Concert photography can be tricky to navigate when you’re first starting out. It’s hard to know who to contact to get into shows, how early to reach out, how to join publications, etc. Luckily, we’ve compiled some tips to get you started!
So, how do I get my name on the list?
With concert photography, it’s best to start out small. If you’ve never shot a show before, try practicing at a venue with an open camera policy or exploring your local music scene. This is a great way to hone your low light shooting skills and build your portfolio in a stress free environment!
Once you think you’re ready to move on to bigger artists, you’ll need to reach out to someone on either the artist’s management or publicity teams, or sometimes even the artist themselves if they’re relatively small. This information can be found in a number of different places; on their social media, website, or even just by searching up press releases. You should be emailing no later than a week in advance to give them sufficient time to accommodate you, but 2-3 weeks in advance is ideal. Here’s an example of an email template you can use when reaching out:
My name is [your name] and I’m a [your location] based photographer. I would love to shoot for [artist] at the show in [location] at the [venue] on [date].
Are you able to accommodate 1 ticket and 1 photo pass? The images would be used for my portfolio and I can send a link to them as soon as they’re up.
You can check out some of my work at the link below:
[link your portfolio]
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you!
Feel free to tweak this template anyway you want, but in cases like these, less is more! It’s best not to overwhelm the recipient with too much information. If you don’t hear back and the show is approaching, don’t be afraid to send a follow up email a few days before the show.
Sometimes, only those contributing to a publication will have access to photo passes. Which leads us to…
How do I find a publication?
First off, what even is a publication? It’s basically just any outlet that covers music in some way. This could be a print magazine, a newspaper, or just an online web gallery.
If you’re a student, your school probably has some sort of publication that you can contribute to (this was how I joined my first one)! Network at the club fair and make sure you submit your application on time.
Additionally, there are a large volume of small online publications that cover music. Often they’ll post their coverage on social media like Instagram. Photographers will almost always tag the publication they shoot for in their posts, so with some digging you can find all the information you need! Once you’ve identified a publication you want to try out for, reach out (with your portfolio) to see if they are accepting new contributors.
Keep shooting, strengthening your portfolio, and networking! If you feel comfortable, share your photos on social media. This is an awesome way to exemplify your talent to the world and to the artists themselves. Also, try chatting with other photographers you see at shows; having a strong network can open up opportunities and jobs in the future!
Struggling to find photographers in your area to follow? Check out this page, type in your city, and you’re done!
Remember, every photographer you look up to had to start somewhere. Don’t be discouraged if it seems tough at the start. Ultimately, every challenge and roadblock I’ve faced has been an invaluable learning opportunity :)
Hope this helped, and good luck!
✌️ – Emily