Friday, 29 February 2008

After being asked a few times & recently receiving the question below, I thought I might try and clear a few things out when it comes to taking photos at events.

'how do you go about bringing your camera in to the mosh pit though?? xx lis'

First up, something is wrong with my comments, they aren't showing any email addresses which are filled out, only I am sorry that I can't respond to you directly, hopefully you come back and stumble across this post.

The gig photography business is not something you can overnight decide to do, unfortunately for large scale events/festivals you need accreditation from the artist, their management, the promoter & sometimes the venue. In order to achieve this you need to be representing a legitimate media organisation - being either a magazine, newspaper, webzine or agency.

Before you make it to this level you obviously will require a decent camera, no one wants to look at fuzzy/blurry images that can be achieved on a mobile phone - the best entry level DSLR setup you can buy in my opinion is the Canon 350D (RebelXT for you overseas viewers) with the Canon 50mm f1.8 MKII lens. Though now days you might have to purchase the upgraded model which is the Canon 400D as the 350D is pretty much fazed out.

This is the setup I used when starting out, one which can achieve amazing results when in the right environment. If you look at my portfolio, at least 50-60% of the shots you look at is with this setup.

The 50mm f1.8 is a sharp and fast lens that can be used in any situation - from your large scale arenas down to the low light pub setup down at your local venue. It's a lens which is kept as back-up by many professionals should the lighting ever be a problem & it comes with a great price tag of only $100-$115 in the shops. 

OK, so you have your camera setup now, how do you go about shooting bands?

Myspace can be a powerful tool - I've arranged many club shoots by just contacting the band directly, of course you cannot start charging $$$ right away - without a solid portfolio you won't receive any positive answers...starting off you will be doing a lot of favours - look in your local street press/venue website for upcoming shows & offer your services to the bands in exchange for free entry.

Try shoot as much as possible to become familiar & comfortable with camera settings in various situations/environments - don't forget to switch up your angles to avoid shots looking the same, move around the stage every few minutes.

Some ideal club venues in Sydney to learn in: The Annandale Hotel, Gaelic Club, The Factory & Manning Bar

Once you are comfortable and taking great shots on a regular basis, join a webzine/street press i.e. FasterLouder & The Dwarf - these frequently cover club shows but also some of the large scale events. They ask for photographers to cover shows every week, so put your hand up for club shows & meet their deadlines for a number of shows before requesting to shoot one of the big name shows.

This is where you really test yourself - you have to contend with a number of other photographers in the pit trying to capture the ideal moments, so there can be a bit of tension when getting a good spot in front of stage - be sure to move around to allow the others to snap away, you don't want to get a bad name for yourself amongst the scene if you become a regular - now instead of being able to shoot the entire set, you are given restrictions which are preset by the artist & their management...this can range from the first 30 seconds of a song at the sound desk to the industry standards of 3 songs infront of stage - remember no flash is allowed to be used in any case within the large shows, BUT you should be used to average conditions now from shooting in the clubs

If you produce some great shots regularly & impress the right people, more shows will come.

After a few years & now hopefully with a decent portfolio you can start to look at shooting for a publication or photo agency to try and make back some of the cash you would definitely have spent on drinks/transport for the countless number of shows you have now covered.

Once you can afford an upgrade, do so - decent semi-pro/professional body such as the Canon 40D or 5D

Lens Range: Canon L Glass is the way to go - Canon 24-70mm f2.8 + Canon 70-200mm f2.8 seems to be the most used setup - however if you take a look at Triple J photographer Matt Booy, you can see prime lenses (such as the 50mm) can easily do the job (though you might get annoyed from interchanging lenses) Canon 20mm, 85mm & either the 135mm or 200mm will be enough for all situations

Anyway I'm sposed to be working in the office right now, so hopefully I've answered a few of your questions & pointed at least one person in the right way.

Any questions don't hesitate to email me -


Friday, 29 February 2008 06:09:20 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
 Monday, 25 February 2008

I won't go in to details, even though it was only yesterday I am sure you have heard the slander & abuse that the organisers received from all directions after the event took place yesterday.

I was lucky enough to shoot the festival for the 2nd time running on behalf of Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying & Fasterlouder - click the photo below to view some of the highlight shots or view them all here

Bands I ended up shooting: Scary Kids, Haste The Day, Plain White T's, Thursday, Bleeding Through, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Alexisonfire & As I Lay Dying.

On the note of AILD - they walked off early after their guitarist Nick copped a glass bottle to the face & was practically knocked out from the blow. Moments like these are what ruin festivals & the decision for bands to return....what is the point of standing in the crowd when a band is playing if your intentions are to hurt/injure them - I hope the inflictor gets what's coming to him/her!

- Dan.

Monday, 25 February 2008 14:51:41 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
 Friday, 15 February 2008

2008 is looking to be a good year judging from the amount of decent show in the coming months. So far my schedule is looking to be:

Sydney Soundwave Festival @ Sydney Park - Feb 26

Girlfriends 21st Weekend Bash @ Newcastle - Feb 29 - Mar 2

Wedding Shoot @ Newcastle - Mar 8

HIM @ Big Top, Luna Park - Mar 25

Celine Dion @ Acer Arena - Mar 28

Pennywise w/ Sum41 @ Big Top, Luna Park - Apr 11

Korn @ Sydney Entertainment Ctr - Apr 20

Bullet For My Valentine w/ Avenged Sevenfold & Atreyu @ Hordern Pavillion - May 7

Soilwork @ Manning Bar - May 14


Friday, 15 February 2008 06:00:38 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
 Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Sunday February 10 Quaywest Hotel in The Rocks was the venue booked in for the second Sydney Strobist meet which was organised by J - of whom fronted the costs out of his own pocket to book a conference room which was used for indoor/studio style photos.

