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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Performing Arts Talk 
Thread started 12 Feb 2018 (Monday) 08:41
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How Do You Get Your Gigs?

 
Road ­ Dog
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Feb 12, 2018 08:41 |  #1

Nothing's been posted in this section in over a month, so i thought I'd throw something out for discussion.

How do you get your gigs?

When I first started doing concert photography, I was working for a guitar company outside San Diego. Our Artist Relations Manager would arrange credentials for me so I could shoot for the magazine the company produced.

Now that I'm in Florida, I'm the house photographer for two local venues. I've remained friends with some of the bands/musicians I met as a result of working at the guitar company, as well. I keep tabs on their tour schedules and, when they come through town, I simply go through them, regardless of the venue.

I also work for a small, regional magazine and, much to my surprise, many management companies and artists are very open to letting in someone from a magazine which isn't even really a music magazine (we do have a local music column).

So, how do you go about getting the shoots you get?


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Feb 12, 2018 09:50 |  #2

i don't. but i'd like to, in fact there is a new venue opening up that I would like to approach about being a house photog, but I have no idea how to monetize the venture. I have decent portfolio of work but know nothing of the business of concert photography so i haven't pursued it.

any tips?


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iwannabe
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Feb 12, 2018 12:03 |  #3

I got my start taking photos on my own for a short concerts series that featured regional acts. The concerts were held at the local botanical conservatory.
They eventually asked for photos in exchange for a yearly membership.

The conservatory is ran by the parks department and they became heavily involved in putting on concerts by national acts at their outdoor theater. About 4 years ago I was offered a pair of tickets to every show in exchange for photos.

They are supposedly used for promotional purposes but I've only seen them use very few. I've only had back stage access once so I don't get close to the bands but it's cool to have free reign on picture taking.
I would love to follow a tour some day.


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Road ­ Dog
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Feb 15, 2018 17:55 |  #4

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18562023 (external link)
i don't. but i'd like to, in fact there is a new venue opening up that I would like to approach about being a house photog, but I have no idea how to monetize the venture. I have decent portfolio of work but know nothing of the business of concert photography so i haven't pursued it.

any tips?

I wouldn't count on monetizing concert shooting. Every once in a while, if I shoot a meet & greet or something I'll make a few bucks but, generally speaking, there's not much money to be made.

I do it for access to concerts I would've bought tickets to anyway...


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Nethawked
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Feb 19, 2018 13:25 |  #5

I had no idea I wanted to be a concert photographer. I liked taking pix of mushrooms in the woods and my dogs and that was about it. I smuggled a 7D and 70-300mm into a festival once and took some photos that were shared with the festival's marketing director and got an immediate offer.

A tangent, but an important one - the next step was to sell all my lenses and buy f/2.8 or better. Costly, but fortunately my f/4 lenses sold quickly and without significant loss.

From here it's important to focus on making your work visible. As you grow it becomes more than that, you will need cart if you plan to sell, clients may need image proofing, digital downloads, etc.

Last is the business side. It's complicated and extremely difficult to grasp, and sorry but I can't help. Most of my financial arrangements are standard but many are completely adhoc. But it's very, very important you move to the point that you are not whoring yourself out. You'll find that it's not good for either you or your peers, and the practice of shooting for free is killing the industry. Everyone starts off photographing for free, just don't stay there once you've shown your value. </soapbox>

Get it all together, then start reaching out to publications and band management. Become affiliated with an e-zine, stick with them until you grow and find another. And keep moving up. Have goals, talk with peers, study the work of others, differentiate. Respect artists, other photographers, security, sound and lighting crews, production & tour managers, become friends with them all. Never, ever release an unflattering photo.

It's easier to get into a venue via a publication. I prefer to go directly through artists (unlimited access, backstage, onstage, drink their beer, blah blah), and if it's a show and performer I'm interested in I contact their management, usually not until 3 weeks before a gig, and offer my services. If they decline to pay I then go through publication. Legitimacy is key, it will take some time.

I'm no pro by any means, and am still evolving so take everything I say with a grain of salt ;-)a . I've made a lot of contacts and learned a lot from pros, and I don't expect the evolution will ever taper off.

I was once an actor. Photography self-promotion is just slightly less demeaning. Stick with it, if you're good the humility will pay off.




  
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iwannabe
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Feb 19, 2018 19:08 as a reply to  @ Nethawked's post |  #6

Nethawked...I loved reading your insight. I wish that I could have started this years ago. I just turned 60 and know that I am probably beyond the prime age to pursue any goals that I may mentally still have. There are no publications that I'm aware of that would be interested in my services so unfortunately I am one of those "whores" that are probably being compensated way less that I should. On the other hand, I don't plan on giving up my spot. Being able to get free tickets to all of the concerts are good enough for me I guess. Mentally, I would love to have the opportunity to be published just once and have a shot at being a touring photographer. Either way, I still feel fortunate to have the opportunity to do what I do. Not many people have the privilege.


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Nethawked
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Feb 20, 2018 03:36 as a reply to  @ iwannabe's post |  #7

I hear ya, me too! No offense meant by my choice of words, it was to make a point. Nobody gets anywhere without starting for free. I still shoot for free but try and restrict it to nonprofits (a good idea for experience and exposure by the way) or bands just starting out. A lot of festival work is essentially free unless getting in with a band. I wish this was my real job, but it's not even close. I have only a handful of friends who make a living doing this, most are also wedding & event photographers to make ends meet.

I was 54 when I started. Between my trusty advils and now long hair and beard I've pretty much got the being old thing checked for awhile. :lol:




  
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iwannabe
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Feb 21, 2018 09:15 as a reply to  @ Nethawked's post |  #8

No offense taken. I knew exactly what you meant. I need to do some nonprofits but that might have to wait until retirement in a couple of years, I hope.


Cameras: Canon 5D Mark III, 7D Mark II, Flashes: Canon 420EX, 580EX1
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How Do You Get Your Gigs?
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