Concert Photography: Heavy Metal vs. Classical Music

My first foray into photojournalism was concert photography. Because I was a heavy metal musician for many years, I got assigned to a lot of metal concerts. These were some of the toughest assignments because heavy metal bands like to create an ominous, theatrical atmosphere with red, purple, or blue lighting. It took me a while to adjust to such low lighting. Even though it was a challenge, I still enjoyed the process and in the end I became a much better photographer.   Recently, I was hired to photograph the East Valley Youth Symphony. From a photographer’s perspective, this environment is very different from rock n’ roll and heavy metal. At a rock concert you have the photo pit and three songs to get all your photos. However, with the symphony, you have seated guests and the musicians sit close together. Being discreet and quiet is of utmost importance. Most cameras make a noise when the shutter is released. This means you don’t want to shoot when the music is really quiet. Following a dress code is also important. Wearing black or dark colors is advised so that you don’t stick out and distract the audience from the performance. […]

Wanderlust

Before I became a photographer, I thought I wanted to be a full-time writer. In 2012, I graduated from California College of the Arts with a Masters in Creative Writing. I do love to write, but I found it could be very lonely work.   After I wrote my first novel, I decided I needed to take a break. During this break is when I started interviewing and photographing people with tattoos. I loved combining my passion for writing with photography because it gave me the best of both worlds. I’m an introvert, so I don’t necessarily hate sitting in a room by myself for hours working. However, I like how photography allows me to collaborate with other people. Plus, the process of photography is generally much faster than writing. For example, I spent three years writing my novel, whereas I could photograph and interview someone and see the results within a few hours.   Patience is indeed a virtue when you’re an artist, but sometimes it’s nice (and perhaps necessary) to see something to completion. It makes you feel like you’re moving forward in life. I still love writing fiction, but these days I’m more focussed on photojournalism.   […]

Cathy Rankin

I have had the pleasure of working with Cathy on a few shoots. This shot was taken during a shoot where we were trying to get as many different looks in one session. In just a few hours and using only natural light, we were able to get many different looks. Being resourceful is an important skill as a photographer. I chose to shoot at my parent’s house because their backyard has interesting walls and lots of greenery, which is rare in Phoenix. Overall, the shoot was a success and we both had a lot of fun.

Amaranthe, Butcher Babies, Lullwater

Every time a I photograph a concert, I usually encounter some challenges. It’s never completely smooth sailing, which I kind of like. I look at concert photography like a game because my success depends on my ability to adapt to any situation and compose shots that others will find interesting. Amaranthe, Butcher Babies, and Lullwater are great bands ,and I highly recommend you check out their music. So this blog has nothing to do with their performances. The concert was probably my most challenging event, and it was mainly because the venue was very dark. Pub Rock is a cozy venue, and I have actually played on their stage a couple of times. If you’re there to enjoy watching a band, it’s a great venue. However, if you’re a photographer, you’re going to feel a little frustrated. For one thing, there was no photo pit. The place was packed and the only way I could get close enough to the stage was to make a deal with a couple of people near the front, that, if they just gave me the first song to get my shots, I’d stay out of their way. The second problem was that the musicians […]

Concert Photography

Last week I had my first assignment for Cryptic Rock Magazine. While I have photographed many concerts, this was actually my first time taking pictures at the Marquee Theater. Even though I ran into some challenges with low lighting and color saturation, I really enjoyed taking photos at this venue. The biggest reason was that there was an area gated off just for the photographers and security. I have an expensive camera, and my biggest fear when I photograph rock concerts is that my equipment will get trashed or damaged from the mosh pit. When I’m photographing I have a tendency to be so focused on what is in my view finder that I’ll be completely oblivious to my surroundings. For each band, I had three songs to get all my photos, which proved to be enough time. In addition to taking photos my job also included writing a review for Red’s “Beauty and Rage” tour. You can check out my article and photos by clicking the link below. The above photos are of a local band called While She Waits. http://crypticrock.com/red-take-breath-away-marquee-theatre-tempe-az-6-4-5-w-adelitas-way-bad-seed-rising-mcclinton/

ELEMENT A440 DOMINATE AT THEIR TOUR KICKOFF

This week I’m doing something a little different. Last Friday I had the opportunity to photograph Element A440. So today I’m  giving you a concert review for one of Phoenix’s recognized industrial metal bands. Element has been around the Phoenix music scene for several years, demonstrating a level of tenacity that would make most bands blush. I have seen a couple of their shows over the last four years, and, every time I see them, they somehow manage to push themselves musically and theatrically. When you see an Element show, you’re not just going to see a band. They pull you into their world; a world that is dark, sexy, and very bloody. Light-hearted Vaudeville-like acts added humor to an otherwise intense set. Where other bands have failed to intersperse such acts into their sets, these additional performers kept their acts short and sweet. The momentum continued with Halo’s screaming vocals and emotionally-packed lyrics, while his band mates, Graven, Animal, and Kat, captivated the audience with their playing as well as with their body language and spewing of fake blood. One of Element’s strength is their ability to connect with their audience. Halo was always near the edge of the […]