As a music photographer, your gear is important. But, what may be even more important are the accessories you choose to make using that gear easier. So while you may think all I'm about to talk about are cameras with super high megapixels or incredibly expensive lenses (which do have their place), I'm going to focus on the most important things I use as a music photographer.
1. Earplugs. Earplugs. Earplugs.
I said it three times and I'll say it again: EARPLUGS. There's nothing worse than standing too close to a speaker a show or festival and feeling your ears get blown out. Actually, what may be slightly worse is the drive home because your ears will definitely be ringing. If you want to be shooting concerts for years to come (or just hearing in general), get in the habit of protecting your hearing early on. Yes, you'll still be able to hear the music and the artist's voice, you will just be protected from sounds over a certain decibel. There are some cheap options from Amazon and even Walmart. Or as you progress, there are more expensive options like ones that are custom made from an audiologist.
2. Camera Strap
There are different types of camera straps: wrist straps, double camera harnesses, and shoulder straps. Choose whichever one works best for you and your shooting style. With so many people at concerts, it's easy to bump into someone and get your camera knocked out of your hand or have a lens damaged from blunt force. Not only does a camera strap protect your joints, but it also protects your gear from dropping or knocking into something that could cause serious damage. So yeah, strap up.
3. Fast-writing SD Card
When you're shooting in lowlight, the file size of your photos will typically be a little big. In addition, to get the most/max frames per second out of your camera body, you'll definitely need a fast-writing SD Card. If you have a camera that takes CF cards, same rules apply. Megapixel count and camera frames per second will vary, but the role/saving grace of a fast-writing SD card will remain the same. You don't want to take a chance on missing "the shot" do you???
4. Prime Lens
I left gear for last as this will change and evolve as you continue to shoot. For starters, I would recommend buying a cheap prime lens. The 50mm f/1.8 and 35mm f/something are universally pretty cheap, starter fast glass lenses across camera brands and are workhorses for beginners and long time photographers. I'm personally a huge proponent of the nifty 50, but there are people that swear by the 35mm for its relative focal distance on a crop sensor (~56mm) and the wide portrait angle it provides on a full frame camera. Do what works best for you and your budget, and keep in mind the longterm investment that this will be.
5. Full Frame Camera
A camera is only as good as the photographer that uses it. With this being said, there are some limitations to using a crop sensor camera. Most notably, their inability to perform as good as full frame cameras in low light. You'll see a lot less grain on a full frame camera, you'll get the true focal length of your lenses, and they also tend to have higher frames per second rates.
These are the 5 things I can't live without as a music photographer, let me know what accessories or other gear is a must have for you!
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