Shooting a concert with a Point and Shoot Camera

f/5.6 1/100 ISO 3200

When you shoot with your point and shoot camera one of the most important controls you have is your ISO.  Most point and shoot cameras will not let you choose your shutter speed or f/stop.  My Nikon P7000 lets me do pretty much everything that my Nikon D3s does in terms of picking modes and setting ISO.

Why do you want to change your ISO?  Well often on Auto ISO it will only go to ISO 400.  That is what my camera does on AUTO ISO.  But I can override it and set the camera as high as ISO 6400.

Choose the highest ISO and then start taking photos.

f/3.2 1/70 ISO 1600

Zoom in on the back of the camera during the concert and see if the photo is sharp.  There are two things affecting the sharpness shutter speed and how still you are holding the camera.  If the pictures are not sharp, see about propping the camera on something like a chair, table or railing and then take photos.

If they are still not sharp there is one more thing affecting the sharpness–the people in the photo.  They could be moving.  So, if this is the case you need to shoot even more to get just a few in focus and sharp photos.  Wait till the musicians pause in their actions–not necessarily in the music.  They may hit a high note and hold it and this is when you want to shoot. 

(f/5.6 1/25 ISO 1600)  Because I held the camera really still and the musician Chuck Leavell paused in his motions I got a sharp photo.  Lots before and after this wear not as sharp.  I could have taken the ISO up two more stops, but I liked the look at ISO 1600.  Had none come out sharp at this ISO I would have dialed the ISO up to 3200 or 6400.

f/5.6 1/100 ISO 1600

Summary:  If you plan to take photos at a concert and you want some good shots, then you are going to have to shoot a lot.

  1. Keep the ISO high as possible
  2. Remain as still as possible when pushing the shutter release 
  3. Pick moments where musicians are still but still playing