Earlier this year, we announced a concert photography contest. We received more than 46 submissions, and a crack panel of judges winnowed down the submissions to 10 finalists. We are now introducing you to each photographer, presented in random order. Next up is Lisa Webb.
Phoenix New Times: What separates a good concert photo from a great concert photo?
A great concert photograph will grab the viewer's eyes along with his heart. It captures the artist in a way such that the viewer feels like part of that moment.
How did you get into concert photography, and how many concerts would you say you've photographed?
I grew up surrounded by music, albums and photography. Inspired by Bob Gruen's photography and guided into the local scene by New York photographer Taso Hountas, I began shooting small shows in the Phoenix area in 2009. Since then, I'd estimate I've photographed well over 300 sets around the valley.
What challenges does concert photography present as opposed to other forms of photography?
With only the first three songs of a set to photograph the band, concert photography presents difficulties from many angles. It's really all about how fast the photographer can think on his feet. Framing, back-light, special effects and proper exposure are continually being adjusted. Lighting constantly changes, the musicians are always in motion, other photographers can accidentally get in the shots, and all this occurs in a confined area where everyone is vying to get "the shot" for their publication.
What advice do you have for aspiring concert photographers?
Start by photographing the local music scene with the best glass you can afford or rent. Know your equipment so well that you can operate it in the dark. Make friends with other local concert photographers. They are your colleagues, not competitors. Everyone has a different style, but we all bring something to the table. Oh, and be nice to security.
Choose one of the photos you submitted. Tell a story about it --where was it shot, who is featured, what makes it one of your favorites, and what circumstances lead to your capturing it. The more details, the better.
Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with his new Modulus plain black bass was shot at the Jobing.com Arena. The color, clarity, and symmetry attracted my eye to this shot right out of the camera. But then going through the details, I love how I can see the B on the inside of his guitar strap for his last name. And the pearl inlay "Flea" on the fret board along with the tiny Flea icon on the end of the head just finished off the shot. The photo is understated, but full of detail. It's like stars, the more you look, the more you see. While some photographers tend to photograph the lead vocalist first, I do not. That night I chose to begin with Flea, capturing his huge stage presence. I would have missed this shot if my style wasn't my own. (High-res version here.)
Visit the next page for more photos by Lisa Webb.
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