The Absolute Must Have Telephoto Lenses for Event Photographers

sigma lenses

Event photography is a mixed bag, more so than any other genre of photography. The lenses you choose will be vital to your success in this field. This is where the beauty of telephoto lenses come into play.

Telephoto lenses are, in a word, amazing. They allow us to get closer to our subjects, and they often come with fast apertures, which means they are perfect for low light photography. What is a telephoto lens? Telephoto refers to lenses that offer a focal range of greater then 85mm. Telephoto lenses should not be confused with zoom lenses. A zoom lens can be any lens that goes from a wide angle to normal angle like the 24-70mm, or ultra-wide to wide such as a 16-35mm. A telephoto can be a zoom lens if the focal range exceeds 85mm, like the 70-200mm, but they can also be prime lenses too such as a 135mm f2. With that said, let’s jump right in and take a look at the absolute must-have telephoto lenses for event photography.

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Some of the Best Lenses for Concert Photography for 2018

Using the right lens can take your concert photography from so-so to so awesome!

Concert photography is a fun way to get cool shots but it’s not as easy as you might think. Yes, the lighting is done for you and the performers are doing the performing for you, and yes, you do need to capture a lot of frames, but with concert photography the lens will make the biggest difference for any photographer.

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These 12 Prime Lenses Are Great For Shooting Concerts

Concert photography has a wide range of participants, from the casual fan in the crowd to the full time professional in the pit. But they also have a range of venues, from outdoor amphitheaters to downtown dive bars. So for someone looking to get into concert photography, where should they start in terms of lenses for their kit?

Zoom lenses offer some great benefits thanks to their versatility, but generally suffer when compared to prime lenses in terms of their aperture ratings and how much light they can gather. You can go either way, but for someone looking to dabble in concert work, or looking to keep the budget within reason, a prime lens is a good way to do that. Today we are going to highlight several of our favorite prime lenses for concert photography, so lets get into it!

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10 Awesome Concert Photographers With Under 10K Followers Shooting Black and White (Premium)

If you have been reading La Noir Image for any time now you should be familiar with our 10 under 10k column. In this column, we gather together 10 outstanding instagrammers who shoot our monthly theme that have less than 10,000 followers. This month we are featuring music/concert photographers, and so today’s list will be made up of those photographers as well.

The one caveat to this months’ listing is that due to the nature of concert photography, there are not many Instagrammers who post primarily black and white feeds in this genre, so we have modified this slightly to highlight photographers on Instagram who have great black and white work, and well under 10,000 followers. Let’s get started.

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Concert Photography: Nailing the Autofocus in Dark Venues

Getting the photos you really care about at a concert can be an ordeal if you’re in a dark venue. Just naturally, most concerts are in dark venues and the lighting there can make it difficult for a camera’s sensor to be able to focus due to it changing so quickly. Years ago, many photographers used to use the zone focusing method, and that’s still an option if you want. However, if you don’t want to manually focus your lens, then try these tips to ensure that you’ve always got the image perfectly captured.

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Survey: Concert Attendees Basically Take Too Many Photos

Western Digital recently finished a really interesting study about the way that people take pictures at concerts and festivals. Most people opt for smartphones (which isn’t surprising), and they often end up running out of storage. On top of that, they hate deleting images on their phone because it’s like deleting a memory. They want everything recorded.

Sad in some ways because it means that you can be spending so much time trying to document the moment vs experiencing it…yes, I know. But it gets even more interesting when you consider how much they actually really value these photos.

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Tim Bottchen: Concert Photography and the Business Side

G. Love & Special Sauce playing The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis on August 5, 2015. Speakers in Code.

G. Love & Special Sauce playing The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis on August 5, 2015. Speakers in Code.

All images by Tim Bottchen. Used with permission.

Photographer Tim Bottchen is based out of St. Louis, Missouri. He got into photography at a very young age when he Dad was fascinated by it. The art influence continued into his college years where he received a Bachelors of Fine Art in Graphic Design and started working on multiple global brands at an Ad Agency as an Art Director. After a decade of big agency work, he jumped to New Balance and became their Lifestyle Photographer.

“When I’m not shooting sneakers, I’m shooting beer, concerts or classic cars.” says Tim about his concert photography. In his pitch email to the Phoblographer, he describes his work as “No flash, first three songs, fast and loud.”

