I get a lot of requests to talk about concert photography so I decided to find some existing video that has already been created on the subject.
Anthony Morganti has made a three-part miniseries on concert photography.
In the first part he talks about why you might want to become a concert photographer and what you could expect to gain from it and how you would go about doing it. In part two he talks about equipment and the settings for the equipment and in part three you are going to actually process a few images and find out why would you want to become a concert photographer. Here is a transcript of what Anthony has to say:
This is probably very personal and it’s different for just about everyone, I only could speak from my own perspective I’ve always been a lover of music and years ago when I was really starting out as a professional photographer I decided I wanted to be a concert photographer.
I looked into all different ways to getting access to venues, when I figured out how it’s done and I actually got in, I was able to take pictures of a performer or a band and now I had these images what do you do with them?
Well what’s the part what can you expect to gain from it? I’ll tell you right off the bat you’re probably not going to make a living at it, it’s not the type of photography usually that a photographer could make a living, yet there’s a few that do it. I mean it is possible but it’s very difficult and I would say don’t expect to make a lot of money from it, what you’ll find is that it might not even be worth the actual time that you spend doing it, you could make money doing other things in photography so to be a concert photographer it’s really about the love of the art the love of doing it you love the music you love taking the pictures and you love that type of photography.
If that is you then you should be a concert photographer and try it out. How do you gain access to the venue’s?
Well there’s three different ways to actually do it and this first way is fading out a little bit, meaning in the past I could contact a venue itself and I could say, you know that you have YouTube playing on this night I’d like a Press Pass to take pictures of the band, they could give you a press pass and they might ask you who you’re working for. That pass may give access to take pictures of the band usually for the first three songs. That way is drying up that’s because many bands now are very protective of their brand they brand their image and they don’t want somebody else giving a photographer access to take their pictures. They want to grant the permission, they don’t want the venue to do it so most national acts particularly world acts you’re not going to be able to do it that way.
You might be able to do it for local bands in local venues, you may know a band coming through that’s not really a national band they just have maybe a local CD or EP out. You probably will be able to get in to take their picture and to tell you the truth most of those bands would be flattered that they have a photographer there to take their picture.
So that is probably the only way you’d be able to do it with these smaller local bands. The second way is you could actually embed yourself with the band meaning you befriend a band and you become their photographer and they’re going out on tour and you’re going to take pictures of them when they’re eating dinner when they’re traveling on their tour bus or their tour van you’re going to take pictures of them when they’re just hanging out playing playing, you’re going to take pictures of them when they’re performing.
You’re probably not going to be able to call up Bruce Springsteen and say; “I want to be a tour photographer for you” and he’s going to say “sure come on in”.
No you’re going to have to start out small, you’re gonna have to start out with that local band. The ones who might have a local gig or they’re going on in this mini tour where they’re doing a few cities in their state or area, they’re going to be traveling in a van and you’re going to get to tag along with them and do these images you’re probably not going to get paid for.
It’s a matter of fact you’re probably going to have to foot your own bill pay for your own meals and things like that, but the hope is that this band makes it big, you’re their buddy and you keep going on and you hopefully get employed by them eventually to become their official photographer.
The third way is probably the most popular way, you contact a band that is going to be coming into your city to play a show, you usually would go through the website and you’d look for either the band management or their publicist and you would fire off an email to them.
You would say that you’re requesting a press pass. Now the way to do it is you want to make the email short as possible because these people are busy. To tell you the truth you’re a necessary evil they don’t really don’t want to be bothered with, so try to be as professional, short and to the point in the email as possible, in the subject line put a press pass request, add the city so let’s say it’s Buffalo press pass request Buffalo New York and put the date of the show August 14 2016 that way the person that is reading it knows that you need a press pass and you might need it in two weeks or you might need it in three months. They know how urgent the email might be after that in the body of the email if you know the person’s name definitely use their name.
As found on Youtube