The Journey - Part 1

So I have been asked many times by many different people how I got into concert photography. You could say that my journey started many years ago. I have been involved with music since I started playing my first instrument in 3rd grade. I have tried my hand at various instruments from the violin, trumpet, sax, drums and guitar. I think that the guitar really did it for me. Lets fast forward to about 2000-2001......I was taking guitar lessons and my teach was in a band looking for a bass player. Had I ever played the bass, well no. But when they asked if I would try out, of course I said yes. So over the course of the next 6 years or so I was involved with two different bands as the bass player. 

After the second band called it quits, I decided to take a break. Things were changing in my life ie: bought a house, got married.........kind of big stuff! While not taking to the stage, music remained a very large part of my life. After exploring some new hobbies and working some various jobs over the next few years, I landed a job at a local music store. This is where the photography starts to come into play..............

My fathers hobby is photography, so I have been exposed to it for many years. The funny thing is when I was younger, I really did not take a liking to it. I did have the typical point-and-shoot camera like everyone else. So one day my wife and I started talking about taking a vacation, a big vacation. I started thinking......if we take a big vacation, I want a nice camera to get some nice photos. Well that trip never did happen, (Others took its place) but I did get the camera!

I started taking landscape photos and trying to find events in town that I could photograph. I went to some high school ball games at first. I also started doing some model photography as well. As I started to find ways to get my work noticed, I had some photos published in a local calendar and used by a local town for their web site. I also had some work published by the Harvard Museum of Natural History at Harvard University. 

At this time, one of the bands I had played in was getting back together (not with me) and asked me to take some photos for them. So I took some studio shots for some promo stuff as well as some live photos. So now I have the bug, the concert photography bug that is! 

So how did I go from photographing my old band to working with some of the biggest name in the industry..................

That is what part 2 will be for.

The Journey - Part 2

So how did I go from photographing my old band to working with some of the biggest name in the industry.................

So my full time job is working at a local music store. One thing that we do at the store from time to time is host clinics with touring musicians. One day we got a call from Jim Riley, drummer for Rascal Flatts. They were going to be playing at the arena in town and Jim wanted to set up a drum clinic at the store the afternoon of the show. I talked to Jim and told him that I was a photographer and asked if it would be ok to take some photos during the clinic, he said that would be great. This would be my first taste of working with a big name.

Now it starts to get interesting............

While in nursing school, my wife was talking with one of her professors, and come to find out her husband was a bass player. So being a bass player myself, the two of them started talking. Soon we would all meet and things would really start to take shape.

I would meet Mark Damon, bass player for the band The Pretty Reckless. While on an off day on the road, Mark would make a stop at the music store to check it out. We talked for some time about gear and all and then started talking about clinics. He told me about another drummer that does drum clinics as well, Rich Redmond, drummer for Jason Aldean. Mark told me that I should reach out to Rich, so I went online and did just that.

Not long after, I got a reply from Rich............Jason Aldean was coming to the arena in town and Rich would love to have a clinic at the store! So we exchanged contact info and worked at setting up all the details for the clinic. As Rich and I were talking, I mentioned that I was a photographer and would like to photograph the clinic as I did with Jim Riley. Well this was not a problem, then Rich went one step even bigger......He was able to hook me up with a photo pass for the show that night at the arena. 

Ok, now the nerves start to set in. Mind you, I had never photographed a live concert in an arena, and my first was Jason Aldean. Pretty cool. Not having any formal training in concert photography, I had to figure things out real quick and for myself. There was that adrenaline rush while in the pit but a sense of ease at the same time. It felt natural and I felt at home behind the lens. Well I guess I did something right because I got some really good images! Now I had the bug, the concert photography bug that is. 

Yes......there will be a part 3!!!!

The Journey - Part 3

.........Welcome to the third part of my journey. It had been some time since part two, and I apologize about that. N&D Images ended up having a wild summer of concert shoots (more about that to come). 

So now with my first major concert shoot under my belt, I had to plan my next move..........Networking! How do I gain exposure? How do I get myself and my work to as many people as I can? I need to network. Well this was not an issue. I continued to stay in contact with the musicians that I had been meeting and starting to work with and they would introduce me to others who would introduce me to other...........and so on. It was just a huge snowball effect. 

Now that I had begun to meet other musicians and artists, they would have me come out and photograph their shows when they came to New England. Each show that I did, I would meet another artist, tour manager, roadie........etc. I have had the chance to meet and work with some of the nicest people you could ever meet. I have so many people to thank for getting me to where I am today.

By networking, I met an artist by the name of JT Hodges. At the time he was on the road with Toby Keith and Eric Church. I would keep in touch with JT and his management and within the first two years of shooting concerts, ShowDog Universal Records would purchase one of my images of JT for his upcoming debut album. The record label had not told me where they would be using the image in the album. So it was much to my surprise the day the album came out and I opened it................My image was the centerfold photo!!!!! 

Since then, I have worked with many local and national acts and have had my work used by companies such as GHS Strings, Organic Custom Drums and Legacy Percussion Gear. I also did a photo shoot for Fender Guitars and for the summer of 2013, I became a house photographer at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook in Gilford New Hampshire.

A Look Back at 2103

Well what can I say about 2013................It was a pretty cool year for N&D Images. From my first gallery show, to getting a gig as a house photographer for one of the best venues out there, there were many new opportunities in 2013 and it looks to be even more in 2014.

        As for my gallery show.......if you have not put together a show of your images or art work, trust me, it is not easy. It is a massive under taking. I think I spent almost 4 months getting ready for the show which was only one night. First trying to pick out your best 20-30 images........yeah, ok, not the easiest thing in the world when you have to come through thousands of images. Then once you choose them, then they need to be formatted and made ready for printing.

       Trying to decide on where I wanted to get my prints was just taking too much time. I kept thinking what if they all come back and I don't like the way they came out, then what? So I decided to jump in feet first and purchase my own photo printer. I feel that this was a great move on my part. I now have total control from start to finish over the entire process..........and yet another challenge, learning to print your own photographs.

       So I have now printed all of the images I want to put in the show. Now I have to find frames and mats for them all. This is a very tedious process because you want them to look perfect. Make sure there are no marks on the glass, specks on the mats and be sure everything fits together like a glove.

       Well the show was a great success! Live music, food, drinks and concert photography! It was great to share wall space with two other great photographer friends of mine. I would like to thank them for all their support and the support of everyone else that helped make that night possible.

       Now it was time to get ready for my new gig.......House Photographer at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook. I was not expecting to get a gig like this so early on in my career. What an amazing gig it was. I got to work with a great crew at probably the coolest venue around. I had the privilege of photographing acts such as Willie Nelson, The Black Crowes, Bad Co. and the Zac Brown Band, just to name a few. I am looking forward and hope to be back at the venue for the 2014 concert season.

       Other events that helped shape 2013 included a radio interview, getting my first album cover, and having one of my images hung in the Gibson Lounge at the Nashville Airport. To close out the year, I have partnered with another photographer friend of mine as an editor, contributor and photographer. So all in all, 2013 was a pretty well rounded year for N&D Images. I am looking forward to what 2014 will bring and already have a few things in the works. Lets start the new year off on the right foot!