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Music Photographer Angelina Castillo Tells Incredible Stories


All images by Angelina Castillo. Used with permission.

Photographer Angelina Castillo may be familiar to some of you. She had a series of photos go viral recently which featured “Sad Dads” at One Direction concerts. While the internet may have enjoyed that series, what’s even more incredible about her is all the stories that she has to tell as a music photographer.

She hails from Texas and began taking photos at a young age because she didn’t want to pay to get into concerts. When adulthood beckoned, Angelina moved to upstate New York to attend Ithaca College. While there, she tells us that she “studied things totally irrelevant to real life, met some very wonderful people, and realized how little she liked snow.”

In 2012, she moved to Nashville and started shooting photos for Third Man Records. Angelina was recently chosen by the Impossibly Project as a photographer to experiment with the company’s new special edition film that they designed in collaboration with Jack White’s music label. And while she created some very cool photos with it, you’ll want to hear more about the industry from her perspective.

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On Photographers Capturing vs Creating Images

ISO 400, 1/100th f2.8

ISO 400, 1/100th f2.8

The image above is something that I created. I didn’t capture it. Bec Fordyce and I collaborated together to create the image. Yes, there’s a difference and it’s a big difference. Photographers can generally be categorized as artists–and they indeed are because the craft requires a creative skill and foresight to understand how something will look before it’s rendered on film, wet plates or on a camera sensor.

But photographers also need to have a clear distinction and self awareness of what exactly they’re doing.

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How to Ensure You Keep the Rights to Your Photos

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon PIXMA iP2850 printer review product photos (1 of 10)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

It’s been the talk of the internet for the past couple of days: Taylor Swift telling Apple to pay artists for her work, photographers telling Taylor Swift to pay them for their work, Taylor Swift responding back. Indeed, it’s become very common for concert and music photographers to need to give up their rights in order to photograph musicians.

Amidst the growing problem, we talked to a handful of famous concert photographers about how to deal with problems like this.

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PSA: Please Wipe the Lens of Your Cameraphone

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Asus Zenfone 2 camera review product images (8 of 11)ISO 4001-25 sec at f - 2.8

You all see them: go to social media pages and you’ll see folks simply just trying to capture the moment but it being super soft, maybe out of focus and with light streaks all across? Why is this? Many people simply do not know that they need to wipe the lens of their cameraphone down. The other night, my friend was recording a video at a concert and but not a single detail could be seen because of the light steaks across the lens thanks in no small part to the fingerprints on her lens.

Think of it like this: put on a pair of glasses. You can see crystal clear out of them, but then take oil and smear them on the lenses. How will you see?

The same concept applies here, and you’ll be much better off simply taking the time to wipe down a lens. You’ll get a better photo that you can remember or simply forget all because it’s going on social media anyway.

Weekend Humor: Dear Beyoncé, Thank You For Banning Us

Image from

Image from

Weekend Humor isn’t meant to be taken seriously. So don’t, ya rube.

In a surprising, but not unwelcome decision, Beyoncé banned all professional photographers from future concerts in an attempt to prevent terrifically unflattering images from leaking into the public sphere. Lost in a deluge of remixes, the original image looked something like her attempt to go Super Saiyan, or something like it. She’s muscular. She’s fit. We get it. The ban elicited a massive shrug from the photography world. Many even thanked her as she seemed to uphold Kennedy’s dictum: Ask not what your photographer can do for you, but what you can do for your photographer.

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(UPDATED) Which One is Which? Sony NEX 5N vs Canon 5D Mk II

Recently at a concert in Brooklyn, I took the Sony NEX 5n and 50mm f1.8 along for a ride. Since I needed my 5D Mk II and 85mm f1.8 that day as well, they just happened to be on me at the time. During the concert, I got curious about their performance against one another and shot the following two photos. Can you discern which is which?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo 1 is from the Sony NEX 5n and Photo 2 is from the Canon 5D Mk II. The hints: Canon renders warmer images out of the box plus it did indeed misfocus in such low lighting conditions. The center focusing point is its strongest one. The NEX 5n nailed it in low light. Part of it also has to do with the focal lengths.

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