Stage lights can be a concert photographer’s best friend or worst enemy. There are two approaches to handling concert lighting: light the stage yourself, or work with what you’re given.
If you’d like to light your photos yourself, first take the performers into account. Flash photography can be extremely distracting, especially in an otherwise low-light environment. Some venues won’t allow flash photography or professional camera equipment without permission, so check with the venue beforehand to see what you can bring with you. If possible, speak with the performer and compromise with them so you can use your strobes for a few minutes of the set. (The flash built in to most cameras can only reach around 18 meters and is not powerful to light a stage from the crowd.)
If you have an SLR, you can purchase high-powered strobes that attach to your camera’s hot shoe above the viewfinder. Strobes can light people from over 70 meters away and are useful for concert photography. If you have the cash (and if the venue/performers will allow it), a remote flash is another option. By using an attachment to your camera and strobe’s hot shoe attachments, you can remotely control your flash from within the room. With remote-controlled strobes, you can create more dynamic light than the straight-ahead flat lighting that can be the byproduct of powerful strobes.
Photo: This photo was taken with a remote-controlled flash located to the right of the performers. It creates a more dynamic shadow on the singer’s face instead of the flat, straight-on flash. Taken by Lauren Crabbe.