How To Grow As A Music Photographer

If you are a:

a) photographer

b) music lover

c) avid concert go-er

d) all of the above

…then you should get into music photography (if you haven’t already.) Music photographers are so, so good at what they do. They are able to capture live action shots of sweaty people jumping around and doing what they do best. Musicians are cool, but music photographers make them look cooler. 

“How do I do it? How do I go to shows and just take the photos? Can I go on tour? What do I do?” 

First and foremost:

Step up your game.

Splurge on a nice, new camera! Figure out if you’ll need flash or not for indoor or outdoor shows – just figure out what works best and get what you need to get. It will take time for you to get what you need to get, so just be patient!

Increase your knowledge of photoshop, in case you take a photo outside at night and the flash just…didn’t…do it’s job.

Get experience!

I used to be friends with a local band, and with that, I’d attend a lot of shows. There would be people who came from all over the town and even people who came from different states just to attend the show and take photos. Seriously!

I’d see people in the crowd taking photos and then I’d see their work being retweeted or shared on Instagram. Even if they weren’t the most high quality, professional photos, they were still doing it. They were working on their craft. So if you’re just taking photos with your iPhone or an old camera, just go for it! Practice, practice, practice.

Through this band, I even met friends who were so involved with the music scene that they were able to get internships with music magazines and Live Nation, and were even able to go on tour with bands to do merch/photos for them.

Put yourself out there. Connect! Network!

In order for you to grow, you’re going to have to put yourself out there. It’s important to connect with other music photographers just as important as it is to connect with bands or artists.

Reach out to local bands and ask them if they want their photos taken! Use Spotify or Instagram to find these bands and se if any of them are in your area. Even if they’re not super popular, you’re still building up your portfolio and that’s all you can ask for.

Befriend music photographers but be genuine about it. Don’t do it just to get some clout or finesse your way into shows or anything like that. Befriend other music photographers so that you can learn from them, grow with them, and even work with them.

Who knows, maybe they are aware of potential experience opportunities for you. Maybe they can’t attend a show, but you could. If you have a portfolio and you have something to show for yourself – kindness, hard work, and proof that you actually do this for a living (and you’re not just a weird fan that wants to stalk the band back stage or something…) – then you just might get the gig you were looking for.

Get out of your comfort zone.

If you want to do music photography, you’re going to have to get out of your bubble.

You’ll be having a lot of late nights out and about and meeting people and doing ~the most~. Why? Tour life, for one thing. Second of all, if you want cool shots to grow your portfolio, you’re gonna have to do something and go somewhere. 

If you want to follow your passion, you’re gonna have to feel a little afraid and uncomfortable. That’s how you grow.

If you’re looking for motivation to do this – to become a music photographer – take a look at a couple of our favorite music photographers who are on The Hub:

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A post shared by Ashley Osborn (@ashleyosborn) on

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A post shared by Ashley Osborn (@ashleyosborn) on

We recently talked with a Hub member, Ashley Osborn, who just so happens to be a music photographer. She started at a young age — when she was in high school, she’d attend a bunch of concerts and battle her way through the mosh pit so she can get the perfect shot. When she graduated high school, she bought herself a nice camera and took it to all the shows she attended. Now, Ashley is living in Los Angeles as one of the most successful female music photographers in the industry. I mean, she’s been on tour and shot with bands like Bring Me The Horizon, All Time Low, Pierce The Veil, and shot artists like Billie Eilish, Kasey Musgraves, Jessie J and so many more.

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A post shared by Ashley Osborn (@ashleyosborn) on

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A post shared by Ashley Osborn (@ashleyosborn) on

There’s also Kayla Surico, an Orlando-based music photographer who has shot for flor, Foster The People, Paramore, and so many more.

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@fosterthepeople in st. augustine, fl 🍃 more photos from this show are up on my blog!

A post shared by Kayla Surico (@kayla_surico) on

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🌸 @paramore in jacksonville, fl 🌸

A post shared by Kayla Surico (@kayla_surico) on

So…are you ready to jump in the pit?

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