YO!  This post is for ALL the music photographers working their asses off shooting concerts!  I have met so many young photographers who love shooting concerts these days.  It’s become a very BIG thing and a small business for some.  I loved shooting concerts!  My first concert I shot was Stanley Clarke 1976 and the last one I shot was Rob Thomas at the Greek Theatre in 2016.  I wanted to give some simple tips to ALL of you concert photographers today.  Here’s 10 tips that might help…

  1. Be nice always! – This means be nice to local crew, band crew, security, band, managers, publicist and everyone you meet.  Especially security cuz they the ones that will help you if something bad goes down.  Manners cost nothing and go a long way.  Trust me you will see these people again and again.  You want them to know you as the nice photographer, not the annoying photographer!
  2. Wear earplugs! – I never did and I regret it to this day.  I have serious tinnitus and it’s SO not fun.  It started 10+ years ago and it sucks.  Protect your ears and hearing!!!  Start NOW!
  3. Bring business cards – Seriously, if you don’t have some, make some.  Always have biz cards with you.  If you meet someone, it’s nice to leave them you card so they can contact you easily.  Don’t think they gonna search for you socials!  They do NOT have the time.  Make it easy.
  4. If you only get 3 songs – Back in my day I usually got to shoot whole shows and that made my life easy.  These days you get 3 songs and kicked out.  If this is the case… Don’t sit in the crowd with the 20 other photographers getting the same shot.  Move your ass, get creative and push yourself to get a fresh angle, shot and moment.
  5. Try different lenses – When I shot shows I loved wide lenses.  NOT a fan of telephotos.  Experiment with different lenses at each show.  Try something new once in a while.  Get out of your comfort zone!  You never know what you will see or get.
  6. Organize your files – This is very important.  Please keep your shoots/shows organized on your hard drives.  Back up the back up.  Make sure you have ALL info for each show.  Who, where and when.  This info will help you many years from now!  Trust me it helped me and still does.
  7. It’s not what you shoot, it’s who you shoot – Know your music!  Make sure you shoot the best that you can get.  Shooting a bunch of nobodies is great for practice, but getting the known artists helps more.  People look at who you shot more than what you shot.  Go BIG or stay home.
  8. Be helpful, but know your worth – Make sure you help the artist/band and their people, but don’t forget they get paid to.  You should also get paid.  Even if yer only there for the 3 songs, get paid.  BUT if the opportunity is great and doesn’t pay… I would do it.  Sometimes money is NOT the way we get paid.  Sometimes we do it for the fun and experience!
  9. Ask for more! – Always ask questions.  Ask for more access!  Ask for help!  Ask for more shoots.  Ask for more money!  Ask for credit.  It never hurts to ask!!!  What’s the worst thing you can hear… NO!  Rejection is a big part of the game!  Get used to it.
  10. Have fucking fun! – No matter what you do ALWAYS have fucking fun.  No matter what yer doing or doing it for.  Even if yer not getting paid, have fun.  Even if it’s a small show, short set, shitty venue and lame artist… HAVE FUCKING FUN!