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Thread started 03 Mar 2011 (Thursday) 23:00
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How do I get "Credentials" to take photos at a music festival?

 
tjbrock42
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Mar 03, 2011 23:00 |  #1

Okay, take it easy on me guys. I have done a couple of searches and each discussion seems to go the same direction. So, I apologize in advance to the pros for asking how to get access to an event as an amateur.

Basically, I am going to a Music festival and want to take pictures while I am there. The website says this regarding photographers:

I'M A PHOTOGRAPHER. WHO DO I ARRANGE A PHOTO PASS THROUGH?

All photo and press credentials will be issued by Madison House Publicity. If you are a member of the press on assignment and are looking to request a photo pass, please fill out the application...


I understand that you typically need to be affiliated with a newspaper, magazine, website, or some other major publication, or you need to have connections with event organiizers. Unfortunately, I don't. I just want to enjoy two of my biggest passions in life (music and photography) during the only vacation I will be going on this year (and maybe the next couple of years). I am not looking to sell pictures or get in the way of the pros. I would truly try to put in the work necessary to get whoever provided me with the pass the results they gave me the pass for.

So what is the best way to become affiliated with one of these places or to become "on assignment"? Should I look for some obscure website and see if they will give me some kind of recommendation? Maybe a local newspaper (in a different state than the music festival)? Somewhere else? Or, just try to sneak my gear in?

I feel like I am applying for my first job out of college and everyone says you have to have experience. Should I expect to submit sample photos of my work (kind of like a resume/portfolio) because of this?

Please feel free to tell me if I am I just wasting my time and have no chance to obtain the necessary credentials that Madison House Publicity is likely looking for.

Any and all help, would be appreciated. The festival is the electric forest festival and it is June 30-July 3.

Thanks and sorry for the long post.


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philwillmedia
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Mar 03, 2011 23:32 |  #2

OK, I shoot mainly sport and see this asked more often than you would believe.
The same basic principals would apply in this case.

tjbrock42 wrote in post #11952549 (external link)
Basically, I am going to a Music festival and want to take pictures while I am there...

Just like most people who will be there

tjbrock42 wrote in post #11952549 (external link)
The website says this regarding photographers:

I'M A PHOTOGRAPHER. WHO DO I ARRANGE A PHOTO PASS THROUGH?

All photo and press credentials will be issued by Madison House Publicity. If you are a member of the press on assignment and are looking to request a photo pass, please fill out the application...

I think this answers your question of "How do I get "Credentials" to take photos at a music festival?"

Answer these yourself...
How do you fit the criteria?
Are you a working member of the media?
Are you on assignment?

If you can't answer that first question and the answer to the second and third ones are "No", then you probably don't need a Media/Photographers pass.

tjbrock42 wrote in post #11952549 (external link)
I just want to enjoy two of my biggest passions in life (music and photography)...

In other words, you basically just want a pass so you don't have to pay to get in and not have to put up with the rest of the masses who might get in the way of your pics.

tjbrock42 wrote in post #11952549 (external link)
Should I expect to submit sample photos of my work (kind of like a resume/portfolio) because of this?

Why shouldn't you have to justify your "need" for credentials?

tjbrock42 wrote in post #11952549 (external link)
Please feel free to tell me if I am I just wasting my time and have no chance to obtain the necessary credentials that Madison House Publicity is likely looking for.

Unless you are a working member of the media and meet the criteria above, I'd take a wild guess and say you are wasting your time - and that of the organisers.

Essentially, if you need to ask any of the questions in your post, you probably don't need credentials.
I'd suggest going back and revisiting the searches you've already done and digesting what was in them.


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tjbrock42
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Mar 04, 2011 00:18 |  #3

I was afraid this is the kind of response I would get.

I think you misunderstood me a little, Phil. I plan on paying for my ticket and have no problem dealing with the masses. I'm not looking for free tickets or any kind of special access, just the right to bring my gear through the gates.

As far as your three question test, doesn't everyone starting out have to ask this question at some point in time? Also, Your questions 2 & 3 are what am I getting at. My answer is "no", but how do I make it "yes"?

No problem justifying my "need" for credentials either, just curious if I should expect to do this.

Basically what started all of this is when I met a "pro" photographer at a music festival two years ago and he told me it was easy to get this kind of pass. He said just find some website that is willing to let you shoot for them.

