Why Concert Photography?

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9 Responses

  1. Ryan O'Leary says:

    really great piece

  2. jonbehm says:

    Thanks Ryan!

  3. jeremy says:

    Is that Jeff Spicoli giving you the bird?

  4. jonbehm says:


  5. Chad Rieder says:

    Yeah, nice work putting this together Jon!

    I concur with much of what you wrote. Yet with so many negatives, there is something that always brings me back. Here are the reasons I keep shooting shows:

    1. I love music and photography. The feeling of mixing these arts at the same time can sometimes be overwhelmingly awesome.

    2. The chase. I am endlessly chasing a “perfect” shot. Most people do not understand how difficult this can be in a live music setting. The lighting is constantly changing and can oftentimes be minimal, while the artist is moving, while the crowd or other photogs are bumping into you. Controlling shutter speed, aperture, and ISO all at once while trying to compose a quality shot is a major challenge in this environment. But capturing one of those special shots where it all comes together is very rewarding.

    3. Being closer to the performers, if only for a song or three. Although most artists don’t pay any attention to photographers, some do. And to me, the feeling of having my elbows on First Avenue’s stage lining up a shot while my favorite band is rocking a few feet away is very exciting. It’s even more fun when you can tell the artist is hamming it up so you can get a better shot.

    4. Promoting bands that I like. Music is important to me, and if a photo I take captures someone’s attention to the point where they want to check out the band’s music, well then I did good. Even if there is no money in it for me.

    5. It gives me a reason to see new artists. Shooting shows has definitely opened me up to a lot of music I otherwise would not pay attention to or know about.

    6. Meeting other like-minded photographers, writers and music fans. When people see a photo pass and a big ass camera, it opens the door for conversation. This is usually a good thing.

    Although there is rarely money in it, and so many other negatives, I am going to keep on shooting the rock shows too. Cheers.

  6. Will Wlizlo says:

    How do people get into concert photography? Can you literally buy a camera and then e-mail First Ave the next day and say you want a photo pass? Or do you have to pay for a few shows first, show off your skills, etc.? (Just curious; I’m a typey-typey guy, not a point-and-clicky guy . . .)

  7. Adam Bubolz says:

    It was about 7 years of taking my camera to shows with me when I could before I ever got an official photo pass.

  8. jonbehm says:

    Thanks Chad – your number four is one I should have added to my list as well. And number one of course!

    haha Will, if only it were that easy to get a photopass. Back when I started you didn’t really need them at places like First Ave yet so I got lucky and got a lot of practice in before they became a necessity. These days you can still make a good start for yourself by starting at venues that don’t require the passes (like the Turf or Entry). Then work your way up. Biggest thing though is usually you can’t get one unless you have some kind of publication to shoot for.

  9. jonbehm says:

    adam back when you started was it hard to get bands to stand still for a half hour so that the daguerreotypes would come out right?

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