There are many perks that comes with shooting concert photography but it can be difficult to get a photo pass for concerts without being a seasoned photographer.
Over the last 2 years I’ve been lucky enough to score a photo pass to some really awesome shows such as Alt J, Louis The Child, Saba, Yaeji, Leon Bridges and FOMO festival. Feel free to check out my portfolio here!
I’m by no means a seasoned concert photographer but have still been able to get my name on the list and you can too!
Here are all the things I’ve done to get a photo pass for concerts.
1. Create an online portfolio
It’s hard to sell yourself to strangers if you have no work to show, so it’s a must to have a portfolio of your work online. The best way to start building your portfolio is to take photos at local festivals and events before you start reaching out to shoot music artists’ concerts.
When it comes to actually creating your online portfolio, don’t be intimidated if you’re not knowledgeable about web design. There are tons of templates out there that do all the work for you and all you have to do is add your images.
You’ll definitely want to showcase your best images so it’s better to have quality over quantity.
2. Use a spreadsheet for upcoming shows
Before you start sending out emails, make things easier for yourself and get organized by making a spreadsheet of upcoming shows, events and festivals that you want to shoot.
Most shows are announced months in advance so your spreadsheet should be long with shows 2+ months into the future. It’s also important to continuously update your spreadsheet every 2 weeks or so because new shows are always being announced. To stay up to date, you can follow promoters’ Instagrams or sign up for their email newsletters.
The headings that I use on my spreadsheet include artist name, date, location, and contact info, but you can do whatever works for you. I love using a spreadsheet because it helps me keep everything on track with sending emails on time and not overlooking shows.
Here’s a screenshot of my spreadsheet!
3. Make an email template
The faster and easiest way to send emails about getting a photo pass for concerts is to create a template where you can interchange the date, artist/event name and venue.
A good rule of thumb is to keep it short and straight to the point. State who you are, what you want, how it will benefit them, and a link to examples of your work.
4. Reach out to show promoters
Every concert, show, or event has a promoter and they are the ones you want to email in order to get a photo pass for concerts, not the venue.
Each city has a bunch of different promotion companies that bring different artists to various venues in the area so to stay on track it’s important to do the dirty work from the 2nd bullet point.
Most artists have their booking team or manager’s email on their website, so you can also try reaching out to them. They most likely get a ton of emails, so you’ll probably have better luck by emailing the promoters first.
5. Email weeks in advance
People are busy and sometimes photo passes need approval from the artists which can take a few weeks, so it’s best to increase your chances of securing a photo pass by sending your emails early. Personally, I like to send emails for shows 2 weeks to 1 month in advance depending on the popularity of the artist.
Most of the time you will get response whether it be a yes or no and if you get a no it’s most likely because they already have photographers shooting the show or only allow photographers that are shooting for accredited media outlets.
6. Shoot for a media outlet
A quick and sure fire way to get a photo pass for almost any show, event, or festival is to shoot for a media outlet.
Shooting for a media outlet means going to a show or event on behalf of the media outlet and capturing content for them to use and give publicity to the show or event.
If you live in a big city, there are a ton of different media outlets in your area that you can potentially shoot for. It doesn’t hurt to email a bunch of them and see if they will let you shoot freelance for them.
What shows or events are you trying to get a photo pass to this year? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create, and grow!