Amateur music photographers… what are you doing… stop.

I shot probably my last gig for a long time at the start of the month and it was a horrible experience. It was a battle of the bands event, all the bands in the battle were enjoyable and entertaining to shoot (although the entertainment factor of the music is arguable…). The headlining band, however, was a horrible experience. It was an underage band, and they had all their friends there taking photos of them. You know, all these wannabe photographer hipsters that are flooding the industry?  Well, due to the headlining band being an underage band the security were very lenient, they didn’t care about what happened just as long as no one died on their shift.
I sat in the pit waiting for the band to come on, very relaxed and ready to enjoy an uninterrupted hour of shooting. When suddenly, the band comes out, with two photographers on stage. They’re a young band, and they’re obsessed with having coverage of their gigs. (We’re also from a generation of people where every second person is a photographer, and 95% of those photographers are just in it for the popularity.) Then for the whole show I had to deal with two morons bouncing around the stage as if they were band members, the two photographers were more interested in entertaining the crowd, getting attention, and having fun, than they were in taking pictures (which is what I consider the most fun you can have at a gig…).

Here’s what I mean (I know the images themselves are poor, I just wanted to show what the photographers were like):

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In all honesty, if I had bought a ticket to see that band play live and ended up having those two numbskulls doing that on stage I’d be pissed. It’s not like it’s a big venue/stage either, this is one of my photos of what the venue looks like:

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I would excuse their behaviour if they had some amazing shots, they’d still be pricks but I wouldn’t be angry about it. Yet, I saw their photos, and I know how they work, and… I’m not excusing their behaviour. Two people who shoot in full auto, only for the reason of being cool because they’re hipster photographers don’t have any right to stand in the way of real photographers or fans at a gig. It was a pain to work around them, as I don’t want them to be seen in any of my shots I ended up with very few keepers which is unfortunate. I wouldn’t pick a single shot from their set to go into my portfolio, I am very disappointed with how it ended up going. It was going so bad I had to move out of the pit and up to the balcony after a while as I just couldn’t take it anymore. These are two of the only decent shots I got:

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If you are one of these kinds of photographers, please, please, obey the unwritten rules of photography: don’t block another photographer’s shot. It’s called a “photo pit” for a reason, use it.

It feels good to rant about things sometimes.

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Published by

Stuart Comerford

Award-winning photographer. Writer/Director of the feature film "The Kids Aren't Alright".

5 thoughts on “Amateur music photographers… what are you doing… stop.”

  1. i always try to be nice to other photographers, on Saturday I was at a agricultural sale with two others photographs and none of us got in each others way, you have to give and take/respect each other and remember someone has paid to come and see that whatever ! Maybe the others could not get close enough judging by where thery stood ! Evidently could not afford a telephoto lens …

    1. I’m all for working around other photographers, never would I dare block another person’s shot or obstruct the view of a paying customer. There’s a code of behaviour for photographers, one that should come naturally, and breaking that is the one thing about photography that bugs me. It gets to me when people are in photography for the “cool” factor as opposed to the enjoyment of creating images.

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