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How To Pick Up Your Credentials and Concert Etiquette

It’s show day! You went through the whole process and now you finally get to shoot a concert! You’ve arrived at the venue and now what? It varies based on venue and the artists but here is a little guide to help you prepare and what to expect.

What To Bring

  • Your Camera Gear (Of course)
  • Extra battery and SD Cards
  • Photo ID (To get your credentials)
  • Ear plugs (You are gonna be right in front of loud speakers, please protect your hearing)
  • Where dark/black clothes

Where Do You Go?

Make sure to arrive at the venue about an hour to 30 minutes prior to the show starting. Once you have arrived at the venue head to box office where your credentials will be held. Tell the person at the box office that you are photographing the show and your name, have any sort of photo ID ready to show the worker. Once you have received your pass it is time to head inside.

Small/Medium Sized Venues

Typically at venues of this size you will enter the building the same way the concert goers enter. You won’t have to stand in line just let the security at the door know you are with media and show them your photo pass and they will let you enter. Once you are inside you just have to wait for the show to start. Sometimes the publicist will email you the set times but if not do your own research in advance to know when each act is set to perform. Also at smaller venues, you are responsible for heading over to the pit yourself, give yourself about 10 minutes before the acts scheduled time to go to the pit where the security will let you in.

Larger Venues

With larger venues there is usually a separate entrance for media. When a publicist approves your photo pass they will also include in the email instructions on where to pick up your credentials and meet up with the venues coordinator. This coordinator will give you the run down on the shows rules and will be the one escorting you in and out of the pit.

Once you’ve made your way in the pit, this is a good time to get your gear ready and put your bag away. Once you have that all settled take the time to scout the area of the pit a bit to get an idea of where you can capture some shots.

3 Songs Only!

The rule is you shoot the first 3 songs of the set then you get out. The only time this rule does not apply is if you are working directly with the artist, in that case you are free to shoot the whole show and you would have an “All Access Pass”, this pass allows you to roam freely and you can shoot from anywhere in the venue, such as backstage.

Photo Pit Etiquette

First off, no flash! It is often told to you in your approval email and by staff working at the venue but sometimes people choose to ignore and it not only is breaking the rules but can be interrupt the performance on stage.

There will most likely be other photographers in the pit with you, please be nice and considerate of the other photographers. Below I shared a TikTok of a concert photographers experience with rude photographers in the pit of a show.


rina deserved better… i’ll be posting the pics i got later #concertphotography

♬ original sound – Sarah Ohta
@sarahohta on TikTok

It ruins the whole experience when people are not behaving in a professional manner, remember you are still doing a job. Give people space and when moving around or shooting be aware of your surroundings.

Now that you know what to expect you are all set. It can get overwhelming at times but have fun and be nice to the people there. This can be a great chance to network and make some friends, seize all the opportunities and enjoy!

As always thank you for reading and make sure to leave a comment below, I would love to know what you think and to answer any questions you may have! Til next time!

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