The Secret to getting into ANY CONCERT as a Photographer (even if you are a hobbyist)
I am not huge on using the term “secret” when it comes to any piece of information. I use it in this case to pretty much dispel the idea that “secrets” are these massively important things that only a select few know.
In this case I am telling you how you can photograph any show you want. It’s pretty simple, if you know one person or become friends with one person that is associated with a band you officially have your in.
Of course the rest is up to you. You need to deliver on your work and prove that you are not someone who only wan’t to get into shows for free. Once you deliver you are golden, if you can be trusted and you are respectful you shouldn’t have trouble finding your way into any show.
In this case my good friend Shannon was in town with the Dirty Heads. He dropped me a line and I asked if I could come out and shoot the show. All I asked is that they don’t put restrictions on me and let me do my thing.
He checked with the band and they were all for it. I guarantee that he talked up the type of work I do as well as showed them some of my past shots. He did all the heavy lifting, he sold me on them and they said absolutely.
I met Shannon while on tour with Matisyahu and have stayed in touch ever since. It’s simple how this works. When you are on tour you are with a ton of people who are all working on the inside of the music industry. You have techs, merch people, drives, managers and your managers.
Everyone associated with a tour has either been on your with other bands or knows plenty of other people also on tour. This is a very close community where everyone knows someone who knows someone else. Once you find your way in the world of the music industry opens up.
For instance from me touring with Matisyahu I met Shannon. Shannon has toured for the last 20 years which means he knows other techs and bands and will always step up to the plate for me. I met Matisyahu’s manager who manages other bands but also has connections with every single musicians that Matis has ever played with. The list is never ending and the opportunities are waiting for you.
I am sure there are some people sitting at home saying that they could never do this, they don’t know where to start. I call bullshit, stop the excuses and start making the connections. No one says you have to attempt to get in with the largest act in the world. If you do awesome but start of realistic.
Get in with a smaller touring band who is opening for a bigger bands. Simply by process of proximity everyone will know everyone and your one contact now becomes 10. Yes it’s that simple but you have to do some work and show quality work.
Who has had an experience where this has played out for you?