The great part about always having a good camera in your smartphone is that you can document your memories without having to remember to bring a dedicated camera. Today’s smartphones work better than ever before, too. The low-light performance is more than adequate and they are quick to focus, meaning you’ll never miss a shot.
If you want to capture your next concert, you need to know how to work within a smartphone’s limitations and how to use its features, so you can spend more time watching the act and less time trying to get the shot.
Prepare Before the Show
Get to the show early. If you don’t have tickets for a specific seat or if it’s a lawn concert, getting there before everyone else is going to ensure you have the view you want, minimizing the chances you will miss a good picture because you’re at a bad angle or have too many people in front of you.
If the band has shared its set list, take a look at it before hand. If you know the band always does something interesting during a specific song, that is a good time to get your shot, so you can enjoy the rest of the show.
Embrace Your Limitations
Trying to get into a concert with a large DSLR isn’t going to happen unless you have press credentials, but your smartphone is going to be fine.
That being said, your smartphone has limitations that your DSLR doesn’t. Smartphones have fixed wide angle lenses, minimal changeable settings and mediocre low-light performance right out of the box. But this gives you a chance to improve your photography skills by focusing more on the process rather than getting the perfect picture. For example, if you can’t get close to the performers, show how many other people are in attendance and how much fun they’re having.
While the newest smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, are getting a lot better at capturing low-light situations, there is still going to be an element of noise and grain in your pictures. But this can be a good thing. Convert the photo to black and white or add a harsher, grainier filter to make it look more interesting and to hide any flaws the image might have.
While HDR mode helps with your exposure, the contrast in a concert environment may be so high that it won’t make much of a difference. Instead, let the shadows fall off and focus on correctly exposing the act in front of you. What isn’t lit by the stage crew is not going to be interesting to look at anyway.
Remember to have fun at the show. You paid to see the show, so don’t let taking a picture distract you from enjoying it. Putting away your camera from time to time is just as important as getting a good shot.
Other people are there to see the show too, so be respectful of the people around you. Turning off your flash prevents you from distracting the act as well as annoying the people around you. Also, make sure to turn your screen brightness down. While the light can’t be seen by the stage, everyone behind you is going to know what you are doing and be distracted.
Shooting video isn’t going to give the best results, so it is better not to attempt it. Not only will the picture be shaky, but the sound is going to be so blown out as to be unusable. And again, you don’t want to block the people behind you for long periods of time.