If you ever have the chance to photograph a band on multiple occasions, then you will struggle with the troubling conflicting emotion of boredom. To most people the idea of getting bored being so close to a musician that they worship is ludicrous and a bit pretentious. But what you have to understand is that some artists perform the same set list, with the same body motions and mannerisms night after night after night. So when you do the festival circuit and shoot a band such as Haim at Govenors Ball, then Bonnaroo and finally at Firefly then what are you supposed to do? Even though they might be wearing different clothes and they maybe playing at a different time, it doesn’t make the photos you have taken that much different. So if your taking the same photos of the same band over and over again then how are you challenging yourself? How Are you improving and putting yourself ahead from the pack?
I for example have shot Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros 4 times in 4 years and have found myself looking for shots rather then letting the shot develop. This may sound like I have moved into autopilot and motor drived through a shoot. But its actually the complete opposite, I now know that the lead singer Alexander Ebert spends more time in the crowd then on stage. I have gotten as many tight shots of the band on stage as possible and now understand that using my 70-200 is a waste time because he would move too fast from on stage to off stage and the lens is too long to get the wide shot of him in the crowd. So I have come to learn that patience is a key tool to have in the pit and to understand what your ideal shot is going to be. I also have used the multiple shoots as a way to build trust with the publicists and the band to do most intimate shoots such as portraits.
Another great example is Ellie Goulding, She has this one move where she bends all the way back to where her hair could it almost touch the floor. I luckily caught the shot back last year at firefly. But I wasn’t in the best position and missed the majority of her face in the shot.
So the second time I shot her, I went more toward the right hoping I would be positioned ready for the shot. This time I captured her perfectly but the shot wasn’t framed properly and missed the guitarist that comes in and poses next to her.
So who else has a shot takes 3 – 5 shows to master?