Want to be a music photographer?
You’ve come to the right place! I’m no expert but I’ve been doing it for a good few years now, and my work has seen me doing multiple tours with Demob Happy alongside the likes of Jack White, Nothing but Thieves and The Amazons.
My first piece of advice would be to get camera gear if you haven’t already. I started with my Canon 1100D and an 18-55mm kit lens with absolutely no knowledge on anything technical what so ever. I quickly realised that other photographers I was sharing the pit with has beefier cameras and lenses, and mine wasn’t performing very well in low light - but that’s not to say I didn’t get any photos! The first proper gig I shot was Jake Bugg at the Brighton Dome, it’s fair to say that the photos aren’t great but you have to start somewhere right?
How do I get a photo pass?
See if you can get in touch with small local blogs and publications to see if they want you to take some photos for them - this will give you the credibility you need to get your photo pass, e.g. “Hey, I’m Bridie! I work for the Bridie Florence blog and would love to take some photos of the show at blah venue on blah/blah/2020” followed by a link to your portfolio and your instagram handle.
Generally you would want to message the press contact for the band, but giving the band a message on instagram works just as well for smaller musicians, and hey, who’s gonna say no to content? Get messaging people and feel free to message me on instagram for any advice - @bridieflorence.
But what gear do I need?
I’ll do another post and go into some more depth about this. You want something with Decent ISO capabilities that will be able to handle shooting in low light, paired with a wide aperture lens such as a ”nifty fifty” which is a very popular lens for all sorts of photography due to the low aperture of f/1.4. You can really afford to be working between f/1.4. and f/2.8. but I wouldn’t recommend going much higher than that in dark music venues, particularly as you’re not allowed to photograph with flash.
My Advice to You
If you really want to do it, keep booking yourself up for gigs, keep busy and be persistent even when you feel too tired to do it. If you persevere enough, good things will come your way. I shot a gig almost every night for around a year until Demob Happy took me on my first UK tour with Jack White. If you keep your socials busy too, I promise someone will notice you and good things will come.
Keep going and graft the crap out of it - you got this!