Photographing a Gig | My Experience

12th April 2019

Barns Courtney – O2 Academy Newcastle

I’m one of those people that is constantly changing their mind about what it is they actually want ‘to do’ with their lives. Should I be a designer, or how about a book publisher, oh no wait I definitely want to own my shop, that’s it! I chop and change like the tide goes in and out each day. But there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to try my hand at, and that’s gig photography.

Like most bloggers, I started a blog because I enjoy taking photos, as much as the writing aspect. I work in Content Marketing so I’m used to turning my hands toward a camera and using it for filming, and the occasional photo. This year my boyfriend invested in a fairly alright DSLR so that I could get some more practice in that wasn’t linked to my iPhone. So the obvious next step for a complete music obsessive like myself was gig photography.

I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d be any good at, or even enjoy that much. But like I say I’m music obsessed, so the idea of going to a gig and taking some photos seemed like it could be fun – and oh boy was it!

Retro Video Club – O2 Academy, Newcastle

But first let me be honest here. I was terrified. To the point that I almost broke down in tears and vomited on myself in the car on the way there – don’t worry I held it together and there was no tears spilled or dinners brought back up. I like to think I’ve got my anxiety fairly under control, it doesn’t stop me doing my favourite day to day things, but when it comes to something out of my comfort zone, oh wow does it kick me in the stomach hard. So the thought of going to a gig, alone may I add, which I’d never done before, and taking some photos with my average canon camera – well that put the fear of god into me.

And sure, I didn’t have the best camera out of the rest of the photographers there. And yes, I didn’t realise there was a 3 song rule and then you’re out (yeah you gotta move out the way after the first three songs). But you know what, I did it. I managed to tick a thing off a theoretical bucket list and put myself in a completely uncomfortable setting. The end result? Well sure it’s not going to be on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone, but it’s something I’m really proud of. It’s given me something to strive towards and also an opportunity to try out some new editing on Lightroom. I want to push myself and find new ways of being creative. Here’s hoping I can continue building on this throughout the year, and who knows maybe I’ll get a better camera once I know my stuff a bit more.

So if you’re thinking you want to do something similar, or you just want to try that thing that scares you, then hey, every once in a while it does pay off. It’s hard to push through the anxieties and the fear, especially when you’re doing it alone, but if you can make those baby steps towards where you want to be – you’ll never feel more proud of yourself. So here’s to you Popped Music for giving me the excuse to say a big fuck you to my fears, and put my passion into practice. Sure, I’ve got some work to do, but in that one evening I learned so much and I found an ambition that I didn’t know I had.

If you’ve got any tips for a complete novice like myself then please share them! I use a Canon EOS 4000D with a 17-55mm lens. It’s a complete beginner’s camera, so I’d love any tips on making the most of it. And if you ever want a pal to take along and cheer you on at a gig, then give me a call!

One response to “Photographing a Gig | My Experience”

  1. Hey! I just brought this exact same camera to start taking photos at gigs. I might have a show coming up soon, which is to take photos at Aitch’s Birmingham gig. When I was playing around with the camera at home, I was having a bit of trouble with the focusing of the camera. Did you have issues like this at the show? And do you have any tips for me from before I get into the pit to taking the photos?! Thanks!!

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