5 models agreed to come along on a TFP basis, all of which appeared to have a fun day & had some amazing shots produced by some 30 photographers who attended, most of which brought there own Strobe lighting, Pocket Wizards, Backdrops, Reflectors, Stands & a huge amount of lenses. All in all I think there would of had to of been close to $400,000 worth of equipment.

Council approval needed be seeked, waivers drawn up & model releases to protect from commercial use. A huge amount of organisation was done before the day, however things went along quite smoothly...everyone kept to the deadlines - of which was 1hr to move between indoor/outdoor locations, setup lighting & shoot before packing up & switching to the next location/model.

I'd advise anyone that wants to learn the fundamentals of studio lighting setup to attend one of these events. While things move along quite fast, there are a number of individuals with a vast amount of experience which can help you with any questions/techniques. Everyone that I had talked to was friendly & even went as far as to lending me a pocket wizard so I could try produce some shots of my own.

I was only able to stay for a couple of hours, so while my time was limited, I think I learned a fair bit which will help me in future. I'll definitely have to try and start attending future meets as they are a great way to improve & learn new lighting techniques, create cheap but awesome Ring Flash's with cardboard or even just to socialise with those who share the same interests.

Here are a few of the shots I got from the day, head over to the Flickr Sydney Strobists Group to view other shots from the day & updates for upcoming meets.




Tuesday, 12 February 2008 11:56:35 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
 Tuesday, 05 February 2008

Once again the great music festival which is Soundwave is upon us, I just confirmed my pass through Killswitch Engage management to shoot the Sydney show on Sun Feb 24th 2008.

And what a killer lineup they have for us this year, definitely one to please hardcore fans across the nation. Acts which include the likes of: Killswitch Engage, Alexisonfire, Devine Heresy, Offspring, Incubus, As I Lay Dying, Shadows Fall, Plain White T's, From Autumn To Ashes, Thursday, Saosin, Bleeding Through & the locals Carpathian.

I covered last years show which was a terrential rain filled day of action. This years line-up blows last year out of the park however, it is basically a full days worth of top acts compared to a number of gap fillers last year, thats my opinion anyway. It is disappointing Byron rockers Parkway Drive did not join the tour again this year, choosing to hold their own regional tour with 50 Lions instead.

Unfortunately it is looking like I will not be able to take the day off work to do the mass amount of editing which will come with Soundwave, so I will try update each night with 2-3 bands worth of photos.

Anyone that is attending the Sydney show, let me know & we will try catch up for a brew during the day.

Check out some of my shots below from last years event & those of Killswitch Engage, Thursday & From Autumn To Ashes. for more info.





Tuesday, 05 February 2008 10:48:37 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
 Saturday, 02 February 2008

We decided to buy Panda a new playmate today.

Ventured in to the nearest RSPCA shelter to take in a stray, 2hours later we had to leave because it is 'procedure' to call our landlord to check that we are allowed to have pets in the unit....unfortunate but understandable, so they don't get many returns

After that disappointment we raced in to Parramatta Westfield Pets World 5minutes before closing time & picked up this little man - fullscreen views can be seen at my deviantArt gallery - we are still yet to name him, Gonzo & Top Hat have been the recent suggestions...anyone else with a possible name, comments below!

For those who don't know, we picked up Panda after losing our Zoe 3days after returning from a month in Perth...we took her in to get her de-sexed & received a phone call to say she went in to cardiac arrest immediately after the anesthetic was injected, we didn't want to have an empty house, so we took in a stray which was residing at the Vet during the time...Panda is a lil nutter kitty, always wants to play!

This was our awesome Zoe before she passed away.


Saturday, 02 February 2008 19:51:22 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
 Friday, 01 February 2008
 # is now open for business

I finally got my act together & put together a website with the help of DCurrie

For those of you that do not yet know me, I go by the name Dan...I'm a Photographer based in Sydney, Australia

I've been shooting on & off for 2 years now - tried to dab my paws in a little bit of everything...from landscapes to international music festivals

I currently shoot for FasterLouder & World Entertainment News Network

If you're ever after a photographer for any occasion - feel free to shoot me an email - - a brief set of rates are up on my 'About' page at the moment - keep in mind I am still to write a short bio about myself, if anyone I know is keen to do it for me, please do so!

People that know which would like their blog/site listed on my front page, leave your links in the comment section below.

This is my first attempt at a blog outside of the delights of myspace, so any tips/tricks are most appreciated....also any advice for traffic/tagging/advertisements are encouraged.


Flickr Strobist Meet/Model Shoot @ Quay West Hotel - Feb 10

Sydney Soundwave Festival @ Sydney Park - Feb 26 (awaiting confirmation)

Girlfriends 21st Weekend Bash @ Newcastle - Feb 29 - Mar 2

Wedding Shoot @ Newcastle - Mar 8

HIM @ Big Top, Luna Park - Mar 25

Celine Dion @ Acer Arena - Mar 28


Friday, 01 February 2008 10:09:58 (W. Australia Standard Time, UTC+08:00)