About half of the venues I've shot at haven't had any kind of barrier between the stage and the crowd. That kind of set-up is awesome for the audience - you get to feel the singer's sweat drip on your face etc.
For a photographer? Not so good. It means I either shoot from the crowd or from side-of-stage. Last week, this was the situation I found myself in.
It started off fine, first 3 bands - almost no people around.Then the headlining band came on... PANDEMONIUM! This venue definitely wasn't equipped to handle that kind of crowd. Of course I staked my spot out early, second row, to the right of centre. Didn't help. Within seconds of the band taking the stage I was copping elbows in the face, being pushed around and worst of all - my camera was at risk of damage. That's usually a good time to leave. So I tried. The furthest I got was side-of-stage. Okay I thought, I'll see what I can get from here (with a huge keyboard between me and the band now)
I was there fore maybe 1 minute, when the lead singer spotted me and made eye-contact. Uh-oh, this is usually when they give you the signal to stop photographing. He made the 'camera' shape with his hands, pointed at the crowd then the drummer, and motioned me on-stage.
I was quite shocked (this had never happened to me before) but no way as I going to miss the opportunity to squeeze myself into the non-existent space between the drummer's kit and the singer + lead guitarist's position. I had my 24-70mm on so it would have worked. I think. All ready to make my leap on to the stage when a roadie taps me on the shoulder.
The singer was by that time very involved in a song so I wasn't able to point at the\roadie and let him know I was being restrained. I don't blame the roadie, he was doing the right thing....roadies are probably used to rabid fans and over-zealous photographers getting too close to the band. Plus there are leads and plugs everywhere and he might have thought I'd trip on them and unplug stuff.
So a bit disappointed, but overall worth it, I got a few good shots from the night. Here's one from the second band of the night;