This is an excellent write-up. I think it's great that you have taken the time to help the community.
I would like to add a couple of other pointers (I have been doing concert photography for 5 years, and got a whole lot of things wrong in the first years, so this is a list of my "Battle scars")
1.Make friends with security. If you have time to get to the venue early, talk to them, they are really great people (in the most part), and will make your life a whole load easier, and might even give you access to areas that you really shouldn't have access to.
2.Do what security say! It doesn't matter if you have a photogs pass, if security ask you to move, or whatever, MOVE-you won't be able to hear why they want you to move, and having a conversation with them is impossible. Failure to comply with their wishes inevitably and quickly leads to you being removed from wherever you are.
3.Use two cameras. You don't have time to change lenses
4.Learn how to replace a memory card(or change lenses if that's what you need to do) in complete darkness
5.If you are in the photographers pit, don't stand for any longer than necessary in one position, you will annoy the fans, and either they will give you a crafty thump in the back, or they will ask security to remove you, either way, not good
6. General band photography (i.e. doing all the bands in a multi-band line-up) is generally not permitted, regardless of what your pass says, you need the permission of each bands management to take photos. If you don't have that, again, security will be called
7. Take crowd reaction shots. The bands just LOVE pictures of the crowd going wild
8. The bigger the band(Later on in the event), the more of a light show they get, so, if you are shooting an early band, be ready to push the ISO as high as you can get it without totally intrusive noise appearing in the shots
9. Take a few "Safety shots" in automatic, then move to fully manual, you will end up with much more impactful shots that show the band being flooded with light, or maybe, just getting a musician with a little rim light.
10.Listen to the music. The lighting may be tuned to the music that's being played, and by timing your shot to go with the beat, you might end up with a better lit target.
12. Wear ear plugs! I'm now pretty deaf as a result of being in the photographers pit for too many hours, which is right next to the speakers. Don't end up like me!
13. If you are in competition with other photographers a) respect their needs-don't get in the way of their shots b)Get your shots off to the commissioning magazines/web-sites/e-zines, before the other guys do. (You are in competition with them!) "Fast" is commonly better than "Best", when it comes to what shots an editor chooses
Thanks for the veteran feedback! Excellent comments.
It spurs a few more thoughts on my part (numbered to yours above):
1) Along the lines of making friends with security, make friends with the other photographers. If you are approaching their spot, be polite, use your hands to point to spot with an 'is that okay?' look (as they can't hear you). Also, my editor friend said never hoist your camera above your head to get a shot -- it has a good chance to ruining another photographer's shot (also, at this venue, getting above stage level was a no-no).
3) My second body is a rebel and likely would have been devoured by the darkness, but yes, having two cameras are certainly a huge advantage. I managed changing a lens in about 20 seconds at this show, but it was 20 seconds I could have been shooting and I could have clumsily dropped the lens in that darkness...
12) Essential point, thanks -- I don't care how tough you think you are, ear plugs are a must
Thx for the great
feedback, celliottuk. It is truly appreciated!