Capturing the Beat: Essential Tips for Music Photographers Starting Out
As a music photographer starting out, you're about to embark on an adventure filled with electrifying concerts, diverse genres and dynamic artists. It's a realm where you'll have the opportunity to immortalize the soul-stirring emotions, explosive stage presence and raw energy that emanates from musicians and their audiences.
However, like any artistic endeavour, music photography requires a combination of technical skills, creative vision and an understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities it presents.
That's precisely why we've interviewed a selection of award-winning photographers, our MPA judges and alumni from 2022 to equip you with the knowledge and insights you need to capture unforgettable moments and make your mark in this thrilling industry.
“One of the pieces of advice that I have always wanted to pass on has been you never stop learning. Being open to new ideas and ways of working can definitely keep you as a photographer on your toes. And whether you use them or not, it doesn't matter. It's just that openness. And I think that most of the best photographers that kind of have the longest careers, they love their subject matter, but they’re also very inquisitive about, you know, what's happening in photography, in terms of technology and what's happening in terms of music and where it's going. So being, you know, being inquisitive really helps you.”
“When you're starting out and, you know, you're really into it and you think you want to do this for more than just fun. You want to like form a good relationship with the bands because likely the band you're shooting to as well are also starting out. And then over time some of them will be successful and then, you never really know what those early connections will blossom into later on. So, you know, I recommend, you know, start by networking and sharing your images with the bands and, posting on social, of course. And then, you know, over time that will help you grow.”
“I guess the top tip I received was just composition. Being really deliberate with how you take a picture and what you put in the picture and just making sure like, like I like mid shots of myself. I don't look at the camera too close. I don't like it too far away. I like it in the middle and I don't like it low down because I'm already tall. Just thinking being really deliberate with your images and asking yourself like, “How do I want it to be? How do I want to look in this image and how can I best communicate that to somebody else?”
Jada + David:
“I would say, just shoot a lot. Shoot so much. Get a really wide variety of shots and angles while you're still kind of trying to discover your style and your voice a little bit. Because having more variety is not only good for the client to kind of share with them, but also good for you to see like what's your niche. What are the things in a photo that stand out to you. How do you like to photograph somebody.
So just play, explore, have fun and also take into account a little bit of who the person you're photographing is, especially if they’re somebody who's in the public eye or has a kind of particular persona that they like to share with the world. And as you're photographing, just kind of think of ways that you can play that up a little bit, but in your own unique voice.
And I would say kind of maybe think of photography as baking a cake. You want to like learn your skills and the techniques, the proper ways of doing it at first. And then once you figure out, like, I like a vanilla a little more, maybe add a little bit of that and spice it up and kind of take your own twists into the photography.”
As you embark on your music photography adventure, know that there will be ups and downs. But with perseverance, passion and a strong foundation of knowledge and skills you can carve out a successful career doing what you love. Make sure to discover more interviews, tips and masterclasses on our Skills Hub page.