Skip to main content

Capturing Music Festivals

Lesson 9 from: Getting Started in Music Photography with Red Bull Photographer Todd Owyoung

Todd Owyoung

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

9. Capturing Music Festivals

Next Lesson: Using Speedlights

Lesson Info

Capturing Music Festivals

Let's dive into music festivals and music festivals, for me, are a hugely thrilling part of music photography because it's an opportunity to not only photograph a ton of bands in a very short span of time but it's an opportunity to capture the fan experience, the lifestyle, and all of these other elements that don't necessarily happen at a one-off concert or even a tour. There's so much more than just the live music at festivals. And even for editorial coverage, one approach that I take for covering a festival is to shoot as if I'm covering it for the festival promoter. So, I might be photographing a festival for Red Bull or another client, but I take it upon myself to really take the point of view of, okay, I wanna sell the experience of this festival. I wanna tell the story of what it's like to go as a fan and capture the dress, the fashion, kind of the mood, the art installations, everything beyond just the live music. And the opportunities you have beyond just your normal concert a...

t a venue, you can cover lifestyle, fans, fashion, food, and vendors. So just covering some examples, again this is that shot from Leeds Festival of a hundred people throwing their T-shirts up in the air because Diplo asked them to. This is at the Escape From New York Festival on Long Island and just, these funky festival kind of rides. This is at Leeds Festival also, and it's showing what, this is for Knife Party, and a shot with the camera on a monopod hoisted up above the crowd so you kind of have this view of what it's almost like to be moshing for this artist. But even the food, this is Escape From New York again. This is a totally delicious lobster roll and capturing the food experience of what might draw someone to a festival. Like good food's gonna do that. This is Firefly Festival. This is shot for Red Bull and this is just an experience of photographing fans in that environment having fun. For Firefly unlike a lot of music festivals there's a hammock area and so people will go and relax and just enjoy themselves and kind of capturing an authentic moment of people enjoying the festival is something that I love to do. This is also at Firefly. This is a silent disco. So all the participants here had these headsets, these wireless headsets where the music is playing but for everyone else not wearing a headset you don't hear anything. And so it's king of people dancing in silence but because they're all having this shared experience of listening to the same music it's still a party and is capturing that as one of these experiences you can have at Firefly. And here this is photographing the Wings Team for Red Bull and these are photographing fangoers as they are going into the venue grounds the concert grounds and is capturing that little bit of what it's like of, you know, you're going in the festival, you need a little energy, and the Wings Team is there for you. And this is also Firefly and just capturing obviously crowd surfers is always something that's a fun challenge because depending where you are their feet are in the way, their arms are in the way but capturing a clean shot of someone enjoying themselves crowd surfing is always a fun challenge for me. And this is also Firefly. This is kind of later on in the evening, this is maybe in between sets even of people just kind of relaxing and showing what it's like. It's not in the pit, it's not the height of a crowd or a mosh pit but its people just relaxing and here's the forest lit up a little bit and showing this more subdued and relaxed side of a music festival. And here it's just the fans. These two were super excited, very patriotic and just ready to enjoy the music and capturing people who look like they're having fun is just kind of a rewarding thing and a thrill as a festival photographer, just kind of capturing these impromptu portraits and stopping people and saying hey you two look great. Can I take your portrait?

Ratings and Reviews

Alexandra U

I highly reccomend this class for any one who would like to get started or dip their toes in the concert photography scene. This class has many useful tips and trick for any level of photographer, not just beginners. I have been in the music scene for over 10 years and I was able to gather so much information in every chapter. Watching this video boosted up my confidence as a photographer because it validated that I am already succeeding in my concert career. Thank you for this amazing stream. It sparked my creative soul once again.

Kris Comer

Wow, this was awesome! I have been a concert photographer for almost 3 years now and I still learned some great tips! I loved that he covered different ideas for promo shots which is one of my weaknesses. Any beginner should definitely check out this course! It is straight and to the point with all of the most important steps.

Mark Balmer

This is a really great course! I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in this type of photography. It is presented in an easy to understand way. Todd gives clear and informative tips and shows how to set up lights, poses etc! I found it very helpful, and will definitely put what i've learned to work. Thanks, Mark

Student Work