Let's talk: Is it okay to take photographs at live concerts?

This is more often the view performers get at their concerts these days. Image: Rick Kern/WireImage

There’s a different thing facing performers when they hit the stage at concerts these days. A row of mobile phones.

While some concert venues have strict instructions when it comes to photography, specifying none at all, or no flash and video recording devices, it’s pretty much impossible to stop everyone from taking a sneaky photo on their phones, even if they’re told not to.

It’s not something we ever did in our youth, that’s for sure, but that’s because we didn’t have access to the technology like we do today. There’s probably a few concerts we’ve been to that we wished we’d have photos of now.

Some performers welcome photography. It’s certainly a great way to get your name out there, as hundreds of concert-goers post the images straight to social media as part of bragging rights these days.

 Not all of them like it. Chrissie Hyde of the Pretenders was so upset at fans filming her during a recent concert the started swearing at them and stormed off the stage. The 66-year old was only onto her first song in a Dubai gig when she got upset, called the crowd the C word and even cocked her leg, saying ‘take a picture of that’, as she stormed off. 

Ad. Article continues below.

She’s since taken to social media herself to apologise for some of her comments, but it does beg the question…. should fans be able to take photographs or should cameras (and phones) but put away to enjoy the moment?

Read more: Why our photography habits should come with a warning

If you are keen to get a few snaps yourself, here’s a few tips to do it right.

No flash

Ad. Article continues below.

As a general rule you won’t need flash, so turn it off. The lights on stage will provide more than enough colour and lighting for your photo.

Go dark

Those stage lights are more likely to wash out a photograph if they are pointing directly your way, as if often the case with roving lighting set-ups. Like most cameras you can do a slight alteration to the exposure on your mobile too. There’s usually a slider indicator on one side of the frame, either with numbers or dots. Drag the slider down so the image darkens and see what a difference it makes.


It’s hard to keep steady in a crowd of dancing people but if you move while the photo’s being taken it will blur. It’s best to hold the camera phone with both hands and try to brace yourself steady. 

Ad. Article continues below.


If you hold the button down when you take a photo it will take more than one. This is called burst mode and is perfect for actions shots, such as where a performer is moving around on stage. It will give you more 


Don’t be that person who holds their camera up above their head for the entire length of a song to get the perfect pic, or to record it. Think about the people standing behind you. If you must take pics try to be quick, and keep out of people’s way. It’s best for everyone. And remember, it’s best to check the venue rules before you whip out the camera in the first place!

Do you like to take photographs when you go to events? What do you do with them?