Episode 5 tells you what is involved in concert photography. Is it as fun as it looks? Is it something that suits your lifestyle? This episode answers that very question and asks the question – is music photography for me?
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Episode 5 is here! I had a few people ask me if they can ask questions about filming. I’ve done a bit of filming but it isn’t my bread and butter. So what I’ll do is ask a friend of mine to do a guest spot to answer the questions with me. That way you’ll get solid advice.
This Saturday night, one of my best mates, Luke Henery, has a photo gallery opening at Crowbar’s Church space. Same space as I had my photo exhibition, No Pits Just Pits. Henery’s gallery is called Everybody Deserves A Home. There’s two things that makes this gallery so amazing. Firstly, Henery loves film, so he’s used stereoscopy. If you dont know what stereoscopy is, its a technique that increases the illusion of depth. Which is perfect for the theme, because the exhibition is about Queensland’s rooftops and how lucky many Australians are to have a safe place to rest their heads. Micah Projects is a local homeless charity that helps those that aren’t so lucky. The second part that makes this exhibition so special, is that Henery has partnered with Micah Projects and pledged all proceeds from print sales to Micah Projects. That means you’re not only doing something good for yourself by buying a print. you’re helping out Micah Projects, a great charity Henery has chosen to help out. What a legend. From 6pm this Saturday at Church Brisbane which is in Crowbar, and its free. That’s the 17th for those unsure of where they are in the week. You gotta be 18. So I’ll see you there!
This week I was going to answer the normal three questions. but this question has a lot to go through. so I want to give it the time it needs to be helpful.
I’m weighing up whether I want to start gig photographing and I have no idea where to start or what to think ?
Sent in by Caleb Pattinson
Good question and something to give consideration if you do choose to do it, its a hell of a commitment, but here are a few things to consider.
Do it for the right reasons
first, if you’re doing it to meet or be close to musicians you admire or to party heaps, you’re gonna have a bad time. You have to be doing it because you love music and you love photography just as much. Photographers are often seen by other people in the crew as a risk because some of them sweat the band or get in the way of everything
slowing everything down. when timeframes are pretty tight, even though you’re probably allowed to be there, if the crew have had a bad experience before and their job has been made harder because of it, you’re going to want to leave the smallest footprint possible.
So if you’re getting into music photography to hang with bands and look cool, your opportunities are going to dry up pretty quickly. its a small industry and word travels quickly. on the other hand, be professional, work hard and know when your time is to take photos, and you’ll become the guy no one has to worry about.
You’ll need to expect to work really hard and burn the candle at both ends. Once the band finishes, you’re finished taking photos. but you have to edit them! committed music photographer will have the photos ready for when the band wakes up so they can promote the previous night’s show. for example, here’s how a common routine goes for me
I wake up and work a day job. then I get to the venue in the early afternoon to shoot soundcheck. After soundcheck, I give my gear a really thorough clean. then I pull my laptop out and usually catch up on day job work that I missed by leaving work early to go to soundcheck
Once I’ve finished that, I shoot the band’s set, then pack up and chat to people until around 1am.
Then I go to the hotel if its a tour, and export the photos from the memory card and take a shower. then select five photos I want to give the band by the time they wake up and edit those. Then I go to sleep around 2:30am and wake up for lobby call between 5am and 7am depending on the flight. I’ll edit more photos on the flight or in the van, and when I land I do more day job work before soundcheck
and repeat. So if that pace is ok with that, then you’ll do well because it just isn’t for some people. i like that kind of routine even though it makes me really tired. by the end of the tour when you’ve slept two to four hours each night, you’ll become pretty frayed so you need to be pretty level headed because a lot of things won’t go your way and you’ll need to stay cool about it all just like everyone else in the crew is doing
everyone has challenges and everyone is low on sleep, and you have to fall in with that understanding.
Shoot the small bands too
You’ll need to expect and be prepared to shoot smaller bands
I still shoot smaller bands. If you’re not doing it because you simply love music and photography. You’ll run out of patience. I’ve seen many photographers lose patience with it. Theres only two or three I can think of that are still doing music photography from the time I started doing it. And they aren’t doing it for whatever reason, but its their choice. So if you have a heap of patience, then you’ll do well, because it takes time and doing things that might not be your first preference. i’ve met some great people shooting things I probably wouldn’t have volunteered to photograph. and i’ve had some great times! Some of those bands became big, and some haven’t yet, but all are legends, and i wouldn’t take back any time spent because they all gave me a chance to create some content. so you should also expect to meet some of the best, most dedicated people you could possibly meet.
How to start
So if the above all sounds fine and something you’re prepared to do then I recommend you contact some small bands that could benefit from photos to promote themselves. there are heaps of bands out there that would love that. if you want to know where i went from there, i have a 100 page guide I wrote that you can get at learn.mattwalterphoto.com
That’s it for this week. Don’t forget that Henery’s exhibition is this Saturday from 6pm at Crowbar’s Church in Brisbane. Apologies to those who I planned to answer this week. But there’s always next week!
In the meantime, have a good week, keep working hard and sending you all lots of positive vibes.
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