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Music industry bows to point-and-shoot cameras
David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 9:03 AM on 11.10.09

"At last month's huge U2 show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., how could you tell the difference between the professional photographers and your average amateurs?

Answer: the professionals were the ones whisked away after Bono and friends finished their third song, and the amateurs were still there, happily shooting to their heart's content. "

Interesting article....
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Matt Cashore, Photographer
South Bend | IN | USA | Posted: 9:32 AM on 11.10.09
->> Several years back at a Dave Matthews Band show I remember well a security guard telling a girl with a disposable point-and-shoot camera that she couldn't bring it in the show. She had the choice of a 30-minute round-trip walk back to the car or throw the camera away. Into the trash barrel it went. At that time DMB encouraged audio recordings of their performances--it struck me as ironic that a fan could bring what amounted to a portable recording studio into the show but this girl was not allowed the privilege of shooting an overexposed flash photo of the back of the head of the person in front of her. I honestly can't fathom how it hurts the artist when a fan in row 204 pulls out their iPhone.
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N. Scott Trimble, Photographer
Lake Oswego | OR | USA | Posted: 10:56 AM on 11.10.09
->> Sony is really bad. My wife and I were at a film festival and they ripped her purse from her and sorted through it and told her she couldn't go in because here phone had a camera in it. We could have walked it back to the car, but honestly, it was a Kerri Russell movie, and not worth the effort. Even now, I almost go out of my way to avoid a Sony movie for how rude their people were.
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Peter Huoppi, Photographer
New London | CT | USA | Posted: 12:58 PM on 11.10.09
->> It's great to see this topic being discussed outside of professional photography circles. While I understand that bands and venues have the right to set the rules for their private event, it's frustrating to be ushered out while thousands of fans are shooting away.

I shot a country music festival several years ago where my credential, issued by the the organizing radio station and the venue, stated that we cold shoot without restrictions. One of the nice features of the festivals was a chute right behind the photo pit for ticketed fans to walk through to take photos from close range. I had the headliner's manager tell me to stop shooting ("we only allow three songs because she looks her best at the beginning of the show") even while I had the "unrestricted" language on my credentials and thousands of other amateurs right behind me.
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Dave Rossman, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 1:48 PM on 11.10.09
->> It will always be frustrating for the media photographers. I don't imagine that the bands will ever let us stay longer than the standard 3 songs. In my experience it has been going the other way. I've shot shows where I was given 1 song or less.

I also think it depends on the venue. While attending a recent Pat Benatar/Blondie show I did see security guards confiscate several cameras and phones after warning the fans to stop shooting. That was nice to see.

And I must not forget to mention Tom Petty. No restrictions- shoot as long as you like. He gets it. It's a shame these young bands don't...
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Rob Kerr, Photographer
Bend | OR | US | Posted: 2:08 PM on 11.10.09
->> The revolutionary changes in the music industry with the internet has so many parallels ... journalism comes to mind.

No mega-record labels and image control-rights profit battles. Many small band shows self-releasing and soaking up all they can in open image sharing.

Only two shows of four for me -- a newspaper photographer -- this year followed the contract-signing 3 songs rule. The other two were open season to the point that i had some security approach by habit, and other security joke about how much better their job was not having to hassle and battle the camera issues.
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Jon L Hendricks, Photographer
Hobart | IN | USA | Posted: 2:55 PM on 11.10.09
->> If you're working for a media outlet, why do you care how long you get to stay? You get paid and it's the organization you are working for that should care once they know what is going on. Do your best and relate to your boss what happens. Now if you're freelance or directly earning money off of prints from the photos then you need to find a way to get more coverage either by giving back a cut to the band or smoozing with the PR a lot more.
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Walter Tychnowicz, Photographer
Edmonton | Alberta | Canada | Posted: 3:29 PM on 11.10.09
->> To Quote Jon Hendricks" If you're working for a media outlet, why do you care how long you get to stay?" Lets say it was Toby Keith concert ( or Beyonce ) and you have the First 30 Seconds of the First two songs to shoot....with security tapping you on the shoulder so that you do in fact " Stop Shooting" after those 30 seconds are up, then that is being stupid, either by the tour managers or the tallent involved. And yes that has happened at a concert.I am not trying to single out Jon, but I do care about the images I take and no, I don't need the whole concert ( at least I hope not ) to shoot to come up with some useable photos. Part of the point is when concert goers ( who are told upon entry no cameras or photos are allowed, are taking flash pictures through the whole concert and I can only shoot for the " 30 seconds", then why am I as a professional getting treated as such. As a freelancer I ( or you ) still have to do your job, even with a stupid rule such as that. I dread going to some concerts as I know the rules keep getting changed. Just my two cents.
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Andrew Carpenean, Photographer
Laramie | WY | USA | Posted: 4:08 PM on 11.10.09
->> The last concert I went to as a spectator was Motley Crue at Fiddler's Green in Denver. Sat in the second row and watched as numerous camera/cell phones and point-and-shoot cameras went up to photograph the band. And in between bands setting up on stage a lady walked around selling point-and-shoot disposible film cameras.
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Mike Huffstatler, Photographer, Assistant
Rancho Cucamonga | Ca | United States | Posted: 11:02 AM on 11.11.09
->> Most of my recent concert shoots have been with Christian/positive message bands and events. I've found that they are generally very open to just about anyone taking photos. This no doubt has a lot to do with the motivation behind the event, but that's another subject. The restrictions I've dealt with are generally more venue oriented weather I'm there as a fan or working.

