In my fourth full year of music photography
I definitely know that I have a different approach than most photographers
. I generally do not enjoy talking about equipment or technique
at length as I find it quite boring. I could go on about the bands I have seen, but as they are not million-album sellers you wouldn't recognise any of them. I have rung up both the Age
and the Herald Sun
only to be told they were 'pretty right' for photographers in the case of the latter.
It is not actually about the photos at all but more about managing relationships with the performers. I always try to act in a way that I would be asked to come back again and always deal with requests related to the photos in a timely manner. If you promise something always try to deliver and people will respect you for it.
Once you have taken thousands of photos of someone your feelings towards them will change. If this does not happen then you are doing something wrong. I have not crossed the line and become involved with any of the performers I have photographed, but the temptation is there sometimes which is only natural. This has led to me being destroyed on a couple of occasions. I once had to take down an entire set of 400+ photos of my friends' performances due to miscommunication on the part of the organisers of a show.
I am still learning even now and always open to learning new techniques. Just when I was used to only using about 10% of my photos when using a 50mm f/1.4 lens, I purchased a bounce flash and ended up using almost 1:1 of the photos I took for a while. I don't like having a load of gear personally and everything I use has to be able to be carried just by myself and changed over on the fly so I can continue to take photos.
If you only take photos of what is occurring on stage you are missing half the gig. For smaller venues I always try to take at least a few photos of the general crowd in attendance and any willing punters. The venue promoter will love you for this and it is a good way of meeting people.
After each gig I have a system set up where I download the photos, copy to my backup drive, burn two copies to CD and prepare a mailing envelope for the performer's copy. Almost everyone has an email now days and it is easy enough to ask for a postal address later. Over a year the total costs for postage and blank CDs has come to a few hundred dollars, which I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been keeping track of it.
I know most people like to watermark their photos on their personal websites. It is my personal preference not to as people can just re-crop the photo if they want to get rid of the watermark plus in my opinion most photos are not really worth the trouble of doing it on.
When I make prints of photos I don't do things by halves. As I generally only like to print out photos from major events I have covered including music festivals and community sports days, I print out at least $50 of prints each time. My record was 710 prints for a recent charity football match (double prints). This presents its own problems in sorting a counting.
As with everything there has to be limits on it and the main one you are likely to run into is cost. While working with digital saves the cost of film, there are always other costs you need to be aware of like meals, drinks and taxis. In my last job I spent virtually my entire wage on photography, which I would definitely not recommend.
I see this as a long term proposition and am considering more secure data storage services now that I have thousands of photos on file. I have had a couple of scares with data loss so it pays to be careful. There are hardly any sites that have a long term archive. I recently tried to look back ten years and could only find a handful of sites with an archive. Unless I decide to move overseas in the near future or start a family I plan to continue taking photos for at least a few more years yet.