Since the birth of the decently mega-pixelled smartphone, everyone and their brother has become an amateur photographer, circle pits and bleacher seats all aglow in iPhone embers. But just because you have the means doesn’t actually mean you have the goods to take a great photo. FADER photo editor John Francis Peters gives us a practical and tactical lesson in seizing the live moment, whether it’s digital or analog.
1. Bring earplugs because you will eventually go deaf.
2. Minimize equipment to squeeze through the crowd and not piss people off.
3. Shoot from unexpected perspectives. For example, avoid the designated photo pit in front of the stage.
4. Focus on the event happening in front of you and avoid looking at your camera screen. You are going to miss a great moment.
5. Befriend the biggest bouncer. He’ll be both your bodyguard and your biggest asset getting in and out of limited access areas.
6. Have a towel handy for unexpected water bottle throwing or spit showers.
7. Aim to make images that embrace great moments but are also multidimensional. Everyone is shooting the same event. Look for subtle gestures from the crowd, environment and artist that can elevate the work beyond the surface.
8. Use a fixed lens so you’re forced to adjust positions and interact with the venue.
9. Stick around. If the show gets the crowd going, watch people as they dance and slowly exit the venue. You may capture some one-of-a-kind end moments nobody else had the stamina to get.