Become a music photographer.
So you want to get started shooting concerts, but don’t know where to start or have the basics of photography. The number one question I am asked by beginner photographers is, “Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into concert photography?” I do. I have lots to help you learn music photography! But what specifically do you want to learn? I have no idea where you’re at with your photography journey.
When you decide you want to learn photography, you decide what genre you want to do. Landscape photography, portrait photography, macro photography, or music photography? What do you know about how a camera works? Do you know what shutter speed is? How much do you know about photo editing?
There are so many questions I go back with. Because I generally do live music photography, most people who approach me want to start taking concert photos but don’t know where to start.
How do you want to learn?
I learnt everything by trawling through endless YouTube videos and spent hundreds of hours in the photo pit. That worked for me, but you might prefer to learn a little differently.
How I got started with music photography
Before I was a concert photographer, I was trying to figure out what kind of photographer I wanted to be. I tried so many different genres of photography until I found out that my strength was as a music photographer. I couldn’t get my foot in the door to shoot bands because I had no credentials. I had no music photography portfolio and I knew no one. I contacted all the bands in my local area that I knew photographers would not be asking to take photos for because they weren’t known bands. I knew that these bands would be the ones that would help me get started and increase my chances of appearing in music magazines (yeah, they existed when I started, like Rolling Stone). Eventually, I met enough people that I started to find more photography jobs roll in.
That’s the abridged version. If you want to learn how I got started with music photography in full, I wrote a somewhat ultimate guide to music photography. I called it something really creative – ‘How To Get Started With Music Photography Guide’.
The music photography guide has over 100 pages of music photography content.
How I started
The photography guide tells you how I got started, in full. It’s my full story of how I went from knowing nothing to shooting for some of the industry’s biggest bands.
How to get photo passes
The guide tells you how to get photo passes and increase the likelihood of getting approved for photo passes you really want.
How to work in the photo pit
Navigating the photo pit can be tricky when it’s small or you haven’t been in many. The guide tells you the best way to navigate the pit without accidentally upsetting another other photographers. Consider it your guide to not breaching photography etiquette!
What photography gear I recommend
The guide tells you a little about where you stand with your work. It’s always best to get an official legal opinion, but I outline my stance on copyright so you can get a better understanding of the common issues around copyright.
Camera gear for concerts is just the start. Learning how to use the gear properly is a whole other thing! The photography guide tells you what settings I commonly start with, and what adjustments I make and when I’m most likely to make them.
Techniques to get dynamic images
Making your work stand out is really important, especially with social media being so image heavy at present. There’s pages in the photography guide that tell you how to make your images pop and set your work apart from the average music photographer’s photos.
Making the most of concert lighting
Whether there is a single static light or dynamic strobes, you need to know how to make the most of your lighting situation, and this guide helps with that.
How to make the most of colours
Editing your concert photos is something that takes practice, but the guide will give you a great head start on making your photos retain and display all the colours they had when you saw it in real life.
Tips for editing concert photos
Get some free Lightroom presets, and learn how to make the most of your photos after you’ve left the photo pit.
Optimum settings for image exports
Did you know your image can look pretty much exactly the same, but only be 7% of the total original size? The photography guide tells you what those settings are for optimised exports.
I tell you the best way to deliver your images to increase the likelihood of them being used more than just once. There’s no point just sitting there on a hard drive.
Publication contacts for photo passes
Last but not least in the music photography guide – contacts! Now that you’ve learnt what I have to offer, it’s time for you to get out there and shoot bands and make a name for yourself as a concert photographer. These contacts aren’t private, but I’ve brought them all together in one place so you can get out shooting sooner than you otherwise would.
Learn music photography with the Filter Photography Podcast
If you haven’t listened to my photography podcast called Filter, it’s your opportunity to ask me questions and have them answered on a future episode. Learn more about the Filter photography podcast.