Infos for everyone who wants to know more about music photography… some answers to frequently asked questions
1. Do you live from photography?
No I don’t. I have a job beside my photowork (I am online editor and content manager). I do sell pics but it is not enough to pay my rent, my food and all the other stuff u need to live. Unless you work for the very biggest bands and magazines out there, don’t live with the illusion that you can make a good living out of only music photography.
2. How do you get your photopasses?
Through the mags I write for or from the bands, concert organisators or venues directly.
3. Can we hire you as a tour photographer?
Yes you can, but I need to know in advance to coordinate my holidays
4. Do you do photosessions?
Yes I do, prices will be given on request (depends on what you want to have and how much work it is). Same as for tours, please ask some time in advance or check out my calendar if I’m at some gig near you or maybe on a gig of your band so we can work something out.
5. I want to be a photographer too, how do I get started?
First of all you will have to work for a magazine and it helps if u can write too as most of the mags don’t get many press passes (unless you are so lucky to start with a really big one) so if you write and take pics you will have more chances to get a photopass. Just ask some mags you know if they could need your help and dont expect money for it at the beginning. If u do it, do it for the passion of it first, the rest comes with time.
6. What equipment can you recommend?
I use Canon, so I dunno about how good or bad other brands are. If you dont have so much money, start with the “light” version, there is no need to buy the most expensive equipment if you don’t know how to use it and better save up for good lenses. In any case check the pages of Canon for more infos on cameras and lenses! I can also recommend to buy a light sensitive lens. The 50 mm 1,4 is available for not that much money and is really good for gigs with low lights or where you can’t use flash.
7. Do you have any tips and tricks about how I can get good results?
Live photography is a difficult field of work because there are many factors that come together that you have to take care of. First of all the lights! This is always tricky as lots of venues and bands use lights that might look good but arent really perfect for photos (too dark, too much red, too many back lights and no frontlights, too much smoke, too much strobe light etc.). If you are allowed to use flash you can always experiment with long time exposure and flash effects in that case (tho flash and smoke usually don’t work together). If not, you will have to rework your pics a bit more to get a satisfying result. Always make sure to know your equipment and as soon as you get used to the circumstances of the gig you are shooting, you can start to experiment, get a good angle, try to catch a special pose etc. Just be creative! Nowadays it is so much easier with digital cameras to see the results of your experiments immediatly and if you dont like what you see you can always change the settings to get other results. In any case: dont use the automatic mode of the camera! Try to exercise at home if you arent sure about the settings or go to some small gigs where there arent any restrictions or photopits so you have more time to see what button and what setting does what. And also make sure that your pics are original, are your style not the simple copy of someone elses style. Sure you can get inspired but in the end you want to give your pictures an own feeling and personality!
8. Can I have your pics in high resolution?
Only if u are the band I took pics of and want to buy them for booklets, promos or for private use. Mail me for details.
9. Can I still buy prints?
I am still looking for a good way to sell prints. Maybe I will find a way in the future, I have many ideas but it always depends on the budget of course. But right now I don’t sell prints or high resolution pics to private people.
10. What equipment do you use?
I currently work with this equipment:
- Canon Eos 5D Mark II (since August 09)
- Canon Eos 5D (since july 06)
- Canon EF 24-70 mm 2.8
- Canon EF 50 mm 1,4
- Canon EF 70-200mm 2.8 L IS USM
- Canon EF 100mm 1:2.8 Macro USM
- Canon EF 15mm 1:2,8 Fisheye
- Canon Speedlite 580EX Flashlight
11. We are a band, can you come to our gig and take pics of us?
If its possible I can, check out my calendar in any case and if it works, its up to you to organize a photopass for me and pay my travel expenses if the gig is far away.
12. Photopit etiquette? What is it?
At least where I usually work, there are some unwritten laws of the photopit, that make things easier for all of us, specially when there are many photographers around. Just try to respect people!
If you are in the photopit with a point and shoot camera: STEP BACK! This area is usually reserved for people who work for magazines or the band / promoter and need to get good pictures with their pro cameras. If you are not willed to at least invest a bit in what is passion and work for most of us, just stay behind and don’t hold up your camera in the very front, being in the way. It is simply not fair.
Don’t push… I mean everyone will move in this photopit, there is not one spot reserved for one person during the whole 3 songs you usually stay in the pit and pushing someone is just not polite. Of course it can happen that you incidentally run into another photographer (specially in crowded pits) but we understand, we can’t have our eyes everywhere after all.
When moving around in the photopit, be carefull and don’t constantly run into other’s picture.
Don’t start to headbang! This is a photopit, headbanging and dancing is in the crowd
Be aware of crowdsurfers and always take a look at the security guys. They know what they do and if they push you away it is for your own safety! Don’t argue with them if they want you out earlier than the 3 songs given beforehand, as said, it is for your own security and you don’t want someone to land on your head and camera no?
13. Don’t come begging for passes to me or any other photographers…
We can’t help you! Help yourself, networking is important too and just because another photographer is friends with band xy doesn’t mean he can automatically get you a photopass for the show (tho it can happen of course but don’t rely on it!)
14. Last but not least: COPYCATS
Yes in the last years I have seen more and more people copying each other’s style and as I mentioned before: BE ORIGINAL! It is simply boring to see the same stuff over and over again. I mean yes maybe it is also a bit flattering to see when people copy your style sometimes but then again, personally, it pisses me more off than it flatters me. Be creative, with the ever growing amount of “photographers” only those who will do their own thing will raise awareness.