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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Performing Arts Talk 
Thread started 05 Jul 2017 (Wednesday) 15:45
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Concert Photography Help

96 posts
Likes: 47
Joined Mar 2017
Location: Owensboro Ky
Jul 05, 2017 15:45 |  #1

I am starting to expand my photography by photographing concerts/live shows. I'm finding it very difficult landing medium to large venues. Where I live, I do not have access to large venues and I have to travel (which is not a problem). What I am finding out is that I have to apply for media passes with a publication.. is there some way that I can navigate around that by starting my own photo blog?

I'm new to concert photography and I'm looking for help getting my foot in the door to medium to large venues.

Any help would be appreciated.

PS. I have photographed several local bands to help build my portfolio. I'm to the point where there aren't a whole lot of local bands left to shoot.

1,747 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 466
Joined Dec 2011
Location: Lake Tahoe, USA
Jul 21, 2017 02:05 |  #2

Larger venues want credibility for their media passes. They don't want every internet blogger getting free tickets just to see the shows and are leery of online only companies mostly out of old habits. If you can document your online efforts have a traffic following of a million views or more annually they will listen more but sometimes they only allow the large print media in and ban everyone else. Many times it's more the band management that sets the very restrictive rules. Examples; Elton John 2nd song only. Beyonce 45 seconds before the music starts! Ready, pose, ok shoot, you're done.

"When I shoot something I use a Canon!"
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Road ­ Dog
Senior Member
999 posts
Gallery: 46 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 285
Joined Jul 2014
Location: St. Augustine, Florida
Jul 21, 2017 11:40 |  #3

Well, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

I landed a gig as the house photographer for two local venues (run by the same entity). I had a leg up, though, because I had unfettered access to three national touring acts simply because I'm friends with them. I was able to shoot one of those bands in the venue I now shoot for. When the powers-that-be saw the images I had taken in their venue, they were impressed and signed me on.

I also write and shoot for a small regional magazine. Lately it's become more and more apparent to me that more and more acts don't really care about the size of the publication. I write a music column that, bi-monthly, is about 475 words. Each column will have one posed portrait. If a show isn't at one of the venues I shoot for, I contact bands/publicists/manag​ement and simply write "I'm a music columnist for a (local to the venue) magazine and would like to inquire about obtaining a photo credential for the (date) show for (artist name) at (venue name)."

This has worked every single time I've used it save for one instance. Oddly, that one instance was the Charlie Daniels Band. They didn't say "no", they just never responded.

A buddy of mine has an online music magazine and I've shot for him, too. Nowadays he gets credentialed for just about everything he requests; Metallica was his last shoot. He's had that online magazine for a really long time, though. It took him a while to build up content to the point where someone would take notice of it.

So, yeah, there's no "workaround", really. You just gotta' put in the work to the point where the work you put in gets you the work you want to put in...

Just shut up and smile...
My Current Line-Up

Scott ­ Spellman
203 posts
Gallery: 2 photos
Likes: 122
Joined Oct 2015
Location: Royal Oak MI
Jul 21, 2017 18:42 |  #4

The band have full control over the media that gets credentials for a show at major concert venues. The band trades media access for publicity in a magazine, newspaper, or website seen by many thousands of people to sell more tickets/albums/merch at future shows. The venue marketing staff provides a list to the PR agent of the artist of all who apply for media passes and the band approves the ones they want. So, if you can't provide real exposure to thousands of people with your photos, there is no reason for the band to provide you free access. There are just as many concert photographers now as there are bands, and very few media outlets that can provide media exposure of any real value.

Your best bet is to try to try to get hired by the biggest magazines/newspapers/b​logs in your area that cover music since this might appeal to a well known band. Working with bands who get bigger and play bigger venues is another avenue to shooting bigger concerts. Until your photo blog can show 1000s of views and engagements, you will probably not get approved.

96 posts
Likes: 47
Joined Mar 2017
Location: Owensboro Ky
Jul 22, 2017 19:17 |  #5

Thanks for everyone who has replied to this message! Looks like I need to find a music publication and see what they have to say!

It's tough finding online publications that are close to where I live. It's like they are almost extinct lol

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Concert Photography Help
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