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The Best Concert Photographer in Phoenix: Finalist Christopher Mark

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 Christopher Mark.

See also: The Best Concert Photographer in Phoenix: Here Are the 10 Finalists

What separates a good concert photo from a great concert photo?

Being able to tell a story and feel like you are at the show separates a great photo from a good photo.

How did you get into concert photography, and how many concerts would you say you've photographed?

I've always been a music lover and concert goer, but one day I thought I would try and do something more while at a show. I contacted a band and the process started rolling. I would safely say I've shot more than 150 shows.

What challenges does concert photography present as opposed to other forms of photography?

During a concert you are in control of your camera settings, composure of your subject and timing. Lights change at a show every other second and from song to song. It's tough to deal with some lighting. In the studio in front of one subject, you are in absolute control of the subject and all lights. It's a very different environment.

What advice do you have for aspiring concert photographers?

My advice is keep shooting! Shoot bands you don't normally listen to. If a job presents itself jump at the opportunity.

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.

Taylor Swift. It was take at Jobing.com Arena (Now Gila River Arena) in Glendale. I've never photographed Taylor, and it makes it my favorite because her success has blown up in the past couple of years.

I contacted her rep and then I contacted my point person at the magazine I shoot for and asked if this would be something they would want to cover. They told me absolutely!

I get to the venue and I notice that I am the only photographer. ... This is a rare opportunity. But as I walk down to the front of the stage I realize that there is no photo pit, only two VIP pits on either side of the stage. I had to pick a spot wisely. Dealing with a bunch of screaming guys and girls is tough enough but when they are right next to you bumping into you it makes for a tough work space. The shot of Taylor that I chose was special because I had to prop myself up on the foot of a barrier and shoot In between two girls arms and heads.

Visit the next page for more photos by Christopher Mark.

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