I was just curious if anyone had any insight or experience that might help me accomplish what I am trying to do.

Also, please refrain from rude comments as I am not interested in those. It does little for me or anyone else who might be interested in finding the answers to similar questions.


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Jigglypuff
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Mar 04, 2011 01:01 |  #4

Depending on how anal the publicity company is, If you're not with any media outlet then you're probably not going to get credentials.

If you're only looking to bring your camera and not get onstage/backstage access, then you should be able to bring/sneak your gear in. Just shoot them an email asking for clarification, as the FAQ refers primarily to media photographers, not hobbyists/enthusiasts/​whatever.

Also, the music stuff I've been to usually limit non-credentialed individuals to cameras without detachable lenses, but again that'll depend on the publicity folks' policy.




  
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tjbrock42
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Mar 04, 2011 11:30 |  #5

Thanks for the info Jiggly. This is kind of what I was thinking. I will probably just end up trying different security gates until I get through. I wrote the "press" organizers at the festival an email and I'm waiting to her back from them.

Thanks again.


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canonnoob
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Mar 04, 2011 11:37 |  #6

I dont think this is really a credential issue, but more of a "can I bring my camera in and take pictures issue"

What does the website say about photo gear? Instead of asking about a credential (media pass), why not look into the policy of the organizer on photo gear. What do they allow, etc.?

On the idea of the credential, those are for media personnel. You dont belong there if you do not fit the criteria.


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ssim
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Mar 04, 2011 12:21 |  #7

canonnoob wrote in post #11955198 (external link)
I dont think this is really a credential issue, but more of a "can I bring my camera in and take pictures issue"

What does the website say about photo gear? Instead of asking about a credential (media pass), why not look into the policy of the organizer on photo gear. What do they allow, etc.?

On the idea of the credential, those are for media personnel. You dont belong there if you do not fit the criteria.

This is a good answer and probably your best way of looking at this.

I'm not sure how big of an event this is but normally at multi-day events that I have worked there is stringent media requirements. The event organizers provide facilities for those working photographers to process and email to their press partners. They provide meal services and a spot for us to rest between events. Is this what you are after, I think not but if you are granted one of these so called "media passes" then you would have access to this sort of thing and certainly don't deserve it unless you are affiliated. You also enjoy preferential access to the stage area so that you are not shooting over peoples heads except for other photographers in that area.

I don't suggest that people try to sneak in their gear. What do you do if you have paid your entrance fee, manage to get past one of the security gates and then get busted inside. I've seen people turfed from an event for this very reason.

Is it not enough to enjoy one of your passions at a time and go and take in the music.


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Fernando
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Mar 04, 2011 14:11 |  #8

ssim wrote in post #11955436 (external link)
I don't suggest that people try to sneak in their gear. What do you do if you have paid your entrance fee, manage to get past one of the security gates and then get busted inside. I've seen people turfed from an event for this very reason.

Is it not enough to enjoy one of your passions at a time and go and take in the music.

As "The Guy" running the gates at several major music festivals across the country (acl, bonnaroo, lollapalooza) in my past life I have a little insight.

Trying to get over on the gate security can ruin your day. Yes, you might get through with your gear and that might be cool. But get caught once and they'll be on the lookout. Get caught again and get your wristband yanked. THAT will suck and the promoter won't care.

Try to get in legitimately by contacting local papers. One good option is if you have one of those "local rags". They often gave the pull to get credentials but not the budget to send one of their photographers.

Failing that I have to agree with some others. You're not a pro, you're there for your benefit and leave the "pro gear" at home.


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Channel ­ One
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Mar 05, 2011 07:42 |  #9

tjbrock42 wrote in post #11952549 (external link)
So what is the best way to become affiliated with one of these places or to become "on assignment"? Should I look for some obscure website and see if they will give me some kind of recommendation? Maybe a local newspaper (in a different state than the music festival)? Somewhere else?



I would recommend you offer your services to cover the event to a local paper, radio station or similar publication as a “straight up” barter for access, they in turn will provide you with a letter from the stations management or the papers editor to bolster your application for access. Do keep in mind though you will be relinquishing your Copyright to your sponsor if you do such a deal and also keep in mind Madison House will not allow you into the press area if you are not equipped with a DSLR, security will not allow P&S’s to be brought into in the media area.

Or, just try to sneak my gear in?



