Can you Bring a Camera to a Concert (or Other Live Event)?

If you are planning on attending a concert or similar event, you might be interested in photographing or filming some of the exciting moments you will witness during the performance.

In this article you will learn where cameras are allowed, what types of cameras you can bring, and how to legally get a camera into a concert without getting in trouble.

Concerts have various regulations when it comes to bringing in recording devices, whether they are audio or video. Many times cameras are not well received at concerts or other events due to the issue of illegal distribution of content. No one cares about your selfie with you and your friends.

There are many ways you can get your camera into the concert. If you are associated with the press, you can easily attend a concert with your camera. If not, you need to look into other methods.

Keep in mind that here we are talking about non phone cameras. Cameras in phones often do not have the quality or zoom capability we want to get nice sharp photos or videos of the performers. Camera phones mostly use digital zoom due to the size of the lens which is very small, resulting in loss of quality the more you zoom in. Phones are also not great in the dark and give grainy images or videos.

Why don’t Concerts Allow Cameras?

There are multiple reasons why cameras are not allowed at concerts. I will list all these reasons below.

1. One main reason is the fact that people will take pictures and try to sell them. The person who sells these images will not share any profit percentage with the artist or the organizers. Thus, they are losing some amount of their income.

2. Sometimes, the artist at a concert can do into illegal acts. If the photographer captures this moment accidentally with the camera, the artist can run into unnecessary trouble.

3. There will be lots of people who have come to watch the concert. If you stand in between them and point the camera at the artist for the picture, it can be a nuisance to others. They will not be able to enjoy the concert. To avoid such a situation, cameras are not allowed at the concert.

4. Another issue is the use of flash. The amount of light during a concert will be very less since most of the programs happen at night or indoors. So, people tend to use flash in their cameras to capture sharp and blur-free images. When multiple such flashes get fired on the artist, it can distract the artist and viewers as well

5. The person who uses the camera might take pictures of intimate moments of the artist with his/ her family members. These images may go public on social media.

6. The person might capture the entire video of the concert and upload it to sites like YouTube or other social media platforms. Thus, the organizers will lose some amount of their revenue.

Point and Shoot vs DSLR/ Mirrorless Cameras

When it comes to photographing concerts, you have multiple camera options. It includes point and shoot, DSLR, or Mirrorless cameras. DSLR and Mirrorless cameras are bulky. It will be tough for you to carry one into a concert. The security personnel will easily catch you if you take a DSLR or Mirrorless camera with you.

Here, the best option is to take a point and shoot camera. The sleek and slim design of the point and shoot camera ensure that no one notices the camera. Also, there are some ways by which you can get a point and shoot camera into a concert.

How to Get Your Camera into a Concert Legally?

If you want to take your camera into a concert legally, you need to get prior permission from the concert organizers. When you contact the organizers, they will ask if you are associated with any media. Only then, they will issue the press pass. The press pass allows you to take a professional camera to a concert.

Legal camera setup with tripod with a media pass
Legal camera setup on tripod with a media pass

If you are not associated with the press, you can try to contact your local newspaper or magazine. They can help you get a press ID that will allow you to get the press pass from the organizers. Sometimes, the local media may ask you to pay a small fee for the press ID. They also might make a deal with you wherein you will have to share some of the images from the concert with them free of cost.

You can increase your chance of getting the press ID if you own a professional camera like a DSLR or Mirrorless with appropriate lenses. You can also consider getting a professional camera for rent if you do not own one.

Camera Rules for Sports, Games, and Theatre

Whether you can bring your camera for sports, games or theatre events will fully depend on the organizers. If it is a professional sport or game, they will not allow people to come with their cameras. But you can take your smartphone that comes with a somewhat good camera for such events. The only limitation is that you may not get that optical zoom reach to get a clear shot.

If it is a sports event or game conducted by colleges or other institutions, they may allow you to take your camera. It is always a good idea to check with the organizers to confirm whether they allow cameras or not. Otherwise, you may run into unnecessary trouble.

How to Sneak a Camera into a Concert?

Even though many concerts don’t allow you to bring a camera for taking pictures or videos, there are ways you can get your camera into a concert. I will list all these techniques. If you use them its at your own risk.

It is not possible to take a large camera with long lenses to a concert without getting noticed. So, the camera size is an important factor. You cannot bring a bulky camera. The camera needs to be a small one. The point and shoot digital camera is the best camera to carry. If you are planning to purchase a new point and shoot camera, make sure it is a slim and thin one. Keep in mind that these options may be limited if there are metal detectors in the venue.

Now you need to find a way to hide your camera. There are different ways to conceal your camera in your clothing. All these techniques are listed below.

1. You can keep the camera inside the gloves and wear them. Make sure your gloves are not thin. If they are thin, people will start seeing the projection created by the camera. You need to stick the camera inside one of your gloves. Sometimes, they may ask to remove your gloves. In such a situation, you can easily remove gloves and show your hand. After that, you can put your gloves back on.

2. Nowadays, you can get very thin and small point and shoot cameras. If you own such a camera, there is one technique that is worth trying. You can easily get a wallet where you can hide this camera. It is a good idea to cover the camera with a thin fabric and tape it inside the wallet. Thus, even if the security personnel check, you can show your wallet and sneak in.

3. Don’t wear thin shirts or tops. Go for a sweatshirt that looks large and bulky. Use a rubber band or camera straps and tie the camera to one of your arms. Make sure the camera does not fall when you walk or move around. The sleeves of the sweatshirt will ensure that no one sees the camera. Sometimes the security personnel may ask to remove the sweatshirt. You must not remove it completely. Just lift it from the bottom to the top so that the security guys can confirm that there is nothing underneath your shirt.

4. If you don’t like to wear a sweatshirt, you can go for a bulky shirt that has long sleeves. This technique will work only if your camera is very slim and you have a strong and bulky arms.

5. Another place where you can keep your point and shoot camera is inside the shoes. But you need to be very careful if you are going to use this technique. When you walk there will be some amount of pressure applied on the camera since it is under your feet. You need to walk in such a way that there is no pressure on the camera. Otherwise, it can damage your camera. Also, it is a good idea to stick the camera using tape. If you don’t tape it, the camera will move around and the security guys will catch you easily because of your abnormal walking style.

6. You can also tape the camera inside the bottom part of your pants. Make sure to wear a bell-bottom or pants with a wider bottom section. It will ensure that no one notices the camera down there. If you go for a skinny fit, there will be a bulge on the pant when you tape the camera.

7. If you are a lady, there is one more idea you can try. Here, you need to conceal the camera on top of your head and use the hair as a cover up. To make it more effective, you can wear a hat. Thus, no one will notice it. Even if the security guy asks you to remove the hat, the camera will go unnoticed since it is under the hair.

8. Another great place to hide your camera is on the jacket. You can wear a jacket above your shirt or tee. There are multiple places where you can keep the camera in the jacket. Do not keep it in the regular pockets. Try to tape it inside the arm or the hand area of the jacket.

If you are not after the highest quality photos or video, it almost makes sense to avoid these hassles and use your phone if you have one.

I hope this article covered all the ways you can get a camera into a concert or similar event. Consider reading this article on how to photograph live events at night.

By Nicholas

Nicholas is a staff writer at Photodoto. His interests include photography, collecting cameras old and new, video editing, and all things 3d. If a new gadget comes out on the market, he's sure to be the first to try it. He enjoys experimenting with low light photography, very long exposures and high speed filming.

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