July in Janetville – Tips for Taking Concert Photos

I am by NO means an expert in photography but after taking several thousand concert pictures over the last few years, I have come up with some of my personal ideas on the subject.  I should also say that these ideas/tips are with the intention of scrapbooking the pictures, not for trying to get them published in a magazine or anything (unless of course someone sees them and thinks they are fabulous and wants to buy them from me – LOL).

Tip #1 – GET GOOD SEATS!  It is much easier to take good photos if you have good seats.  If I can’t get close seats, I try to get in a section where I can see the big screens clearly.

Tip #2 – Have a good camera.  When I first started taking pictures my camera did not have a very powerful zoom lens.  I find that makes a big difference, especially if you can’t accomplish Tip #1!  Most venues will allow simple point and shoot cameras.  Mine fits in a pocket of my purse so I rarely (never so far) have had an issue with it.  It is a Canon Power Shot SX 700 with a 30 x zoom.  I would not be able to take pictures if I had to manually focus, so having an easy camera to use is important for me.  It also has a good setting for taking pictures without a flash, which is generally not allowed.

Tip #3 – Take LOTS of pictures.  The artists generally move back and forth across the stage so there are many times I can’t get anything more than a blur.  If I have a lot of pictures, I can pick and choose the best ones for my pages.  Sometimes I’ll have a lot of mediocre and then one or two good ones.  This spread I did with Tina Turner is a good example.  It was before I got my Canon and the zoom was terrible but by putting together some not so great pictures with some okay ones, I am pleased with the way this came out.

This is one of my favorite layouts from the Adele concert.  She didn’t have a lot of costume changes, our seats were up in the second level and she does not do a lot of moving around when she sings but I think I was able to capture her here.
Same with Stevie Nicks.  When she sings “Gold Dust Woman” it’s almost like she goes into a trance and even though the pictures are not that clear, I can see her getting into her song. 


Tip #4 – Take pictures of the venue itself.  Shots of the building or the marquee help to document dates and times.  Some of my favorites are:

I took the above two pictures and combined them to make the bottom one for the album.  They almost match up perfectly.

Tip #5 – Take pictures of backgrounds.  A lot of times the performers use the screens behind them to add “embellishments” to their show.  Those shots can also be “embellishments” on my pages.  They also serve as titles sometimes. 

Behind Blue Eyes – the Who


Neil Diamond

Lights on the vine wall at the Mountain Winery, Heart concert
Tip #6 – Don’t forget the shadows.  At first I waited until the lights went on so I could get clear pictures of the performers but then I noticed that sometimes the shadows were the best shots.  I am SO glad I got the ones of Prince!




Backstreet Boys
Tip #7 – The crowd.  While I don’t necessarily want pictures of a bunch of random strangers in my album, still there are times when the crowd is definitely part of the show.
Journey singing “Lights” and a shot of the AT&T Park crowd showing their “lights” made for a pretty magical moment.
Lights at the Adele concert.  She is the tiny figure on stage at the bottom left of the picture.

Tip #8 – Expect the unexpected.  We were watching Heart at Shoreline singing “Reign O’re Me” and it started raining.  Middle of summer.  Heart didn’t realize what was happening until they went backstage according to the article I read about it.  Fortunately we were under the overhang so we didn’t get wet.

Rod Stewart kicks signed soccer balls from the stage!  We didn’t actually get any but one went really close to us and on the BART trip home, two people near us had gotten them so they let my husband hold them while I took this picture.

Tip #9 – Stay until the end of the show.  After all, you paid your money, may as well get all you can for it.  I know it is tempting to leave to get ahead of the crowd and out of the parking lot but really, what’s the rush?  Savor the moments!
We got some of the confetti from the Who show.

Mick Jones handed out some picks!

It’s a good way to get a picture of the whole band when they take their final bow.

Adele’s confetti had special messages written on them!
Tip #10 – Don’t forget YOU!  You were at the show too!  I try to make it a point to get a shot of my husband and I and whoever we are with.  
At Huey Lewis & the News

Us at Tina Turner

My daughters and I at Backstreet Boys
Thanks to Karen Siegel Fitting of Photos Kept Alive for giving me the idea to write this blog post.  I’m always looking for new things to talk about!  
What do you think?  Good tips?  Any other suggestions or questions?  Love to hear from you!


About scr4pl80

I'm a 60-ish, married, mom to 3, creative soul looking to make the world a better place one smile at a time.
This entry was posted in AT&T Park, Backstreet Boys, Canon camera, Cher, concert photo tips, Heart, Journey, July in Janetville, Mountain Winery, Rod Steward, Scorpions, scrapbooking, Stevie Nicks, The Who. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to July in Janetville – Tips for Taking Concert Photos

  1. Janet Miles says:

    Thanks, Deborah. I certainly enjoy it so that probably counts for something.


  2. Great tips Janet. And with the amount of concerts you've attended and the photos you've taken you absolutely get to consider yourself an expert! I'm certainly very impressed.


  3. Janet Miles says:

    Thanks so much, Michele! I love making my layouts for each concert. It brings back so many good times. I never thought of writing a book! When I did the A to Z I skipped around a few years to meet the alphabet needs and now I am going to go back to chronological order. I am currently up to concerts we attended in 2011! Glad you found the hints helpful!


  4. Wowsa Janet, this is an AWESOME post! Fantastic tips. I've always said I love what you do with creating your concert keepsakes and this really puts it all into perspective. You should really write a book or do a coffee-table book with all your concert scrapbooking collages. They are FABULOUS! I love the Adele one. And Stevie Nicks. That was so cool getting pics of everyone holding up their lights while Journey was singing the song. I guess the days are gone when people hold up lighters, huh? 🙂
    And the shadow shots are superb and moody. I love them!

    You really have put together some great tips. Things I wouldn't have even thought of.
    I'm glad Karen urged you to put this post together. Great job! Thanks for sharing.

    Michele at Angels Bark


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