The new awards competition for budding music photographers has drawn to a close, as the inaugural winners of the So.Co Music Photographer of the Year at a London ceremony this week. The winning photographers were chosen by an judging panel of industry experts, as well as a vote cast out to the general public of social media.
A leaderboard had been established prior to the competition deadline which involved a public vote to decide the top music photographer judging from their portfolios. The Image of the Year award however was limited to just one image entry per photographer, and then selected by the judges.
• See our recent interview with Dave Hogan, the recipient of the So.co Legend of the Year Award - to discover how he captured that world-famous shot of Madonna kissing Britney, as well as tips for the next generation.
At an awards ceremony in London at 21Soho on Monday, March 27, 2023 - the So.co Music Photography Awards (sponsored by Affinity Photo 2) kicked off with a bang and revealed the first-ever winners of the inaugural music photography categories.
Scooping herself the win in the Image of the Year Category (sponsored by LD Comms) was Belinda Enthoven, with her fantastic image of McFly's Tom Fletcher while the band were performing live at the O2 Arena in London.
Arching over backward while on his knees, and reaching out towards the crowd behind him, the photo of Tom is extremely well-timed and dynamic, plus with a unique crop, and shows the musician with one hand displaying what looks like a peace sign, while holding his guitar securely in the other.
Enthoven's image was selected by the judging panel that included photographer and Nikon ambassador Scarlet Page, and coincidentally, McFly's own bass player - Dougie Poynter, who is said to be a keen photography enthusiast. The Image of the Year category was also judged by another panel member, photographer Dave Hogan, who was the recipient of the So.co Legend of the Year title.
The prestigious title of Music Photographer of the Year was in the hands of the general public via an online voting system, whereby hundreds of photographers worked their way up the digital leaderboard after receiving votes by promoting the competition to their friends, family, and social media followers.
Photographer Neil Lupin was selected as the first-ever So.co Music Photographer of the Year 2023, and one of Lupin's most popular images was a portrait of Oasis' Liam Gallagher with a tambourine in between his teeth, that resembled a cheesy smile. In recognition of the win, Lupin was presented with the top prize of a Sony A7 IV camera and lens kit, courtesy of Sony.
Essentially a popularity contest more than anything, the top ten photographers in the online So.co leaderboard with the most public votes by the deadline were then in the running to be in consideration for the overall winning title (or what should probably have been "people's choice" award), as selected by the judging panel.
Having received 402 votes online, Lupin was ranked at #10 on the leaderboard, but still managed to earn himself the winning title, despite other runners-up such as photographer Bazza Mills wracking up a whopping 1,217 online votes!
On winning the amazing Music Photographer of the Year title, Neil Lupin has shared, "I am honored to have won the first So.Co Music Photographer of the Year award. The talent in the competition was outstanding and it shows the UK is leading the world when it comes to live music - from the grassroots to the biggest stadium tours."
The So.co photography community picked the celebrated Nikon Z9 camera as their weapon of choice when shooting shows, and the Product of the Year. The low light performance of this camera and its revolutionary ‘electronic only’ shutter make it a great companion for music photographers.
Other awards dished out on the night weren't all photography-related, and the Venue of the Year Awad went to one of the UK’s top music pubs and well-loved venues, The Horn, in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. The Must-See Artist of the Year category winners were Greater Manchester indie-pop outfit, Lottery Winners.
Vince Bannon, So.co CEO and Co-founder, has said: “The music photography community is thriving more than ever, it’s been fantastic to see it come together for this celebration of the artform. We’ve had a blast honouring some of the best in the game with our first year and can’t wait to build the event in the years to come.”
• You may also want to take a look at the best camera settings for live music photography, as well as 5 essential tips for editing live music photos, by expert Christie Goodwin, and be sure to get your live music images ready for the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awardsin 2023.