Never a good idea.

I feel like I am applying for my first job out of college and everyone says you have to have experience.



You are…

Should I expect to submit sample photos of my work (kind of like a resume/portfolio) because of this?



Play it by ear and be prepared to provide samples of your work if requested.

Please feel free to tell me if I am I just wasting my time and have no chance to obtain the necessary credentials that Madison House Publicity is likely looking for.



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cptrios
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Mar 05, 2011 08:36 |  #10

Channel One wrote in post #11960111 (external link)
I would recommend you offer your services to cover the event to a local paper, radio station or similar publication as a “straight up” barter for access, they in turn will provide you with a letter from the stations management or the papers editor to bolster your application for access. Do keep in mind though you will be relinquishing your Copyright to your sponsor if you do such a deal and also keep in mind Madison House will not allow you into the press area if you are not equipped with a DSLR, security will not allow P&S’s to be brought into in the media area.

This is the best positive advice that you can get for a situation like this. Sadly, a lot of the negativity above is spot-on...but that doesn't mean that you can't pull it off if you have the talent and the drive to do it.

• Are you a decent music photographer? Have you ever actually shot a concert before? You should be armed with samples no matter what avenue you end up taking. If this kind of thing is something you want to do in the future, you should be seeking out local venues now that will let you bring in a dSLR and therefore practice your craft. Do this even if you hate the bad that's playing! You never know what kind of connections you might accidentally make.

•If you do have some samples to show, do what Channel One said and look around for publications (newspapers, websites) that are established enough to be able to get you a press pass (you'd be surprised at how small a publication can be and still do this...hell, I once got a press pass to a convention because my mother's completely non-press workplace had a representative attending). Ask them if they've got anyone shooting the event, and if no, tell them you'll take pictures in exchange for press passes. And yes, keep in mind that this means giving up the rights to said pictures. If I were you, I'd seriously ask every local newspaper in the state AND every music-related website you can find. It can't hurt!

One of my friends, who by the way owns nothing but a 50D and a 28-135 IS, took photos at a few concerts where DSLRs were allowed. A local New York music website saw them on Flickr and asked him to shoot a show for them because they didn't have any photographers available. They liked the results, and now he shoots a concert for them about once a week. He doesn't get paid, but he gets free passes to the shows and pit (and sometimes backstage) access, which is good enough for him.

But like I said, you can't expect to just walk into this with NO experience whatsoever. So go out and get some experience! Hell, it's Saturday...there's probably a show somewhere near you that you can shoot this very evening. Do it!

By the way, there's also a chance that this festival will let you bring in your DSLR anyway (possibly with lens restrictions. In that case, you don't have to worry about any of this...so I'd shoot them an email.


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MJPhotos24
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Mar 05, 2011 09:05 |  #11

Crazy idea - if you're not media, you're just a fan, then follow the photo rules they apply after you buy a ticket. The site clearly states you can bring in a camera as long as it's a small hand held and no additional lenses. So do that, bring in a small camera and be just like the rest of the fans who are there to enjoy the show - isn't that the purpose?

Giving images away/trading copyright for access is some of the worst advice to give, or follow. I know there's a lot on here who have no intention of working as a photographer, but do you hate the profession that much you want to help destroy it? Are you that selfish that you put yourself over caring about the effect it has on others?

Sorry, but I just don't understand why every Joe Schmoe thinks they should get a credential when they are not media, so that of course makes them think they'll do anything to get one including hurting the industry and undercutting actual working professionals. Those credentials are for people working, trying to put food on the table, trying to pay bills, trying to do their JOB - not a awe struck fan wanting to be selfish and not caring one bit about how they get in, who they undercut, or who they get in the way of.

It's selfish to me...extremely selfish.

Now, if you want to actually work for an outlet then go for it. But shooting one event a year isn't going to happen, they usually want someone they can count on time and time again if they're going to pay you. You have to earn that, work for it, be a professional and act like it. Media is doing their job, if you're not in the media then stick to the stands.


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Mar 05, 2011 09:13 |  #12

MJPhotos24 wrote in post #11960390 (external link)
Crazy idea - if you're not media, you're just a fan, then follow the photo rules they apply after you buy a ticket. The site clearly states you can bring in a camera as long as it's a small hand held and no additional lenses. So do that, bring in a small camera and be just like the rest of the fans who are there to enjoy the show - isn't that the purpose?

