Have you noticed that concert photographers have a different style no matter where you look? Check your favorite music magazines and blogs and take a look, or even better: go to Instagram and you’ll find enough pictures of the same band on the same event date from various photographers, all with different angles and styles. But, what exactly defines a photographic style?
It’s all about choices.
Every time you go cover a concert, you’re presented with choices: which lens to choose, what angles to cover, on stage or at the pit, aperture and shutter speed… even the editing process: how advanced do we want to edit a photo until we have the finished product? Each choice you make defines how you work and what’s best suited for you. Your style can be as different as you want it to be, or inspired by your favorites in the industry. One thing remains clear though: these choices are only made by you experimenting and seeing what works best with and what you’re comfortable with.
It takes time to develop a style.
… And then some! It takes time and a lot of experimenting to figure out what works best for you, and even then, you should never stop at when you feel most comfortable. Why should you? If musicians didn’t push themselves, we would never have new music, new genres, new dances, new anything. As photographers, we should always push the envelope of what we are and never stop improving; The sky’s the limit, and your creativity is endless!
There is no “standard”.
How many concert photographers do you think currently exist, and how many are covering the same concerts you’re going to? How many are getting published by major publications such as Revolver Mag, Alt Press, or Rolling Stone? How many are being published by local music blogs, or creating their own? If you look into all of these, there’s not a standard or rule as to how a picture should look, and if it did, it would probably be the most boring thing in the universe, don’t you think? The beauty of concert photography really is that there are so many styles for one single event that it’s almost like you’re seeing that same concert from a different perspective, and how exciting is that? That’s where your photographic style comes from: If your photos can make someone else feel like they were these or see the same concert differently, you’re well on your way to developing your style in your own way.
The next time you visit your favorite music photographer’s blog, check this for yourself. See what sets them apart from other photographers. It just might help and inspire you to develop (or continue developing) your own photographic style.