Ben Folds Five in Charleston, SC

I love shooting live performances for my own personal enjoyment. I love music, and I love watching musicians perform. I also love photography. Why wouldn’t I want to marry the two passions? Years ago, people thought that taking professional photos at a concert was a bad thing because you might do something detrimental to the artist’s bottom line with them. I guess there was a market for nice photos of Jimmy Page on the black market. Who knows? But today you can watch a concert minutes after it happens on YouTube because everyone in attendance is Martin Scorsese with their cell phones.

There is so much punk rock in this photo it hurts... Oh, and your belt's upside down Mr. Pop.   #riotfest #toronto #iggyandthestooges #iggypop #mikewatt #theminutemen #rawpower #punkrock #rocknroll #legends #music

Most venues won’t even bother mentioning anything about a shitty camera, but if you have a nice camera with you then you must be a bootlegging son-of-a-bitch and not someone who enjoys the art of photography. I don’t know, it all seems silly to carry old ways of thinking into modern times. You don’t like that people are holding their phones up to snap pictures at every event? Too bad – it’s what we do in 2013. In 2020 we’ll be shooting it with our Google Contact Lenses, so you won’t have to worry about people having to lift their hands in the air like they just don’t care. The world has changed and we’re all being photographed and videoed everywhere we go.


I’m not even trying to be rebellious or anything, I just find it strange that venues try to control the creation of well executed photography but have no problem with truly shitty cell phone pics. If the artist themselves wishes to not be photographed, then that’s a completely different story. People have the right to say no and we should respect that.


So, what’s my secret for bringing in a DSLR to just about any venue? I just walk in with it strapped on my shoulder and pay no attention to it. Most security guards don’t care, and more importantly most can’t tell the difference between a professional or consumer camera anyway. The most recent festival I went to, the security guard asked me what kind of camera I had and I told her it was a fixed lens still camera. She looked at me funny and said “OK, as long as it’s not one of those cameras you can change lenses on”. I just smiled and walked on by. I didn’t lie – it had a 50mm fixed lens on it – I just didn’t elaborate on it at all. It’s pretty easy if you don’t make a big deal about it. The worst that can happen is that they tell you that you can’t bring it in. I’m still waiting for the day when that happens!

Why not another @thereplacements photo? #paulwesterberg & #daveminehan #thereplacements   #reunion #toronto #canada #riotfest #rocknroll #guitar #singing #music #live

Similar Posts:

Share and Connect:




  • Comment by chuck Boyd — September 8, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    I carry either a Canon S90 or a Canon sx260HS on my hip in a small case. These high end P/S cameras now have a 20x optical zoom and f/2.0 aperture so I have what I need in a small format. I wear it on my belt and, if asked, say it’s my cell phone.

    Some security people single me out and warn me to stop taking pictures…so I take fewer. And keep an eye on where they are standing.

    Did see a guy blatantly hold his cell phone up, obviously shooting a video, switching hands as one tired and he was asked to leave. His video would have been crappy because he was moving it up and down to the beat.

  • Comment by Joe — September 8, 2013 @ 10:32 am

    LOL – I’ve found that once you get in with your SLR – those security guards think you’re shooting the show for someone and leave you alone. It ihelps to get up and move around a bunch so you look like you’re covering the event. They’ve only got their eyes on the people holding up their phones 🙂

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment