Are you looking to get into concert photography, but you have no idea where to begin? One of our youngest contributors Tatiana has put together some useful tips and tricks for getting into gig photography and what she has learnt so far.
- Don’t expect to instantly get passes. You need to start small – local venues, or events you can take your camera to are ideal. If these events allow DSLRs without press passes, you can take as many photos as you want, and build up your knowledge on the best lenses and settings to use on your cameras for future, bigger concerts. This is also a great time to begin learning how to edit (if you don’t already know how!) I personally find Lightroom the easiest and best photo editing software, but many people prefer Photoshop – it’s subjective, learn to use whichever works best for you.
- You’ve taken your first gig photos, now what? First off, you should be thinking of making a Dropbox folder to email over the edited images so that the band can consider posting them on social media, which would hopefully promote your work to a larger audience. Having social media is vital when it comes to photography – for the most part, Instagram and Twitter. But you will also want to consider making a website for your photos as you begin to build up a portfolio in gig photos. Many websites offer free layouts with their logo, but if you can afford to pay a little a month you can invest in better designs with a custom domain and email. I personally use Wix (https://tatianawphotos.wixsite.com/portfolio), as it has the best free layout, but Sqaurespace is incredibly popular among photographers who can afford to pay.
- The more bands you photograph locally, the more you should begin to get comfortable in that environment. If you have the chance to chat with bands after their shows, do it. Making contacts is great, and if they like your work they’ll be more likely to remember you for events in the future.
- Getting started with passes. The best place to begin with passes is searching the band’s contact details online, and more often than not there will be a Press contact on their Facebook page – if not, emailing the manager may lead to a redirection to the right email address. All you really need to include in your email is your name, the date of the concert you’d like a pass (and possibly a ticket) for, and your portfolio (whether that be a website link, or an Instagram account link). These emails should be sent around a month or sooner to the concert you’d like to cover, and if you don’t receive a response that early, you may want to send a second email closer to the gig. Not everyone is going to reply, so if you don’t receive anything it usually means they aren’t interested.
- Think about working with a magazine to improve your chance of getting passes. Finding a small magazine can be tricky when you’re first starting out, but if you follow a lot of smaller concert photographers you’ll usually be able to find out who they’ve worked with and see about emailing them to join their team. You won’t always receive replies from magazines or blogs, and sometimes they only want photographers to shoot one off gigs, so it’s best to email around a lot and see what people are offering. Some people prefer to work with a few magazines, others stick to one, and a lot of people work freelance occasionally shooting gigs for magazines. This is rarely paid but it can do wonders for building your skills and getting your name out there. If you start out shooting for a magazine and feel that later down the line you’d like to do it freelance, don’t be afraid to give it a go but be respectful to the people you’ve been shooting for. At the end of the day they have done a lot of work to get you into those gigs and respect goes a very long way.