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A Photographer's Guide To Surviving A Music Festival

If you're both a music and photography fan then a summer festival could be right up your street.

| General Photography

A Photographer's Guide To Surviving A Music Festival : Stage


Music festival season is in full swing so if you're heading to one of the many still to be held this summer, here are a few tips from canvas printing experts's blogger Gvido Grube on how you can capture better photos at these musical events. 

It’s that time of the year again when shades and tank tops, completely out-of-place war bonnets and seemingly inexhaustible reserves of beer arrive in fields across the country as revelers dance the night away to tunes from all types of genres. As the blood-red sunset decorates the sky on the third day of the event, you swear to yourself that this is positively the best thing that’s ever happened to you and as for the music, this is what the event's all about. Music is what gathers the crowd and makes mud, rain and the occasional vibe of a hipster pandemic even more fun. 

Of course, while there, you're going to want to capture the memories on camera so we thought we'd share with you some top tips on how you can take better photos at music festivals. 


Preparation Is Key 

Do your research before you leave home to see if you can pick any tips up on where the best viewpoints will be as well as some general insight into the logistics of the venue.

Keep in mind that large, outdoor music festivities can be tiring and tricky to navigate with your camera kit. There’s a sea of festival-goers, a considerable area to cover and don't forget that completely unpredictable weather conditions can cause havoc. With musical acts constantly overlapping and the multitude of stages turning into a seemingly indistinguishable maze of sound and vision, it's really easy to forget where you're meant to be at what time. Taking the stage times with you on a list with markers next to which you particularly want to watch / photograph will help no-end. Some call this a 'clash finder' and they're often published online prior to events taking place. If you're camping, you'll also find them on boards around the campsites normally. Taking a map with you is also a good idea for the first day so you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the event.

If you can, see if you can take a look at the stages before the crowds start arriving so you can see the best place to position yourself. This isn't always right in front of the stage either as you tend to get large crowds and mosh-pits forming which can make photography tricky. Look where speakers and other stage accessories are placed, too as you don't want these getting in the way of your shots. Some festival sites are on hills, too, which means you can find a prime spot further up the slope so you are higher than most of the crowd.


A Photographer's Guide To Surviving A Music Festival : Crowd


Camera Choices 

Besides a plethora of different supplies necessary purely for your survival, there are lots of photography-related items you could take with you. However, unless you're there to officially take photos of the acts on stage, 'professional kit' is generally not allowed in. Instead, you'll have to use a 'none professional-style camera' that has a good zoom

With the zoom at its maximum length, you'll be able to capture photos that encapsulate the mood of the moment as well as their passion for performing. 

As well as zooming in on the action, don't forget to capture the stage and crowd in its entirety with a wider angle. You never know, you might capture something that will be perfect for your wall. Most compacts also have a panorama mode which can be handy when you're trying to take wider shots such as this. 

Don't forget there's also plenty of other things going on at festivals that tend to be easier to capture when you're working with this more compact style of camera. 


A Photographer's Guide To Surviving A Music Festival : Stage


Battery Power 

It’s no secret that the majority of music festivals (with some minor exceptions like Van’s Warped Tour and Mayhem Fest) are two to three-day marathons of live music  that demand not only a considerable amount of spare storage but also sufficient quantities of battery power. You don't want to burn through your battery all in one day so do be considerate in what you're capturing and don't waste battery on frequent image reviews in-camera. You should also switch your camera off when using it which may seem like an obvious thing but when you're 'in the moment', it can be an easy thing to forget. Of course, packing a spare battery or two with extra memory cards is a good idea, too. 


Downloading Images 

Unless you're there working as a music photographer,  having a laptop in your personal belongings isn't a good idea. However, if you really do need to backup images, you could always take a small, portable SSD drive. 


Other Top Tips Worth Remembering 

Don’t forget to drink lots of water and do remember to eat! If possible, don’t move too much during a performance,have your camera in-hand before the rush towards the act on stage begins and look out for key moments. These include popular shots such as the guitarist in a mid-air jump or the lead singer leaning over for the crowd.

Also, don't forget to enjoy yourself as really, that's the whole point in going to one of these cracking events!


A Photographer's Guide To Surviving A Music Festival : Drummer


About Author: Gvido Grube 

Gvido writes interesting and educational blog pieces for, a website where you can transform your images into wall art, canvas prints or photo gifts.This particular blog piece was also put together with advice from USA site

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