Here are some of my favorite music images I captured this year with some stories behind them.
Fall Out Boy / Wintour - Hollywood, FL
This was a night that started out as a disaster but ended up being one of my favorite shows to ever shoot. On idobiRadio, I try to be as fair as possible and grant show credentials equally among the photographers on the team, even if that means I have to pass on some shows I’d really like to shoot. This was one of them. At last minute, one of our photographers was unable to make it to their date so I had to contact Fall Out Boy’s publicist and let them know we had to skip. When the week was approaching to shoot their show in my town, I wanted to shoot it so bad. And since it was Fall Out Boy, I didn’t want to step on too many toes and annoy their PR about setting up another press pass. So a couple of days before the show, I reached out to my boss on idobi to see what he could do and weirdly enough, he said Pete Wentz had it all set. Personally, I get nervous when anyone other than the publicist or mgmt sets up a photo pass for me. I’ve experienced many times the pass not being there and I’ll have no contact in hand except for a band or crew member who is most likely way too busy to come out and fix the issue. So I said whatever and took my chances and went. When I got there, the situation kind of sucked. I was a little late and it was the kind of show where you had to be escorted to the photo pit (the worst) and the person to escort us wasn’t there. When the person did come to escort me, she claimed I was not on the press list and my heart suuuuunk. I was about to make my way back home but just before I left I decided to give the will call booth a shot even though the escort repeatedly told me they would not have anything press related. Well jokes on her cause they had my pass, sucka! The show ended up being one of my top 5 favorite shows to ever shoot and the amount of regret I would have felt if I didn't check will call would have been so real. The production was one of the best I’ve ever seen and even though there was an extravagant catwalk, we were able to walk anywhere around it (usually with catwalks at shows you’re only able to shoot at the very end of it — at least from my experience). This image will probably never leave my portfolio.
Brand New / Brand New & Modest Mouse Tour - Miami, FL
Instead of rambling about how in love I am with this band, I’m just going to dive into how shooting this show was. If you didn’t know, Brand New did not allow any photographers to cover their shows unless they were performing at festivals or some select shows outside the US. A photographer on idobiRadio (hi Lindsey!) always asked to cover their shows and I always had to tell her no press at their shows, ever. I can’t remember the exact reasons of why I told her to give it a go for this specific tour, but she sent an email anyway and was granted a pass. I freaked. This was the first time in years Brand New were allowing photographers. Since idobi was taken care of, I contacted my good friend Cara from Highlight Magazine and begged her to let me shoot my show in Miami for them (which she let me, bless). When I got to the show, there were barely any photographers and the pit was empty (which is a photographer's dream. Way less chaotic and more area to move in). Right when Brand New went on, my memory card freaked. It dragged so slow, I almost had to wait a whole 10 seconds to get another shot. I swear I had never internally panicked so hard in my life. It was just that week I wanted to give a new memory card I bought a go and it was not working in my favor. Thankfully after a good minute, it went a bit faster and I captured what I needed (still was having a heart attack tho). After the first three songs in the pit, we were allowed to shoot anywhere in the venue for the rest of the show so I stood about 3 rows away from the stage and snapped the rest of the performance. This image was one of my favorites from that night. And if you're curious, that memory card is now burnt into a crisp to avoid any further bad luck.
I haven’t shot a show without a photo pit in so long. This past year, I’ve been working for my newly awesome friend/show promoter Alex and I’ve been covering a ton of his shows at more local venues. It’s definitely nostalgic shooting these shows since this is how I started when I was around 15 or 16 years old. I’ve never seen Foxing live before so I didn’t know what to expect but they ended up putting on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. I was against the stage the whole entire night and I expected to die in that crowd (people are much more brutal at shows these days compared to my little local versaemerge show days) but the crowd was so friendly and everyone around me had no problem letting me shoot.
I’ve been chatting a little bit with this band/their management since summer and I was super excited to catch them in Miami recently. Since they were performing at Jingle Ball’s pre-show and not actual Jingle Ball, I was less hesitant to cover their performance. In the past I’ve had some issues trying to photograph at huge venues that Jingle Ball events are held at. I always seem to have less fun shooting in large scale venues compared to a House of Blues or Fillmore where I have more access to walk around and less rules. So the way the pre-show was set up, a few artists play but only a handful of songs. If I remember correctly, Hey Violet played around 4 songs and unlike the 3 song rule, we were able to stay in the photo pit for the whole set. Some of these images from this set are my favorite to date. I definitely recommend to photograph this band in 2017 since I have a good feeling they’re going to blow up.
