Capturing a live performance through a lens was a new experience for me. It started at a Mastodon concert in 2017 in Amsterdam and gradually became something I’m passionate about.
With a simple kit (Sony A6000, with two prime lenses, the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 and the Sigma 60mm f/2.8) I began exploring the world of concert photography. It was more about capturing the essence of live music, the energy in the room. Yet, I was still juggling between street photography and the very occasional concert shoot.
When I moved to Berlin, unfortunately, their rules were even more strict, which meant being able to shoot only one concert (Jinjer), which I didn’t like my outcome so much due to the chaos and where I was.
Moving to London and Metal Junkbox
Moving to London in 2022 opened up more doors. The city’s music scene offered a range of opportunities to delve deeper into concert photography, especially with my involvement in the Metal Junkbox Podcast and Website. I’ve also upgraded my kit to a Full Frame Sony A7III camera and better lenses.
The initial concerts were a bit of a struggle, particularly getting the right passes and adjusting to new equipment. One of the most frequent issues was how to deal with Banding with LED lights and the Electronic Shutter. Over time, solving these issues became part of the learning curve, slowly improving my craft and starting to get pictures I could be proud of.
And now in 2023, things somehow got even more serious, as I have shot around 40 different bands (the number is still growing), and met a bunch of great people, from great photographers (Luca Viola, Charles Lake, Eva Bakker, Tifanny Sandercock, Anna (Nocturna Photography), Nick Davarias, and quite a lot more that can’t fit here for now), to band members from Lake Malice, The Hu, Reigicide, Russkaja, Ben Caplan, Gangstagrass, Blatoidea and many many more. It also opened my taste for new music discoveries, such as Paris Paloma, Malevolence (I know, I should’ve known them before), The Skints, and Yur Mum.
Upgrading to a Sony A7RV and acquiring a variety of lenses was a necessary step to enhance the quality of my photos. Below is my current kit:
- Sony A7RV
- Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 (most of the photos are taken with this one)
- Tamron 17-28 f/2.8 (my favourite wide at the moment)
- TTARTISAN 25mm T2 C 1.33X (APS-C) for some anamorphic wider shots
- GoPro Hero 9
- GoPro Max 360
The Hu Rumble of Thunder Deluxe Edition and International award honorable mention
With all that was going on, when The Hu expressed interest in using my photos, it was a rewarding moment. It was a nice nod to the effort and time invested in concert photography, showing that I was taking clear steps forward.
They contacted me regarding the pictures I took at their concert at the Roundhouse and wanted to license them for their Rumble of Thunder special edition CD and Vynil. They ended up using quite a significant amount of my photos on the album leaflet.
For me, this was an absolute pleasure, as I’ve been following the band since around 2018 when they started gaining popularity around the world, mixing rock music with traditional Mongol instruments, They are one of the most unique bands nowadays and they deserve so much the success they’re achieving.
This is one of the bands that I’ll definitely try to shoot every time they are around here, their music and visuals are just great!
Close to the end of the year, I decided to take part in a worldwide photography award, the IPA (International Photography Awards) with absolutely no hopes I’d even come close to achieving anything, but I wanted to see how the experience would go. I’ve sent a couple of my concert pictures, from Heilung, The Hu, Sepultura and Faun.
Surprisingly enough, I got an email saying I was selected for their shortlist, which for me was already a massive achievement, as I’ve never taken part in any contest like this. There were thousands of great submissions for sure. But that was not the end of it for me, as expected I was not on the winners list, but I got a second email mentioning that I was selected as an Honorable Mention. This felt insane, as it meant I came very close to the winners list. The picture selected was from the Heilung concert at the beginning of the year, as you can see below.
Conclusion and 2024 hopes
Looking back, each concert shot was a learning experience, and each interaction with the bands and photographers was a step towards improvement. As 2024 approaches, I look forward to capturing more bands on my list and continuing to improve.
I’ve drafted this article over the year, documenting the highs and lows of my journey with concert photography, which has brought a lot of joy and learning along the way, and I want to highlight that doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, don’t abandon what inspires your passion. Don’t give up on it and keep putting in the effort always to become better. Try looking back at where you started and where you are now, and how can you move to the next step, this will definitely help you in almost any kind of profession.
I am very thankful for the support of everyone around me, and I will continue doing this for my own enjoyment. I tend to choose to shoot only bands that I really like so that I can try to capture how I feel about their concerts and give more attention to the details.
Photography isn’t and probably won’t be my main profession for a long time (I’m also a Product Manager in the tech industry), so I will always choose to enjoy the most of it while I can, enjoying the music, meeting people that have similar tastes and trying to improve this craft as much as I can.
Most of it came by self-learning, but I also got to thank a lot Todd Owyoung, and his website Ishootshows which was one of the resources I used the most when starting out, and I am still an active member of their Discord servers now discussing and trying to help a bit more on the community.
As 2024 approaches, I look forward to capturing more bands on my list, continuing my journey and hopefully shooting some of my bucket list artists such as Jinjer, Spiritbox, Clutch, Slipknot and Gojira. Of course, there will be more bands that I really want to shoot, but those I’ve been following for so long and are always on my top listened every year.
Below is one of my favourite photos taken from the crowd at Electric Brixton of Zeal and Ardor.