned through hands-on experience and practice.

Here are a few photography tips for shooting a concert:

  • Use a fast lens to capture clear images in low light conditions. – Set your camera to a high ISO to reduce noise.
  • Shoot in manual mode to have complete control over your settings. – Anticipate the action and capture the right moments.
  • Experiment with different angles and perspectives. – Use burst mode to capture a series of shots.
  • Pay attention to composition and framing. – Capture both wide shots of the stage and close-ups of the performers.
  • Be respectful of the audience and other photographers.
  • Review and edit your photos after the event.

You’ll need a few essential pieces of equipment to become a concert photographer. These include a high-quality digital camera with manual controls, a fast lens with a wide aperture, extra batteries and memory cards, a sturdy tripod or monopod, and a camera bag to carry and protect your gear. It’s also recommended to have a flash or external lighting setup for specific lighting situations.

Access to concerts as a photographer can be obtained in several ways. One standard method is to start by photographing local or smaller live music events, where getting permission to take photos may be easier. As you build your portfolio and network with music industry professionals, you can secure photo passes or media credentials for larger concerts and festivals. Networking with bands, venues, and music publications can also increase your chances of obtaining access to shows.

Yes, it is possible to make a career out of concert photography. Many professional concert photographers work as freelancers and are hired by music publications, record labels, and bands. They may also sell their concert photographs as prints or license them for promotional purposes. However, it’s important to note that the music industry can be competitive, and building a successful career as a concert photographer requires dedication, networking, and continuous improvement of your skills.

The salary range for a concert photographer can vary greatly depending on factors such as experience, skill level, location, the client or publication they work for, and the specific project or assignment. Some concert photographers may work on a freelance basis and charge an hourly rate or per project, while others may have full-time positions with music publications or agencies. It’s best to research average rates in your area and negotiate payment based on the specifics of each job.

Having a concert photography portfolio is essential for showcasing your work and attracting potential clients or employers. A portfolio allows you to demonstrate your skills, style, and range of experience as a concert photographer. It can help you stand out from other photographers and increase your chances of being hired for concert photography jobs or assignments. Additionally, a portfolio can be used to document your growth and improvement over time.

When creating a concert photography portfolio, it’s essential to include a variety of your best and most representative work. Choose images that showcase different genres of music, lighting conditions, and emotions captured during live performances. Aim for a cohesive and consistent style throughout your portfolio. Including any published work, testimonials or recommendations from clients or industry professionals, and relevant information about your background or experience as a concert photographer is also beneficial.

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