In one of our previous articles we discussed about gig photography etiquette in regards to bands understanding the rights of the photographers and more. In this article we would like to turn the lens around (so to speak) and look at gig photographers themselves, from briefly touching upon how to get into gig photography, as well as proper behaviour when shooting a gig, etc.
To start, in order to get a photo pass for a concert you need to be affiliated with a journalistic outlet such a webzine/newspaper etc. Preferably said outlet is covering other bands/artists that are in a similar music genre as the concert you want to take photos of. Also, preferably, if you’re new at this, someone from your publication can help get you the photo pass so you don’t have to send emails to people you’ve never been in contact with before.
A lot of concert photographers use expensive gear but you can do great work with cheaper equipment as long as your camera can tolerate a high ISO number without the photos getting too grainy (Alexändra for example uses only prime lenses when shooting). Typically you are allowed to shoot for the first 3 songs during each band, unless specifically instructed otherwise. When the 3 songs are done all photographers exit the pit in a patient manner. Once you are home, retouching the photos a little bit goes a long way when it comes to giving them a nice polished look! Don’t compare your art to the other photographers in the pit in an effort to either brag or put yourself down. Everyone sees things differently and uses different tools to express themselves artistically.
Let’s get talk a bit more about proper behaviour during a gig: when you are in the pit, it is important to be respectful towards the other photographers and respectful towards the artists performing. It should go without saying that you are not allowed to reach out towards the artist or shout things at them, and realistically if any idea you get seems rude just don’t go through with it! Also, towards other photographers, give them space as much as possible, don’t lift your camera over your head, and most importantly KEEP MOVING in the pit! It may be that you found a spot which you believe is great but standing in the same place throughout all 3 songs means other photographers don’t have a chance to capture things from that angle. Of course, if the photo pit is packed with photographers and you cannot move, this does not apply.
It may sound like this explanation is for dummies but there are seasoned gig photographers who forget the basics so it bears repeating once in a while. Do not use your smart-phone in the photo pit, don’t push, and if there are shorter photographers than you, let them go in front. You have space to be taller, they do not. Be respectful, remember to stay humble and have fun! Let us know in the comments if we have forgotten any important tips!
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