The most important piece of advice I can give to any aspiring band photographer is one simple word: Flickr! Out of everything I’ve done to advertise myself, Flickr has been far and away the best bang for the buck. I’ve gotten more exposure and more paying gigs through Flickr than from anything else. Properly tagged, with good descriptions and titles your photos can be searched and found by millions of people and the investment of time is minimal if you have a good workflow set out.
Case and point; I got an email last week from the band Skull Fist asking if I’d come shoot their show. I thought maybe I’d seen them play before, or talked to them at a previous show, but it turns out they found me through Flickr. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but as my Flickr portfolio has grown, it’s becoming more and more frequent.
As for the show itself, I haven’t had that much fun shooting a band in a long time. If you keep up with this blog you’ll know the one biggest complaint I have about live music is that many bands don’t pay much attention to performance aspect of the show. Live music should be larger than life, I’m not saying every band should go completely KISS and show up in spikes and make-up, but you should at least look like you didn’t just roll in from your day job. And move around a bit on stage, too many bands perform on stage like they’re
laying down a track in the studio. You might sound great, but sound is only one part of why people go see live bands. Well Skull Fist did not disappoint.
You may not like metal, but you have to give credit to any band that really turns it up to 11 to put on a memorable show. I`m going to make a point of shooting more metal shows in the future; my shots are only ever going to be as good as the band I`m shooting… lighting, gear, technique… these things are important, but they only let you reach the full potential of your subject. If your subject is boring, the best you can hope for is technically capable, but boring pictures. Well Skull Fist made me look good. They look the part, they act the part; Valhalla or bust… they`re here to rock.
I also have to give props to the crowd at Mavericks. A lot of my time shooting a show is spent looking over my shoulder for the inevitable flying beer… or body. I have a hard enough time avoiding the jostle at an upbeat alternative show, being a full line up of metal I was expecting WWIII on the dance floor. And while the mosh pit deserved it`s name, everyone was very conscious about giving me my space, in fact the crowd even came to my defense when the sole drunk that wasn`t with the program started getting physical with me.
So my thanks go out to the crowd at Mavericks… you let me get on with my business and good times where had by all. Skull Fist are currently touring eastern Canada followed by a tour out west then off to Europe, so check them out while they`re still on this side of the pond if you have a chance. Even if you`re not generally one to go to a metal show, trust me you will be entertained. You can see the rest of my shots of Skull Fist on Flickr, as well as shots from the other amazing bands in the line up: Aggressor, Black Moor and RottawaY.