Saturday, 23 August 2014

Taking Photos at Live Performances

A few months back Carrie Hope Fletcher uploaded a video to YouTube titled 'Instagram Generation' in which she discusses taking photos during live performances. Since then, I've been thinking about it a lot and I've sort of developed a little policy for myself. I definitely fall into the category of wanting to document everything and I like having photos of things I've seen and done to look back on at a later date. That being said, I've decided that from now on when I go to a live event where it is appropriate to take photos, I'm going to follow my new little rule for myself. That rule is that I only take a few photos and once I have one that is instagramable for me to post on the way home, I stop. 

One of the reasons I like to take photos of things, besides for myself to look back on, is that I like to share what I've done through instagram or on this here blog. This little rule for myself allows me to do that but stops me from seeing the whole live performance through the screen, something I could very easily fall into the trap of doing (and definitely have done in the past).
Upload 3: Dave Giles, Danny Gruff, Luke Cutforth, Emma Blackery, Bribry and Candice

That being said, notice I said above 'when I go to a live event where it is appropriate to take photos'. I would never, under any circumstances, take a photo during a theatre performance. Having grown up performing in plays and musicals and going to see them I know all too well what the rules are for photography in theatres. It's pretty much, don't. Taking photos during a performance where people are acting can make it incredibly hard for them to stay in character and it just inconveniences everyone involved. The likelihood is that you will then have a member of the theatre staff come up to you and they will ask you to delete the photo (often for the copyright reasons Carrie mentions in her video) and it just creates a lot of unnecessary hassle. So please, don't take photos in the theatre.

If you're at an area or stadium gig and you love taking photos of things like this and are happy to experience it through a tiny screen, by all means take as many photos as you like. Flashes going off in this size audience will make no difference at all to the performers. However, if you're at a smaller, more intimate gig, try and be respectful. Why not try out my instagram rule? Take a few photos but only enough to know you've got something to share with the internet. As a musician myself, I can tell you that if I was to play a gig in a small venue and everyone in there was more focused on a screen infront of them and taking photos it would be incredibly off-putting. In smaller venues, the acts can see almost everyone in the audience and they want to see you and see if you're enjoying it or not. They don't want to see what camera or phone you have. However if the act is a relatively unknown one, seeing photos online after a gig can be amazing because it shows you enjoyed it. If you do take a few photos, don't be scared to share them on twitter or instagram, I'm sure the act will be grateful.
Evan Gardner and me. Photo taken by Young Promoters Network

Obviously my thoughts here only apply for the average person attending a live event. If you're particularly into photography and have permission from the performers to take photos it's a whole different story. My instagram rule only applies to the average person.

What do you think? Are you like me and you like to have at least one photo to share online or does that not bother you? Or do you disagree completely and think taking photos of live performances is fine regardless of the circumstances? Let me know in the comments.

Lucy x

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