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  • Jeff Palicki

How To Become a Concert Photographer

Updated: Jan 21


How to be a Concert Photographer by Jeff Palicki Photography
Photos and Graphic by Concert Photographer Jeff Palicki

Becoming a concert photographer can be a rewarding and exciting career path, but it requires a combination of technical skill, artistic vision, and business savvy. Here are some steps you can take to become a concert photographer:


Develop your photography skills

As with any career in photography, it's important to have a strong foundation in the technical aspects of the craft. This includes understanding how to use your camera, compose shots, and edit your photos. You can develop these skills through a combination of education (such as taking a photography class or earning a degree in photography) and practice (by taking photos on your own and getting feedback from other photographers).


One of the biggest challenges of concert photography is mastering the low light settings. Lucky for you, I've worked out the kinks and wrote this article about how to setup your camera for low light photography conditions.


Concert photography portfolio

A strong portfolio is essential for any concert photographer, as it will be the main way that you showcase your work to potential clients. To build your portfolio, start by taking photos at local concerts and events. You can also seek out opportunities to photograph more established artists by volunteering to photograph concerts for smaller music venues or festivals.


Bad Religion Photographer | Jeff Palicki Concert Photography | Pittsburgh, PA 2021
Jeff Palicki Concert Photography | Pittsburgh, PA 2021 | Brian Baker of Bad Religion

Network with music industry professionals

Building relationships with other photographers, concert promoters, and music industry professionals can be a valuable way to learn about job opportunities and get your foot in the door. Attend concerts and events, and make an effort to meet people in the industry. You can also join photography organizations or online groups to connect with other photographers and learn about opportunities.


Understand the business side of concert photography

In addition to having technical and creative skills, it's important to understand the business side of concert photography. This includes things like how to negotiate rates and contracts, how to market yourself and your work, and how to manage your finances.


Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears | Jeff Palicki Concert Photography | Pittsburgh Concert Photographer
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears | Jeff Palicki Concert Photography | Pittsburgh, PA 2021

Shooting a concert - get experienced

As with any career, gaining experience is crucial for becoming a successful concert photographer. Start by taking on as many paid and unpaid gigs as you can, and be open to working with a variety of different artists and venues. This will help you build your portfolio and gain valuable experience working in a variety of different settings.


Music photography specialization

While it's important to have a broad range of skills as a concert photographer, it can be helpful to specialize in a particular niche or style. This could be a particular genre of music, a specific type of event (such as festivals or intimate shows), or a particular aesthetic. Specializing can help you to stand out in a competitive field and make you more attractive to potential clients.


Stay up to date on music and photography

The music industry is constantly changing, and it's important to stay current on trends and developments. This includes keeping up with new technologies and techniques in concert photography, as well as staying informed about the latest artists and events.


Becoming a Concert Photographer - Jeff Palicki Photography -  Pittsburgh Concert Photographer
Greg Graffin of Bad Religion | Jeff Palicki Concert Photography | Pittsburgh, PA 2021

Overall, becoming a concert photographer requires a combination of technical skill, artistic vision, and business savvy. By developing your skills, building your portfolio, networking with industry professionals, and gaining experience, you can increase your chances of success in this exciting and rewarding field.


Find more interesting photography related blogs by Jeff Palicki Photography and be sure to go check out some of Jeff Palicki's concert photography!


Discover the best Canon lenses for sports photography here!


Concert Photographer jobs

How you can find concert photography jobs near you?


Networking with industry professionals

Attend concerts, music festivals, and other events and make connections with musicians, music industry professionals, and event organizers. They may be able to recommend you for concert photography jobs or refer you to other opportunities.


Join photography industry groups

Join local or national photography industry groups and associations, such as the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) or the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). These groups often have job boards or other resources that can help you find concert photography jobs.


Concert Photographer photograph of a drummer at a concert near you
Jeff Palicki Photography 2021 | Pittsburgh Concert Photography

Search online job boards for concert photography jobs

Many job boards, such as Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, have listings for concert photography jobs. You can use these websites to search for opportunities in your area or in a specific location.


Contact concert venues and event companies

Reach out to concert venues, event companies, and other organizations that host concerts and ask about opportunities for concert photography. You can also check their websites and social media pages to see if they have any open positions or are looking for freelance photographers.


Promote your photography portfolio

Create a portfolio of your concert photography and share it on social media, your website, and other platforms. This can help you showcase your skills and attract potential clients or employers. You can also consider reaching out to music publications, blogs, and other outlets to pitch your work and see if they are interested in featuring your photographs.


Discover the best Nikon lenses for sports photography here!


Concert Photographer Salary

Being a concert photographer can be a dream job for those who love music and photography. Not only do you get to attend live music events and capture the energy and excitement of the performance, but you also get paid for it. But what exactly is the salary for a concert photographer?


The salary for a concert photographer can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including experience, location, and the type of events they shoot. Entry-level concert photographers may earn anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000 per year, while more experienced photographers can earn upwards of $50,000 or more.


One of the biggest factors that can affect a concert photographer's salary is experience. As with any profession, the more experience you have, the more you can expect to earn. Entry-level concert photographers may be just starting out and may not have a lot of experience, while more experienced photographers may have a portfolio of work and a proven track record.


Another important factor that can affect a concert photographer's salary is location. Photographers who live and work in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, or London may earn more than those who live in smaller towns or rural areas. This is because there are more opportunities for concert photography in bigger cities, and photographers in these areas may also have access to more high-paying gigs.


The type of events that a concert photographer shoots can also affect their salary. For example, a concert photographer who specializes in shooting festivals may earn more than one who primarily shoots small club shows. This is because festivals often have larger budgets and can afford to pay photographers more.


In addition to a salary, concert photographers may also earn money through the sale of their photos. Many concert photographers sell their photos to music magazines, newspapers, and websites, as well as to the bands themselves. They may also sell their photos as prints or digital downloads. This can be a great way for photographers to earn additional income and increase their overall earning potential.


In conclusion, the salary for a concert photographer can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including experience, location, and the type of events they shoot. Entry-level concert photographers may earn anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000 per year, while more experienced photographers can earn upwards of $50,000 or more. Additionally, concert photographers can earn additional income through the sale of their photos which can increase their overall earning potential. If you're considering a career as a concert photographer, it's important to keep these factors in mind and to continue to build your skills and portfolio.




Finally, and I use this phrase sparingly, ROCK ON!


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