Being a photographer, especially a concert photographer, is a great gig to have. I have been very blessed to have had all the opportunities I’ve been given and have worked hard to improve my craft. I’ve met some amazingly talented people on my journey and have had adventures that I never imagined I’d have (and I have quite the imagination!).
But I know my photography isn’t and shouldn’t be about me. My focus is 100% on the subject I’m shooting. I know this may seem like a strange concept but I want my image to speak to the talent of the performer, and not the talent of the photographer. Too many photographers that I know don’t share this point of view. They take a shot and immediately start thumping their chest and shouting from the tops of social media mountains, ‘Look what I did’.
That’s not how I operate. In fact, I’m the total opposite. I don’t go around dropping names, posting images of my work all over the internet and whining about photo releases. It’s unseemly. In today’s world where everyone can be a concert photographer, there are two vital things that are being ignored: Integrity and humility.
Integrity in professional concert photography is vital in order to be a success. Acts, venues, managers and anyone else ‘in the business’ needs to know that you, the photographer, are going to handle the images you take with respect. To me, this means not selling the image, sharing the image only with the agreed upon publication, and not complaining about the release that you voluntarily signed. Yes, there are some grey areas in concert photography, but if you are asked to take down a photo for whatever reason (and I have), you do it without complaint.
Humility is an even rarer quality in concert photography. It’s hard to be humble when there are so many avenues on the internet to display images. Some photographers are artists, and artists are notoriously insecure, so wanting validation is understandable. But as the saying goes, ‘don’t believe your own press.’ Yes, I’m a good photographer. In fact, some people have called me a bad ass photographer. However, I fully know that my gift of photography is a gift from God and this gift that is precious to me, may one day end. In the meantime, I’m more than happy to share the spotlight with the One that gave me this gift. And if people see Him through my work, than all the better.
Concert photography is hard work. But work hard at it, treat it with integrity and stay humble. Because integrity and humility is the difference between being an amateur and a professional. And believe me, those in the music business know the difference.
photo courtesy of pintrest.com