I had something happen not too long ago that I got a big smile from. I took a single body and lens to a show at a local church. Fairly small venue holding about 1500 people max. This was a personal thing so no big deal if I was able to shoot or not. Open seating and the younger crowd was, as usual, crammed up around the stage. I was shooting from the edge of the crowd with a 1D and a 135/2 filling the frame nicely. Everyone of course had the P&S and cameras out shooting stills and video. Then I get the tap on the back. "excuse photos. You'll need to put that away". I casually pointed out all of the P&S screens surrounding us and he simply stated it was "policy, sorry". Ok, fair loss to me. As I was walking back to my seat the song ended as I was getting back to my seat. While sitting, I wasn't quite sure I really heard what I thought I did so I asked the wife. Did he really say what I think he did? Yep. The lead singer announced between songs that anyone that wanted to take pictures, take all you want! No problems at all! I headed back up to where I was nodded at the security guy who stopped me a fired away for a bit.

I had an opportunity a while later to talk to the guys in the band and took them a few small prints from the show. They loved it, and I enjoyed doing it. (please, no flaming for...dare I say away prints) He apparently saw me getting the boot while others were shooting away and didn't agree with the venue.

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Jeff Mills, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 1:10 PM on 11.11.09
->> I've lost count of the number of shows that I know I could have gotten better images from had I bought a ticket and took a Canon G10. Today with micro 4/3rds cameras like the GF1 and a fast prime like the 20mm f1.7, which is effective 40mm due to the 2x body, and a pretty decent ISO1600 would even further help.

You jump through all the hoops of dealing with management, signing contracts, sitting in the admin offices for hours before they finally walk you out to the stage to shoot your 30 seconds of the first two songs before some 300lb security guy starts man handling you at 20 seconds into the 30 your allowed to shoot and often times its all for nothing.

The artist performs those first 2 songs behind some silhouette screen, or wrapped up in a cape, or with the stage in total darkness.

Usher out the media and then boom!, stage lights all come on, cool backdrop comes down, performer whips off the cape or jacket and steps to the front of the stage. Great lighting, everyone in the crowd is blasting away with the compacts and shooting video, to be posted all over You Tube as soon as they get home.

Me, I'm trying to sort through my ISO6400 shots of an unrecognizable performer on a dark stage hoping to find something decent to run.

I remember NIN's Lights in the Sky tour last year for example. I shot my songs and thought it was a pretty boring show, I wasn't impressed.

Met up with some friends who also went as fans for some drinks after the show was over and I was done transmitting.

They kept going on and on about how amazing it was. Best special effects they've ever seen! I kept saying how I thought it was lame and boring overall. I didn't get any good shots really.

Well then they all pulled out their p&s's and iPhones etc and all showed me some of the best visual effects I've ever seen.

I actually used photos that our reviewer took that issue. Seemed sort of silly to have my boring photos in a review that talked about how amazing the light show was.
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John Germ, Photographer
Wadsworth | Oh | USA | Posted: 3:09 PM on 11.11.09
->> Conversely, let me explain a recent experience for me. I was at a local concert at small venue. Standing Room Only down on the floor - right around the stage. Again, small venue - less than 1500 people.

2 "pro" photographers spent THE ENTIRE CONCERERT taking flash photos of the band. For 3 1/2 hours I had to watch these jerks send burst after burst of flash photos up onto the band. Hey, I love photography - but I paid to see the band, NOT the photographers. Even when one was shooting available light - I didn't pay to see him walk around in front of the stage (about 4 foot drop from stage to floor where photog and crowd was) holding his camera above his head taking photos. I think the first 300 photos these guys took was probably enough. Spending the entire concert holding cameras up and shooting flash guns really diminished the experience for me. So, I can understand why there are likely limits on the amount of time you're allowed to shoot. The whole suffers because of a few idiots who can't do their job and be inobtrusive. Just another viewpoint on the topic.
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Thread Title: Music industry bows to point-and-shoot cameras
Thread Started By: David Harpe
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