I finally got to cover an artist a little outside of the genre I usually work with. Since I work an annual social media/youtube event called Playlist Live every year for the past 2 or 3 years, I knew of Troye Sivan for a bit before his music career took off. I had his album playing nonstop after I covered this show in Miami and couldn’t get over how aesthetically pleasing his whole set up was.
Tonight Alive / The Fight For Something Tour - Orlando, FL
Jenna of Tonight Alive will always be one of my favorite artists to ever cover. I’ve photographed them numerous times over the past 3 or more years and Jenna has never once given me a boring set to shoot. This was shot during my birthday weekend, which made it even more special. It never gets old seeing an inspiring frontwoman in this kind of scene kicking ass and being an awesome role model for other females. After the 3 songs in the photo pit, I stood directly to the left side in the crowd and snapped the rest of the set. It was one of those shows where shooting from the crowd gave much more interesting results than shooting from the photo pit.
5 Seconds of Summer / Sounds Live Feels Live Tour - Jacksonville, FL
The first time I photographed 5 Seconds of Summer, they were a little stiff on stage but their setup was incredible and they sounded flawless live. There was also a catwalk so we were a little strict with where we could shoot (which led me to be slightly unprepared. I only had a 35mm, 50mm, 85mm on hand and since they didn’t walk too much on the catwalk, I didn’t have too much to work with). I really wanted to capture how great they sound live into images this time around. For this show, I sort of expected that it would have been the same experience, except I was more prepared with a 70-200, but I was pleasantly surprised! The guys seemed way more comfortable on the stage and they definitely outdid themselves with their stage setup. This was also my first time using a telephoto zoom lens. I’ve always been a wide or prime lens person so I was kind of nervous with the results; I didn’t want anything to look like a generic getty image (no offense to any getty image photographers out there! I’m just more of an artsy/depthy kind of girl) but I was so happy with how all the photos came out. I’m sure I have way better photos than this one in the photo blog I posted but for some reason this image always stuck with me.
This is not a live photo — I know! But it’s definitely one of my favorite portraits of someone in the music scene so let’s pretend that counts this time. During 2014-2015, I had really fallen back on taking promos of artists. I was just way more into behind the scenes or live shots and kind of neglected portraits and promos. This year definitely changed that and I’m stoked to have done a little shoot with this awesome band over the summer. There isn’t too much of story, this was just shot on a Canon 35 with a Canon 6D. The band are extremely friendly and I’m stoked with where they’re heading this upcoming year. One of the full band promos in photo set link below is in the latest Kerrang! issue as a poster so make sure to pick it up! *shameless plug*
Our Last Night / Face To Face Tour - Lake Park, FL
Not entirely sure why this is one of my favorite images from this year but maybe because this band was so energetic that night and it was actually far from boring to shoot from side stage for once. Over the few years I’ve photographed live music, I did not get the hype over shooting backstage/sidestage. It almost became a bragging thing at one point to have access to shoot there but I truly did not see the creative angle or what made the images so special. I would end up deleting those images in the end because what was so interesting facing a back most of the time? So I decided to give it another try and I was so happy in the end. Maybe it was just how the band performed (they were constantly running around the stage and not entirely faced the crowd the whole time) or I just haven't given the side stage/backstage shooting more of a chance, but I was super pleased with how the photos came out. This was the very last shot I snapped before they headed off stage.
How can you go wrong with shooting The 1975 when they always have the best stage presence (hitting this with a period at the end cause this is not a question, it’s a fact). Back in May, I shot them in Miami and it was great except the venue was a little weird with their photo pit (there was actually a moat between the pit and stage which creates quite a bit of feet between you and the artist). After scoping out other photos of this run, I noticed this tour would have the same exact setup. It was kind of like getting a second chance to shoot the same tour, which was cool since you know what to expect lighting wise. For this shot, I took out my 85mm which I haven’t used at shows in ages. I thought these shots were a little boring at first, too clean, dead center, nothing too exciting going on in the background. In the end I decided not to delete these shots and discovered that my work needs more clean and clear images. I’ve always thought you needed something chaotic or extreme to make an interesting shot but I’m finally taking in the beauty of just a clean, simple still.