How can I take great concert photos with an iPhone 5?

Robert Z August 2, 2013

Of course the bright lights wash out the photos, and everything is blurry.
I also would love to use the zoom , for better overall photos but it too blurs the image even if the zoom is only 1/3-1/2 way .

I read some internet reviews on products like zoom lens attachments—but they were not rated very high-=–especially the magnetic ring ones…
Just wondered if there are things I am doing wrong..or it is just always going to be this way with the iphone..

  1. Tim Brookes
    August 4, 2013 at 12:58 am

    I used to photograph quite a bit of live music photography. I never used a flash (well, I did for clients who specifically requested it) so it was always an exercise in available-light photography. A flash ruins the atmosphere, lighting and subtleties by washing everything out with light and detail. I would say if you seriously wanted to get into concert photography (i.e. beyond just snapping photos from the crowd) that you buy yourself an entry-level dSLR and a 50mm prime lens at f/1.8 (or 1.4 if you can afford it). These are very fast lenses with very shallow depths of field that allow you to capture a lot of light, though focus is everything. You should always shoot RAW, and jack your ISO up enough to afford you some playtime with the shutter speed or aperture if possible.

    Like sports photography, it's not easy but it sure is rewarding.

    I wrote this lens/zoom tips article a few weeks ago which might answer a few questions regarding accessories and such, though you're right - for the most part the results you get (particularly from the magnetic rings) is believed to be quite poor. We should have something a little more detailed up soon!

  2. Oron J
    August 3, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Zoom attachments are not great, but digital zooming is probably even worse, particularly in difficult lighting conditions such as a concert, since the lights will affect exposure even if they're not included in the crop area (digital "zooming" simply means cropping a part of the image in the camera). I wouldn't go as far as Justin and say that you need a DSLR, but certainly a camera with optical zoom will give you much better results.

  3. Hovsep A
    August 3, 2013 at 8:16 am

    How to Take Better Photos With Your iPhone

  4. Dalsan M
    August 3, 2013 at 6:03 am

    There are sites like these: that sell a kit where the attachment for the lens is more like a case style attachment and comes with a mini tripod. There is a manual focus ring so you can zoom in up to 12x optical and maintain focus. It may look funny, but if you can get nice zoom pics, why not. It looks better than people taking pictures with a large tablet. As far as the camera, try to lower the exposure to compensate for the lighting. If you don't have it, try out UCam from the App Store. I have an android phone, but have used the UCam app for android and the quality of pictures are quite decent, and there are quite a few options within the app.

  5. Justin Pot
    August 3, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Yaara's got some great advice here. Might be hard to use in a concert setting, but it's all worth considering:


    Don't know much about lens attachments, sorry to say, but if you're going to spend money I suggest just looking into an SLR. Just my opinion.