What kinds of photography do you do?
As tired as this answer may be, I shoot pretty much everything. My main strengths are music and portrait photography but I also dabble in abstract, landscape, product, and other miscellaneous commercial work. I make sure to take enough time for personal projects; they are very therapeutic and allow me to expand into new things.
How long have you been doing photography for?
I have been looking at the world through lenses for as long as I can remember, usually with my Polaroid (R.I.P.) or my family's Canon AE-1. When I hit college I found my somewhat sheltered world expanding around me and wanted to capture it all.
I bought my first digital SLR with the savings I had and went crazy taking photos of everything and everyone.
I started my LLC [limited liability corporation] in 2010 and have been growing my business, portfolio, and skills since.
How do you prepare for shooting a live show?
I like to communicate with the musician/band directly when possible. If there is a set list available it does wonders for preparation, even if there are last minute changes. Being able to listen to the music ahead of time and making mental notes of solos, crescendos, etc. helps me anticipate my shots.
Whenever shooting a new venue I will try and review photos other people have taken so I know how the lighting will look. I always arrive early for shows to survey the venue and crowd.
How is shooting live shows different than shooting promo shots?
Live show coverage and promo shoots are different in almost every aspect. With promo shoots the photographer remains in control of almost every aspect; lighting, posing, composition, etc. A live show takes the photographer's control away and gives chaos in return, introduces a crowd, and expects you to perform to your fullest. I usually don't end up with an entirely sore body after a promo shoot, either.
What's the most rewarding part of shooting live shows?
Covering live shows is very demanding but always amazing: doing a lot of running around and stretching to make my shots but am also meeting new people, enjoying great music, and practicing my craft. Drink tickets and free merch help, too!
What equipment do you bring to venues?
I shoot with a high-end Canon system that helps me shoot quickly and accurately in constantly dynamic situations and dimly lit venues.
My primary camera is a Canon 5D mk III and my backup camera is a 5D mk II. The lenses I use most are the Canon 24-105mm f/4L and the 70-200 f/2.8L mk II. I also have a Fujifilm x100s that is amazing.
Do you have a favorite band to shoot?
I really, really, really enjoy shooting local bands. I first got into music photography with the encouragement of the late Sean Meyers, a tremendous individual who really understood the importance of supporting local acts.
Two of my favorite local bands are Norman Rockwell and the Family Plots.
How does the style of your photography vary from show to show?
I like to include crowds into photo sets whenever possible so their energy will always come through. My style of photography is fairly adaptive though so I try and set the mood of the images to match the tone of the music and musician(s).
What advice would you give to bands who are playing shows with photographers? How can they make your job easier?
Communication is key! I know that there are hundreds of things that you have to get in order before each show but please set at least one person as the contact for your photographer. Providing a set list and music is great and is something that can be done fairly far in advance
Advice for the day of the show: please make sure my name is on your guest list as photographer so I can get access without having to go back and forth between you and the staff (disrupting your set up). Make sure your mics are positioned so they don't cover your face, and if you want to have dynamic photos, make sure to move!
The most important thing for you photos, however, is to simply enjoy the moment.