Become a music photographer (part two)


Last updated: 05 February 2009

Although there are more restrictions now, there are still opportunities, and in the age of the digital camera you can see your work instantly. Although technology in camera equipment has progressed at a fast pace, the essentials remain the same: photojournalism is all about capturing a moment.

"It is important to be familiar with media," says David, "though I think it's equally important to do your homework and know the band you're photographing. I saw someone doing a band photo shoot recently. They were pulling the band together and grouping them ready to take the shot and put a radio journalist in the line up. He was just there talking to them and wondered why he was in the shot - classic!"

Focusing on promotional work can also supplement your income. If a company is touring with a new product, then examples of young people enjoying their brand are part of the promotion. Photographers are needed to capture people everywhere, but particularly at festivals and nightclubs, exactly the same venues that put on your local heroes.

The more animated a band the better. Obviously a lively rock type band with guitars and the rest will make a far better photo than a DJ stood behind decks.

David Hardcore

Finding the best way to show your work off can be a good start too. Building an online portfolio with images of your work provides easy access for any prospective employer, especially as most photography work is freelance.

A great opportunity in photojournalism is a festival placement or a band commission which allows you freedom of expression. Yet if you become known for good quality images and have a comprehensive portfolio, you will be put towards the front of the list for work.

"Know your subject," says Hardacre. "Keep your ears and eyes open and try and have a camera with you. This always helps. Also, the more animated a band the better. Obviously a lively rock type band with guitars and the rest will make a far better photo than a DJ stood behind decks."

Keep this in mind, together with an addiction to celluloid, and you've probably got a good start which can lead you anywhere. Though as with any job in the media it is essential to become involved for the right reasons, such as a love for the genre or dedication to journalism, it is by far these qualities which will help you most.

And if you are lucky in pursuing a career as a snapper, expect nothing short of the bizarre. As David shows, photojournalism is nothing like an ordinary day in the office.

"I guess one of my favourite photojournalism moments was one I once used on a caption in an exhibition. I was backstage at Glastonbury waiting to go and photograph Johnny Cash on stage. I decided to go for a piss, and on my way looked up and saw Johnny Cash in front of me. I said, "Hi, I'm Dave". He said, "Hi, I'm John". I said "I know", and he walked off."

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