Breaking into concert photography I've been told is tough... It's a who you know kind of business
This sucks for creatives who tend to be introverts because unless you have a team of extroverts in your corner, who you know may be slim to none. This is where I found myself. 3 years of emails to concert venues, promoters, artists' manager, local radio stations and no replies. I had 0 connections. I offered to pay for my tickets just for access to photograph a few minutes of the shows... Denied, denied, denied.
So I followed the careers and blogs of a few concert photographers. My fav Mr. LaVan Anderson has made an amazing career for himself and given great tips for those looking to break into the industry. Check out his Helpful Tips on his website Everyday LaVan Photography. I took a few pointers from his tips and shot a couple local performances. Then I bought a few tickets for some of my favorite R&B artists (Anthony Hamilton, Floetry, Miguel, etc) and shot with my iPhone 5. I was still frustrated... a few decent photos from an iPhone. A few reposts from artists, but I wouldn't be happy until I was able to capture these moments with my camera.
But I didn't give up hope.
One of my goals is photograph artists from the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) that tour in Phoenix. I have to support the hometown talent. So when I heard Wale was performing in Scottsdale, I sent an email to the venue and the promoter. Again nothing. Then literally the day of the show, a friend sent me a text with the name and number to a guy in Wale's camp. She knew someone who knew someone. Literally one hour before show time, I talked to a guy who put me on the list. I was in there!
Omg now I'm a little nervous. Here I am the only girl in the photographer's pit. I feel like the fans and the other photographer's are eyeballing me. None of the male photographer's speak initially but I smile and nod to the one guy that actually made eye contact. He walks by and says "hi, how you doing?" but doesn't wait for a reply. But when the music cues, I no longer care who I'm in the pit with. The crowd chants... Wale, Wale, Wale
I thought back to my concert days at Old Dominion University before I owned a professional camera. Wale's Mixtape and an introduction from my Northern Virginia friends to "Beat Your Feet" music. I pictured a young Wale that I had seen perform on campus. No label, no crew, just him and a hype crowd of college kids rocking. Later that semester, I started working at the university radio station and got my first pro-sumer camera body. My development for music and photography started. My photography was horrible and I was shooting on automatic settings but it was a start.
But here I am now. Inspired.
To witness an artist's growth and hustle and now here I am inspired to keep pushing and do the same. I am reminded to stay focused... Limited resources fuel the determination to persevere through the sea of No's. It only takes one yes to get you in the building. Keep striving.