“How to” Concert Photography.
Hey World! Want to know a secret?
Ever since I started doing concert photography, I have really gained a lot of knowledge in lighting, angles, and finding the moment for your perfect shot. It took me years trying to discover the secret of concert photography. My big question was HOW? I see folks on Instagram, and also during concerts with their media pass, and photo passes being able to go shoot musicians from the photo pit, and I would be so jealous. I thought wow they have the best jobs ever, I thought they worked for record labels, big magazine companies, or big online publications but boy was I wrong! A lot of my friends have been so impressed with my concert photography, that they think I’m actually making money from shooting shows but the truth is I just do it for fun. One day in the far future, it would be nice to turn concert photography into a career but for now just shooting shows, is good enough for me. I’ve gone through the embarrassing parts for you, so you don’t have to. How did I know you needed to be part of a publication to get a photo pass? Well… It’s because I’ve personally been rejected a good 5-6 times, thinking that I could just email the tour manager, or the record label asking for a photo pass for a certain show. I would get a reply with, “what’s your purpose?”, “what publication are you shooting for?”, “we don’t just give photo passes to anyone who aspires to be a concert photographer”,”we only give photo passes to publications”. Yeah Ouch! But hey that’s how I learned! and now I’m sharing it with you guys!
- BUILD A PORTFOLIO
Don’t get intimidated by the word “Portfolio”, I’m writing this because I was quite afraid of the word portfolio. It sounded professional, and serious to me but in reality it’s just a showcase of the best of your work. It doesn’t have to be anything great. Just put what you think is your best work. Believe me. The first few photos in my “portfolio” was a bunch of concert photos I took with a GoPro4 that I had to casual sneak into the venue, and also my IPhone 6. Sounds crazy right.
|Two Door Cinema Club taken with a GoPro4 Silver|
2. FIND A PUBLICATION
Once again, this sounds a bit overwhelming right? When I think of publication I think of magazines on the magazine stand type of publication. I was thinking inside the box when I heard publication but again in reality a publication can be anything from a local magazine, school news paper, online zines, online magazines, it can be anything that publishes music, and anything. I was lucky enough to have found a small magazine publication on Instagram who’s just starting up but the team is so dedicated to music that it has grown over the years. All you have to do is ask, I stumbled upon their Instagram and decided to give them a DM if they were in need of photographers, and that was the start of how I started to start concert photography. Btw, think small! Don’t overwhelm yourself. When I started out with Heart Eyes Magazine, their Instagram following was only about 500, and they were still in issue #2, and now they’ve got thirteen.
3. ASK THE TEAM
I’m writing based on my experiences, when I come around a show that I’d like to request a photo pass for, I would email the team and they would send a request as the publication to the musicians manager, or whoever it may be. Depends on how that certain publications work, but usually it’s the same gist. You email them or do a submission and they’ll do the talking and negotiating for you.
4. LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE, ENJOY, AND SHOOT THE SHOW.
Now! You’ve got yourself a photo pass, or a media pass! Congrats! I personally love to save my photo pass stickers, it’s like my new concert ticket. What can you expect at a show? You come in, show your ID at the desk and normally they’ll have your name on the list as media and they issue you a photo pass. Get familiar with the venue so you know where your an run to, to get the best shot. Normally, you’ll be allowed to shoot the main band/musician, plus their opening act. You will have pit access for the first three songs of every performer and ONLY THE FIRST THREE (again writing from my personal experiences), and once the third song finishes then you’re out of the photo pit. It doesn’t mean you can’t take anymore photos, so this part is where you can get creative but if you feel like you’ve got your shots, then you can just stay back and enjoy the show.
I even made it into their online magazine! I did a portrait shoot + concert shoot for Gabrielle Aplin at The Bowery Ballroom! Check it out below!
Also some of my photos from a previous The Killers show!
Until Next Time,