What it takes to be a music photographer
If you want to become a music photographer and you have no idea where to start, we’ve got you covered. If you’re the kind of person who has a long list of favorite musicians and you’ve been to a concert after concert, this may be the job for you.
However, being a music photographer takes more than a passion and love for music. It requires talent, skill, and an education.
Education and training
While not every photographer will need to go to college (it depends on how you learn and how good you are at teaching yourself outside of a school setting), it’s a good idea to think about attending. Going to school for photography will not only teach you what you need to know about photography, but it will also teach you how to brand yourself, represent yourself, and more. Being a photographer is like running a small business, and you need training for that too.
However, many professional photographers skipped the school route and have still done incredibly well for themselves. Practicing hands-on is one of the best ways to learn. If you don’t go to university, try joining a photography group where others can provide you with feedback on your work.
Building a portfolio
Like most artistic fields, you have a work portfolio is the best way to show others that you know what you’re doing. Choose your best pieces to include in your portfolio, and make sure that you’re constantly updating it with your most recent shots.
Bring your portfolio to networking events with you and submit it for review. Many networking events offer portfolio reviews by professionals in the field. They’ll give you feedback on your portfolio as a whole as well as on your photography. They’ll help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses.
Make industry contacts
Network, network, network. We’re almost positive you’ve heard this before, but it truly is vital to a thriving industry career. Photography runs almost entirely on word of mouth and referrals, so build up your network.
Talk to and make friends with everyone on all levels. Chat up those on a higher level than you when you can, but build your leading network with people at the same level as you so that you can grow together.
Practice makes perfect
Most importantly, make sure you’re practicing your craft whenever you can. You shouldn’t just be taking photographs for a wage and working independently to learn new things. Study different lighting techniques and angles to capture the movement of musicians and their bands.
There’s always more to learn, so make sure you’re actively adding new information to your knowledge base whenever you can. Internships and jobs at smaller magazines and publications are a great low-pressure way to get some practice, as they’ll often allow you to obtain photo passes for concerts.
Study the masters
While you should be studying photography and its techniques, you should also check our time’s great music photographers. Looking at photographs from famous artists is a great way to improve upon your craft.
Check out photographers like Kevin Mazur, Ashley Osborn, Todd Owyoung, Katy-Rose Cummings, John Shearer, and more. There are many talented music photographers out there for you to study, so get out there and do it.
No matter what, keep working on your craft. Music photographers are known for their perseverance. As it’s a more challenging job to get, make sure you’re dedicated to what you’re doing. With all of these tools and your drive, you could be out there taking pictures in no time.