How to Become a Photographer in the Music Industry

Touring with a famous band, meeting the best musicians in the world, capturing once in a lifetime shots during a mega concert – music photographers seem to have it all. But becoming a photographer in the music industry isn’t as easy as going to a concert with your camera. Music photographer Rob Shanahan is one of the biggest names in the industry, and is Ringo Starr’s personal photographer. In this video, Shanahan tells you how he got into the industry along with some great stories about some of the most well-known musicians in the world:

So how do you go from developing film in you bathroom, to shooting big names like Paul McCartney and Steven Tyler? Despite how difficult it might seem to break into the music photography industry, Shanahan’s advice is rather simple. First of all, be a people person.

Shanahan says you’ve got to be a people person in order to be successful in the industry. Musicians don’t want a photographer following them around like they’re part of the paparazzi. They want someone to talk to and hang out with. Shanahan is not only Ringo Starr’s photographer, but also a very good friend of his. They talk, they joke, and they have fun together. Plus, being personable allows you access to celebrities life off the stage, allowing you to capture more personal moments.

music musician photogapher band the beatles paul mccartney ringo starr

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr

Shanahan’s other suggestion is perhaps the simplest and most basic piece of advice for any photographer: Know exposure. He says you just need to know what exposure you need at any given time. Some moments only last a second and if you’re fumbling around with you camera, you’re going to miss them. Though Shanahan doesn’t explicitly say that everyone should use a film camera, he does say that that helped him the most in learning how to expose any scene.

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