BECOMING A CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHER - PART I - Etiquette
Etiquette - Professionalism, Respect
Without a doubt, your success as a concert photographer depends on your photos. However, the technical perfection of your photos is meaningless if no one likes you around to discuss opportunities. No one will hire you if you’re a liability for their publication, or if they cant trust you backstage. Being friendly, and keeping it professional will keep the invites coming to shoot more shows. Being professional on a personal level will keep you backstage without complaints, and will get publishers to call you for photos instead of the hundreds of other photographers out there.
Being a trustworthy photographer may seem easy, but there is a few things you must take into consideration when dealing with potential clients. The music industry is full of famous people, and assistants to famous people, who get battered by emails and phone calls from fans and potential vendors of the business. Many times an email or phone call will not get your foot in the door. You are going to need to go one step further to get their attention. However you decide to do this, remember to do it with courtesy, respect, and professionalism. When you go backstage for the first time at a large concert, you will be in the home of musicians on the road. These men and women live on the road, in backstage shower houses, tour buses, and keep late hours. They sleep in the morning, play and party at night, and they work their tails off to give you the opportunity to take some pictures. Be thankful and respectful when you meet them. Fans are in front of the stage and at the nearest McDonald's all the time. When you meet them backstage, you are a client, and a professional photographer there to meet their photography needs. Keep it real, and they will return the favor. After you meet a few of your favorite musicians, the initial awestruck feeling will subside, and you will be able to speak freely about different things with them.
At the venue the majority of people you meet will be venue or tour employees. These people will be the most important part of your day shooting the event. Get to the venue early, and talk to someone who knows the rules and policies of the venue / tour. Make sure you know any time or song limits, staging areas, and your accessibility to the show. Stick to these rules regardless of what other photographers are doing. Chances are, after a few shows at the same venue, your accessibility to everything will grow as people start to recognize you at every show.
Check out this in-depth article concentrating on this topic before you go to your next show. This will help you considerably when shooting concerts.
www.taylormahaffey.com - My Website
twitter.com/bandphotography - Follow me on Twitter
ishootshows.com - Todd Owyoung Concert Photographer
onelouderphoto.com - Chris Owyoung Concert Photographer
www.AshNewell.com - Ash Newell, Personal Band Photographer for Whitesnake, Def Leopard, and others. Ash follows bands on tour.
Zack Walther and the Cronkites at Brewster Street Ice house in Corpus Christi, TX on 08/25/2009