I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life while I was growing up, says Bethan Miller. I was always a creative kid who loved music; who used to skip school, queue up for shows and travel across the country just to get a spot at the front and to experience my favorite bands live.
Bethan Miller on Concert Photography
I remember queuing up all day to see You Me At Six in a venue in Cardiff. I had my little point and shoot camera, and squeezed into the front row to try and get a couple of shots of the band. At this particular show I began talking to a photographer that I used to see in the photo pit at every show – his name was Mike Lewis and he worked for Getty Images.
I asked “how do you do this?”, and he explained his job and how he tours with pop artists like Marina and The Diamonds and Rita Ora. Discovering that you could actually shoot shows for a living absolutely blew my mind.
Starting a Blog
After that it was all go – I started a Tumblr blog. And, went to as many shows as possible, meeting people and creating connections in the local music scene.
I finally saved up enough to get my first DSLR, but had no idea how to use it. I never took photography in school. I’ve taught myself everything I know just by going to local shows, shooting constantly and trying to get better.
This led to me working for a music blog, which got me access into larger shows and into the photo pit. I shot for free a lot of the time, and networked as much as possible.
Bethan Miller on Studying Music Business
After dedicating time to photography in the local scene and beyond, I decided to go to university to study Music Business.
It was around this time that I also began working with a band called Moose Blood and eventually was given the opportunity to document their album release tour across the UK while also producing a music video for their song ‘Bukowski’. I also ended up doing merch and photos on their tour with Mallory Knox. It was incredible – making next to no money and missing lecturers but it was all worth it.
It made me hungry for more, and in my mind, I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life
During this time, I longed to learn more about what happens behind the scenes in the music industry. I immersed myself within the music scene. Doing photography and digital marketing for companies such as Swn Festival, Jealous Lovers Club, Croesy Bars Ltd and Volt Marketing. And, learning everything that I could.
Shooting in Cardiff
I was working myself to the bone. Shooting around three shows a week in Cardiff, interning at a marketing companies and working practically full time at a restaurant. And, handling their social media, events and bookings. It was a lot of work but I gained so much experience.
In March 2016, I was offered my first mainland Europe tour with Seaway on the Knuckle Puck and Boston Manor tour. I was in my second year at University, and the tour took place slap-bang in the middle of all my assignments. I’m not going to lie, it was a hard run.
I was working for Pure Noise Records – shooting for both Boston Manor and Seaway, as well as getting all my end-of-term assignments done for school. It was tough but oh so worth it.
The Bethan Miller Co.
Fast-forward to now, I’ve just graduated with a First Class Honours in Music Business and set up my own company ‘BETHANMILLER.CO.’ It is a company that was developed with passion and a desire to help brands excel with captivating content and authentic digital marketing.
A couple of years from now I’ll hopefully be working with bigger artists, brands and labels. I’d love to make my company bigger, taking on other photographers and working with artists closely on their branding and vision.
I’ve started expanding into other areas of photography such as wedding and lifestyle work. So, continuing and mastering that would be amazing. I would also love to work with some female fronted artists and bands, such as Paramore, PVRIS and The Japanese House.
I think people definitely make assumptions about women working in the music industry. I’m still really young at just 21. But, I work my butt off and try my absolute best to prove everyone wrong. People think sexism doesn’t exist within this industry, but I promise you, it does.
You can let it get you down, or you can let it make you stronger. This is a endless battle but one I’ll continue to fight for, now, and in the future.