My First Time as an Official Concert Photographer

I had never been so nervous to go to a concert.

Last week, when I covered the Troye Sivan show, I was very confused about this whole concert photography thing. How does it even work?

My first attempt at this was during the Haim concert. The Southside Ballroom staff was super nice and gave me a photo pass, though I had no idea how to use one.

At the Box Office, once I gave them my name and publication I was there for, they gave me this nice canvas-like sticker with the Haim girls printed on it. It said “Photo” on it. They said it was my photo pass and pointed to a security guard that would show me where to go.

The only thing? I didn’t have a freakin. Camera.

The venue coordinators were very confused with me. “Did you bring your camera?”

I held up my phone like the dork that I am. “I thought I would take photos on my iPhone?”

Again, I had no idea how this worked. Clearly.

Long story short, they told me I’d probably get better iPhone photos if I just tried to get as close to the stage as possible. I ended up not using my photo pass (as it now decorates my waiter bottle), and just asked my friend for the photos she took with her phone.

When I covered Troye, I thought I could just hop on the photojournalism train for fun. The Observer had hired a photographer to shoot for my article (shoutout to my boy Mike), but I thought I could just join anyways for experience. Wrong. I found myself looking like a dufus at the media table, surrounded by 8 professional photographers who knew that they were doing, ready to go with multiple giant cameras around their necks.

So, at NEEDTOBREATHE, I got my shot at redemption.

I got handed a photo pass at the box office of Toyota Music Factory.

After explaining to the people at the metal detectors why I was bringing in a big black bag with camera equipment, I was in.

I waited at the media table tucked at the corner of the venue, getting my camera settings ready and the zoom lens on.

At 9pm, the event coordinator came to grab me and the other photographer at the table to bring us to the pit.

Toyota Music Factory hold 4,000 people in the pavilion. Not only was this a sold-out show, but they opened the back of the pavilion to a lawn that holds another 4,000.

The other photographer and I were led into the pit, about a 5-foot gap between the railing that held back the mosh pit and the stage. It was just us and the bodyguards allowed in this section.

I adjusted my camera settings, and soon enough the band came onstage.

The other photographer put in earplugs.

Why didn’t I think of earplugs?

I couldn’t hear anything for the next couple hours, but it was worth it.

8,000 people and I got the best view.

This was one of the most nerve-racking jobs I’ve ever had. I only got to shoot for the first 3 songs, that’s it. It was sheer luck that I went away with clear photos.

I was so scared everything I shot was blurry. Granted, 80% of what I shot was horrible and either too light or dark, but I was so excited with what I came away with.

I got back home close to midnight, and couldn’t sleep until I edited all my photos.

Here they are!

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