Final Tips from the Professional Photographer
Create a good rapport
“Gigs are just one part of rock photography – there’s also backstage stuff, group shots and portraiture. This is all about people skills, and getting a balance between how the band wants to present itself and what your client wants,” says Laurence.
“Rock bands are usually okay to deal with but you have to be patient. Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist) once turned up three hours late, trampled on my lenses and made me miss my flight back to the UK!”
Do your research
“Another good time-saver is to check out the band’s website beforehand so you can see who the most photogenic members are. It’s not just about the singer – you might be able to sell shots of the guitarist to a guitar magazine or website.
“Once you’re there, watch how the band interact. It’s about anticipating the next move of key members. Move around the pit and try beckoning a member over for a shot if you already know them.”
Make a name for yourself
Despite the intense competition, Laurence reckons it’s in some ways easier for newcomers to get started in music photography these days than it was when he started out as a professional photographer.
“You don’t have to pay for film and processing costs for a start! But don’t work for free when you’re starting out; it makes life harder for the rest of us professional photographers. Try to build up a portfolio by shooting local bands and go from there.
“You can ensure shots stand out by getting a good SLR and mastering it. Learn how to adjust exposure and keep your shots sharp. Nobody will buy soft images.”