Giving images away/trading copyright for access is some of the worst advice to give, or follow. I know there's a lot on here who have no intention of working as a photographer, but do you hate the profession that much you want to help destroy it? Are you that selfish that you put yourself over caring about the effect it has on others?

Sorry, but I just don't understand why every Joe Schmoe thinks they should get a credential when they are not media, so that of course makes them think they'll do anything to get one including hurting the industry and undercutting actual working professionals. Those credentials are for people working, trying to put food on the table, trying to pay bills, trying to do their JOB - not a awe struck fan wanting to be selfish and not caring one bit about how they get in, who they undercut, or who they get in the way of.

It's selfish to me...extremely selfish.

Now, if you want to actually work for an outlet then go for it. But shooting one event a year isn't going to happen, they usually want someone they can count on time and time again if they're going to pay you. You have to earn that, work for it, be a professional and act like it. Media is doing their job, if you're not in the media then stick to the stands.


Mike, well said.

I work for a music magazine, and if you're not shooting for a publication, 99% chance you're going to get denied a pass. Sooooo many people get passes to festivals/shows who should not have gotten them in the first place. Many people make up their own little blog and fool the publicists sometimes. Now It may seem selfish for me to say this, but it's nice to only have the people who belong in the photo-pit so that we can get our jobs done easier and better.

Don't give away your work for free ever. It undermines the entire professional community. I have had clients ask me "well how come x will charge 50 dollars and give away the full res files, and you want to charge 100hr + x amount for image usage"... it's because people give away their work for next to nothing.


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Mar 05, 2011 09:39 |  #13

Depending on the "level" of the bands involved, you may have an easier time getting in as being a photographer for the band, than the media. You'll get the same access, and usually you just need the band's manager to contact the promoters / venue. A smaller band who might be making their first big appearance is going to want photos of it, and with all the planning that comes with making a show like this, their manager / promoter / etc may have overlooked the photographer angle.

That being said, if you are not of the experience and skill that would be able to provide a band like that with usable work, then it wouldn't be fair to all involved for you to try and do so. If you're confident you can provide a band with quality work, then go for it.


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cptrios
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Mar 05, 2011 10:43 |  #14

You know, out of all of the types of photographers whose careers have been hit by the digital era, I think that I feel the worst for the concert/public event guys. Those are the situations that are most susceptible to "GWC" invasion, and the quality of concert photography is suffering for it. Frankly I'm surprised that anyone at all is making money in it anymore, and I would wager that ten years from now, only the very most talented concert photographers are going to be able to make a living at it. In a couple of ways that's a good thing...and in many it's not. But that's progress for you. For me the obvious route for any good concert photogs out there whose wallets are shrinking because of guys like the OP is to take the good old fashioned "milk guys like the OP for some money by teaching a class" route.

However, you'll hopefully notice that in my post, I decided to approach the OP as though he was serious about getting into concert photography, and NOT as though he just wanted to get up close to his favorite bands. I never suggested that he go around trying to undercut paid photographers by offering free services - I meant more that he should find publications who'd have never had a photographer at the event anyway and say "hey, this'll be no skin off your back." Notice as well that I was very clear that he'd have to show some kind of serious talent in order to get anywhere. Like my friend, who takes some very good pictures (for a magazine that'd never pay a photographer anyway) regardless of his budget equipment. If the OP is indeed just trying to take some pictures of his favorite bands...then you're right, ethically he shouldn't be doing it. But how many people have ever gotten rich by being ethical? And if he IS trying to get his foot in the door...how else is he going to do it?

I'll say as well that all of this damage to the concert photography industry is just as much if not more the fault of the publications themselves. Take my regional paper here in France, for instance. For all but the biggest concerts/events, they simply send their reporters out with a G-series-level P&S rather than pay a photographer as well. The few people who still read newspapers (which I believe is a higher percentage her than back in the States) don't even come close to noticing the difference.


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ssim
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Mar 05, 2011 11:21 |  #15

MJPhotos24 wrote in post #11960390 (external link)
Crazy idea - if you're not media, you're just a fan, then follow the photo rules they apply after you buy a ticket. The site clearly states you can bring in a camera as long as it's a small hand held and no additional lenses. So do that, bring in a small camera and be just like the rest of the fans who are there to enjoy the show - isn't that the purpose?

++1


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