Research Reflection: Beth Newman on Tour Photography for Musicians

Recently each Artswork Media team member was tasked with researching jobs in a field they are passionate about. This resulted in a diverse range of job roles brought to the table demonstrating just how many possible avenues there are within the Creative Media industries.

Beth Newman is an aspiring tour photographer, currently photographing local bands and club events at smaller venues in hopes to expand her portfolio and break into the industry by getting her name out there. Having carried out this research, Beth has given an insight into just what she’s taken away from this task.

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What Is a Tour Photographer?

A band's tour photographer is someone who travels with them to capture their life on tour, on and off of the stage. As well as shooting live concerts, a tour photographer will also shoot the band's promotional photos and portraits for use by media outlets or the band themselves.

What Inspired You to Research into This Field? - Is There Any Experience You've Had or Any People in This Role That Have Inspired You?

I decided to research into this field, because I want to be a tour photographer. I currently do a lot music photography in small venues, but after listening to a talk at the Photo Show 2016 by Conor McDonnell I was inspired to take my passion forward and to turn it into a career. Until that talk I didn’t think it was possible to make a career out of band photography, I thought it would always be more of a ‘hobby’.

What industry experts did you contact?

During my research I spoke to a few different people in the industry, so I could get a broad range of information and experiences.

One of the first people I interviewed was Josh Partridge, who is a videographer for different bands such as New Found Glory and Don Broco. Although he wasn’t a photographer, some of his experiences in this industry were similar to that of a tour photographer.

Josh was full of really helpful advice, and told me the key thing is to make sure I have my own style and to stick with it. He said he sees a lot of great photographers but their photos all have the same grade or preset so no one really stands out, and you need to stand out for a band to notice you.

I also spoke to Lucy Kingsford, a concert photographer based in the UK who’s photographed the likes of The 1975 and You Me at Six. She told me that one of the biggest problems with getting a photo pass is not having a magazine that you're shooting for, and to over come this she actually started up her own blog, offering to write reviews in return for a photo pass.             

The most inspiring thing for me throughout this research wasn’t something one particular person said to me, but instead it was how these people got to where they are today through hard work and determination.

Hearing their stories definitely gives me the motivation to keep pushing forward with my goals to become a tour photographer.

Carrying out your research, what did you find out that surprised you the most?

While I was interviewing Josh Partridge, something that surprised me was when he told me to prepare for rejection and that it will still happen even when you’ve established your name in your field of work.  As surprising as I found this, I also found it encouraging to know that even big photographers, that work with bands I could only dream of working with still have to face the same kind of rejection that I face.

How has your research into this field influenced your plan of action, and inspired you further to get into the industry? - Do you have anything lined up?

At the moment I’m focusing on getting my portfolio up together and on my very own website here which is currently under construction. I’m following the advice of my industry peers by getting my name out there on social media and concentrating on smaller venues.