Photographer of the Week:
How long have you been involved with photography?
I shot my first show about a week into my freshman year of high school when I was 14. I didn’t really have any formal training at the time - I had just entered Photography I in my school but hadn’t really learned anything yet. Before that I was always shooting around with friends and such, but never anything serious until I bought a DSLR.
What’s in your bag/what gear do you own? What would you like to purchase next?
Jeez… my bag is heavy. I shoot primarily with a Sony a65v, but also own a Sony a33 and Sony a300, as well as a Minolta film camera, Holga film camera, and a Fugi polaroid camera. In terms of lenses I was lucky because all my dad’s old Minolta lenses were compatible with my Sony. So from him I inherited a 70-300mm and a few others. I also own a 28mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4, 85mm 1.4, 18-55mm, 70-200mm and a fisheye.
I also have an external flash, an Alien Bee 800 with a beauty dish, soft box, mini dish and light stand. I run it with a VagaBond. In addition just various flash filters and such.
Who was the first band/artist you shot?
This is embarrassing… it was Brokencyde. I was at a venue called School of Rock. I’d been seeing shows there for awhile and was well acquainted with the manager and promoter there. About halfway through the show (which was The Friday Night Boys, The Morning Of, Brokencyde and Every Avenue) the manager told me he would let me shoot side stage since I had my camera with me. (There was no photo pit at this venue.) So I got to shoot the second half of the show completely unplanned! I think I had my camera for all of four days before that.
Who are some of your influences?
Gage Young was the reason I started shooting and to this day has taught me more than anyone. I was able to attend one of his workshops in 2010 and he taught me to pay attention to detail a lot more than I had been.
Currently, Tom Falcone continues to inspire me every time he posts a photo. He’s become one of my best friends and one of the only people I trust to give me an honest opinion on photos. Also he’s a ginger so we have to stick together.
What did your first time in the pit feel like?
My first time in the photo pit was for All Time Low, Mayday Parade, The Maine, Every Avenue and The Friday Night Boys. I had shot a couple shows at School of Rock prior to that but this was my first legit time shooting. It was so much fun and considering I was shooting with a kit lens I’m surprised any of my photos came out well. Looking back there’s a lot of things I would have done differently but it was a great experience regardless.
If you could give any advice to newer concert photographers what would you tell them?
You’re not going to make any money for a while, and you shouldn’t expect to. It’s a very difficult job to do successfully and you need to make your photos stand out if you want to excel at it. Also, don’t shoot HDR. It looks stupid 99% of the time.
What is your dream band/artist to shoot and/or tour with?
I would love to photograph Justin Bieber, but I would never want to tour with him because I’m too obsessed with him.
I’m not actively trying to tour, but I wouldn’t mind doing a week or so with some of my friends, like The Cab, Megan & Liz or The Summer Set.
Do you edit your photos? If so, what software do you use and how much time and effort do you put into your editing?
I do! I use Lightroom. I’d say I put in a good amount of effort when editing, but I definitely put in a lot more effort trying to get it right on the camera. I usually only tweak a few things when editing unless it needs something else. I want my photos to look real - not cloudy like some people seem to edit theirs lately.
How do you feel your photography has changed since you first began? Do you expect it to change in the future?
Ever since I started studying photography at SVA my entire perspective has changed. Lately I’ve been learning all the different possibilities for where I can take my career and what I want to do with it. I’ve been taking photos from a completely different perspective than I was in August.
To answer the second question, I think it will continue to change and evolve, which is good. You can’t do that same thing forever.
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