My apologies for leaving you hanging last week! But alas, there was work to be done which I can now explain to you! Last week was a big freestyle/dance fest held at Jones Beach called Beatstock. Like most photography jobs, I was hired as a freelance photographer for one of the performing acts. He hired me to photograph his set as well as new promo shots for his use. For events such as thing, you typically go by a day rate, which the musician/act/group and photographer should negotiate beforehand.
When a photographer comes on set with a act, whether it is for the act or from their publishing company, in most instances, a press pass or a photo pass will need to be obtained. This will grant you full access around the venue to get photos from all angles, backstage, the crowd, in front of the barricade, basically wherever (within reasons). On smaller scale shows, this may not be necessary. Just make sure that the venue is cool with photography.
There is always room for errors and problems. When the artist and I went to check in at Beatstock, there were no extra passes. Very frustrating but nothing out of the ordinary. The artist went inside to talk with the music fest’s bookers and producers to resolve the problem and was able to obtain another pass and off we went.
Once inside, we went up to the green room and picked out the clothes he was going to wear on stage and then later on for the promo shoot.
The performance was great and being able to roam around on such a big stage was probably as exciting as it would be to any musician.
After the set came the hard part. Mixing business with pleasure: Trying to get the second photo shoot done while still mingling and shaking hands backstage. Artist, producers, radio execs, galore. The biggest problem was trying to find a suitable background where others wouldn’t be in the way. It was a bit difficult at first but we managed to find spots behind the the amphitheater in the security boat shack, one of the freight elevators and there was still time to take shots with other celebrities.
It was such a good experience for both parties. I was able to make more contacts, which is a huge part it furthering your career within the business and hear behind the scene stories. And the artist was able to glorify himself, walking around saying “his photographer.” He called me a few days after saying next to his set that was the one thing people kept talking to him about.