I was a fan of Nekrogoblikon before I even heard their music. A band that centers around a goblin named John Goblikon is just too weird not to like. Turns out, their music is just as fun as their lore. Oh and they happen to be super nice dudes who put on one hell of a show!
Saturday was my first time seeing Palaye Royale perform live. These guys really know how to work a stage. They have a really fun larger than life vibe that is infectious. Any band that covers My Chemical Romance, and does it well, is cool with me.
I have known mychildren mybride front man Matthew Hasting for over 10 years and was very excited to see them play after several years off from touring. Thank you for the pass and for hanging out with me all day even though I made you stand in the sun and watch weird bands with me.
Every Time I Die put on an incredible set full of energy and power. Singer Keith Buckley said these photos are "incredible" on instagram, so you can take his word for it and check them out below.
I have been fortunate in getting to shoot many incredible artists over the years including No Doubt, Green Day, The Jonas Brothers, Coldplay and even Elton John. However, some of my favorite shows have been ones that I have attended solely as a fan. Below is a list, in no particular order, of the top bands and artists that I still dream of someday having the chance to shoot.
Having been a fan of the Foo Fighters since I was a kid hearing "Monkey Wrench" on the radio, I have had the chance to see them live only once. The show was at Citi Field and the tickets were pretty high up. Dave Grohl was also seated in a throne for the entire performance because he had an injured leg. Nevertheless, he rocked out and put on one hell of a show. I hope to someday be able to catch them from the pit, and see Dave Grohl kill it on two legs.
Favorite Songs: My Hero, Rope
I have seen Muse play festivals, arenas and even small clubs across multiple states.. Their show has some insane production including lasers, confetti balls and holograms. Muse comes off as larger than life, especially for a band of only 3 members. I would die happy if I ever had the chance to be in the photo pit at one of their shows.
Favorite songs: Plug In Baby, Butterflies and Hurricanes
When I think of the most fun I've ever had at a show, The Darkness at Brooklyn Steel definitely comes to mind. I have loved this band since the TRL days and only just got to see them perform live this year. If you haven't heard anything of theirs past 2002's "I believe in a Thing Called Love" you are really missing out. This band is so much more than a gimmick and I can't wait to get some amazing photos of them.
Favorite Songs: Barbarian, Southern Trains
Butch Walker is an incredible singer/songwriter who's live shows are filled with emotion and energy. He has an amazing way of captivating and interacting with his audience. I was so enamored by him in fact, that I got some Butch Walker lyrics tattooed on my ankle. Despite the fact that I have gone to countless shows over the years, I have never brought my camera. Maybe it was because I didn't want to be distracted and just wanted to watch, dance and sing along. It was probably also a fear of not being able to capture his essence in a photo. Here's hoping I have the chance to be in the photo pit on his tour this fall. If not, I'll definitely still be there watching from the crowd.
Favorite Songs: Best Thing You Never Had, Closer to the Truth and Further from the Sky
HONORABLE MENTION : THE FLAMING LIPS
I have listed the Flaming Lips as an honorable mention because I have yet to see them perform live. The photos and videos I have seen from their shows truly blow me away. They seem to be the most insane over the top live band on tour. They have it all - Inflatables, confetti cannons, disco balls and balloons. I'm excited at the idea of ever getting to shoot their set, but I'm also intrigued just to get to see for myself what all the hype is about!
Check out songs I'm currently listening to below:
Below is a list of my current gear. Things have come a long way since going to shows with my moms point and shoot camera, but it didn't happen overnight. It's taken me years to get where I am now and I hope to make future upgrades as I continue to develop as a concert photographer.
Nikon D3400 [Amazon]
I purchased my Nikon D3400 refurbished from Adorama here in New York City. It was refurbished from Nikon and was in like-new condition. It came with the standard 18-55mm kit lens as well as a 70-300mm lens for only $419.95 total. I have always been a Nikon user ever since my first DSLR, the Nikon D50. I saw this as a great upgrade for the price.
I purchased the prime lens first. This lens is equivalent to 52.5mm on a crop sensor camera. This lens is compact, lightweight and inexpensive at only $196.95 on Amazon. The fast f/1.8 aperture makes it excellent for low-light concert photography.
My parents purchased me this upgrade to my kit lens for my birthday and I am forever grateful. The first show I used this lens at was Paramore and Foster the People and I was so happy with the photos I got. It is a bit heavier than the standard kit lens but that is it’s only weakness. It offers a large aperture of f/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range. It also comes with a soft case and a lens hood. Keep in mind this lens is equivalent to around 25-75mm on a crop sensor camera!
Black Paisley Limited Edition Strap [Heavy Leather]
After I landed a half page photo in Revolver magazine, I treated myself by investing back into my photography with a new strap. This one is buttery soft, feminine and unique. If you are using this with a DSLR you will want to contact the seller to have it customized for an extra $15. I hit them up on instagram and they were very helpful and got back to me right away.
Sandisk Extreme PRO 32gb [Amazon]
I have always used SanDisk SD cards so that is what I have stuck with. 32gb is plenty and if I need more than that, I usually have a few extra on hand and will switch to a new one between acts. I purchased these recently as they are super fast with 95MB/s read and 90MB/s write speeds. I was having some issues with speeds on my current cards and this should help resolve that. After reading reviews on amazon, just be careful and make sure the tab on the side is not yellow as that is a sign it is a fake card. I reformat in camera every time I shoot to make sure my card is cleared of all previous data and formatted properly.
3.5-inch Amazon Basics USB 3.0 drive enclosures [Amazon]
with 6tb drive inserts
You could probably do with 2-4tb inserts. I went a little overkill with 6tb but figured they would be solid for the long run. I have 1 set up as my master and the other as my backup. I keep one at home and the other at work. The actual hard drives are a little pricey, but the enclosures are only $20 and super easy to put together. You can utilize whatever hard drive discs you prefer inside as long as they are 3.5-inches. Make sure you partition them and format for mac or PC depending on your setup.
2012 Macbook Pro [Newegg]
I got my macbook on Craigslist for a few hundred bucks a couple of years ago. I specifically went for the 2012 because of the ports it offers. It has both USB3 and Firewire as well as an SD Card slot. You can also upgrade the RAM to help with performance.
Adobe Lightroom CC [Adobe]
It may not be the most exciting part of the process, but editing makes all the difference. The biggest upgrade I've made in my workflow is switching from Photoshop to Lightroom. For only $9.99/mo this program was super easy to learn and has managed to salvage photos that at first glance looked unusable.
Etymotic High-Fidelity earplugs [Amazon]
Do not, I repeat DO NOT underestimate the need for earplugs in the photo pit. Save your hearing and get a pair, any pair. These had good reviews and were fairly inexpensive and I didn't hate the way they looked. I have used these at shows for the last 2 years and they have been comfortable and saved me from that dreaded after show ringing in my ears.