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Behind the scenes with Jeanie Gillespie

Updated: May 8, 2021

"Once I found a passion for music photography, I was determined to find any way I could to continue to do it.”

Getting Started

But if fate doesn’t put you in the music photographer starting position, there are “100 different paths to the same goal,” Jeanie says; she suggests going to “local shows—bars or small venues; there are free rock nights, free indie nights. Most bars and small venues don’t have restrictions on cameras, although you should call first to make sure.” At the same time, you can ask about the club's layout or venue to help prepare for the shoot. She also suggests scouring the internet to find local bands that need good content. This is a good way to “dip your toes in the industry to see if it’s what you want to do.”

From there, developing relationships and networking is key. Although she didn’t realize it at the time, I loved the natural feel of networking. “I really wanted to start travelling with artists, but I didn’t know how to make that happen, but I just kept meeting and talking to people and staying in touch with email. It’s one way that Jeanie cemented her relationship with the musicians she started shooting, listening and realising a common world emphasizes networking with people in the industry, and both photographers stress that it’s important to develop relationships with more than just the artists. Managers, crew, security, and others who are part of a band or musician’s team are essential to a career path in music photography.

As you can imagine, there’s no short cut and Jeanie reminds us that one has to pay one’s dues in the music industry. “A lot of people think they can jump in and photograph Top Artist, but you have to pay your dues.” You’ll need a press pass to shoot larger bands, and they can be difficult to come by without a solid relationship with the band or an assignment from a publication.

Don’t overlook smaller bands which may be up and coming, she cautions. One of the first bands she photographed ended up signing a contract with Universal, so you never know where things will lead. And, one of Jeanie’s regular clients is a DJ. She’s been invited to travel, so that’s another possibility.

After you’ve identified local talent and the venues they perform in, Jeanie recommends watching online videos of the band’s past performances. You will become familiar with the band’s music and allow you to watch their movements and how they interact with each other and the audience. Of course, Jeanie points out; concerts are unpredictable. “Artists I’ve shot 20 times might change it up for another concert, but at least you’ll get a general idea of how they perform. Just be aware that it might not be exactly that way.”

Also, study the lighting. “If they have their own lights, then the light will be consistent across venues,” she adds. Then you better know what to expect when you shoot.

you are going to love it x

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