BECOMING A CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHER - PART IV - THE COVETED "PHOTO PASS"
Photo of Eli Young Band
Who, What, Where - Tips on Getting your photo pass
Most photographers start out shooting open shows at bars and venues with no camera restrictions. This can make for a great portfolio, and your audience will see photos of bands that would never otherwise be seen, opening you up to a great viewing market. Find a good, up and coming band in your area and follow them religiously. Taking photos of them whenever you can, and doing promotional shots for them if possible. Not only will bar shooting give you outstanding practice using your camera, but will also get you used to the Concert. Bars are usually very dark, very crowded, and getting a good shot can be very difficult. If you can master the technical part of photography in a bar, then you will be that much more ready for larger venues with better lighting. Shooting in bars will also build your confidence and your portfolio when it comes time to get that Photo Pass. If you have the time, follow a band in each genre of music, and reach your wings out to the different types of viewers. Most people don't stray to far from their favorite genre of music, so you must find a way to reach all of them to get the attention you deserve.
If you have gotten this down, then the photo pass will likely fall in your lap. If it hasn't, no worries. Its time for you to go out and look for a photo pass. Emailing, mailing, or hand delivering you portfolio to various venues, bands, magazines, and websites will get people looking. One of the more popular ways is to find the admin office for your local camera hating venues. Walk in, be courteous and professional, and show them your work. Consider doing shows for free to get your foot in the door. Money usually doesn't come up front, you will need to work for it. When you get the photo pass, show up on time, deliver good results, and you will get invited back. This will let you add some references and get some good pictures for your portfolio to take to a real publisher to start selling photos.
Getting published in a magazine or website might take some time, but it is bound to eventually happen with some hard work and lots of shows.
Remember, you are competing with other photographers that are probably better than you and better known by the industry. Be courteous and remember that other photographers are your friends, and usually more than happy to help you get started. Consider making friends at the venues you shoot at, and talking with other photographers after a show. It most cases, they will love to see and hear where your from and if you want to trade contact information with them. If you scratch their back, they will scratch yours. If they don't, no worries, there are some who will. These heavy hitters can pave the way for you and make your journey much more fun and fruitful.
Last but not least, think of a cool way to get your pictures out there to prospective publishers, and do it consistently to get results. Think about getting postcards made, youtube, DVD's, walk into their offices. They get requests from photogs everywhere. Do something different to catch their eye!