CC: It’s a pleasure to have you on our Photo Friday column, Jordyn! To start things off, where did your passion for music and photography originate? Tell us the story for each passion.
JB: My passion for music far precedes my passion for photography, and they didn’t overlap until more recently.
I had been a classical flautist studying all things music theory and performance from elementary school up until my early years of college.I also grew up with my parents blaring Metallica and Blink-182 all the time.
Somewhere along the line, I started experimenting with the visual arts and photography just felt right as my medium of choice. I had goals of going into fashion photography, actually, but I had friends in bands in high school. They were like, ‘Hey, you have a camera, can you take some pictures at our shows?’ I just kept doing it, and eventually fell in love with shooting shows and musicians.
CC: That’s pretty awesome! What was the first concert you ever shot and how did that experience play out for you? What did you learn?
JB: My first real concert was in 2013 shooting A Loss For Words’ headliner with Major League in Hartford, CT. I have to be completely honest, it was god-awful, but I learned a lot from that night. It was my first show I’d ever shot with a publication and I was already terrified. The venue didn’t have real photo passes, just a ticket, so I was being questioned all night with my camera.
The venue is also so small that the only way to really get any pictures is through a doorway that leads to the bar, which security didn’t let me use because I was only 18 at the time.
I also had such little experience with shooting shows and not the right gear, so my pictures came out pretty bad. I was actually so embarrassed that I didn’t request another show through the publication for about a year and just kept practicing a lot with local bands.
Needless to say, I was pretty over dramatic, but it motivated me to work from the bottom and learn how to shoot in small, poorly lit venues with less intimidation of other, more experienced photographers. Eventually, you just get over the fear and do your thing!
CC: Wow! We appreciate your honesty. We also dig A Loss For Words as well. We miss those dudes. With that said, What gear are you currently shooting with right now? What do you like and dislike about what you are using? What is your dream setup?
JB: I really only use a small set up as my go-to for everything. Partly due to funds, but also due to the fact that I like to carry what I need and nothing extra.
I use a Canon 6D body and recently got the Sigma 20mm 1.4 (which has pretty much replaced my Canon 16-35mm 2.8). I still keep my dinky Canon 50mm 1.8 when I think the 20mm might be too wide, but I’ve always loved the distortion of wide-angle lenses.
I like my set up; it hasn’t failed me yet. Honestly, I’m obsessed with prime lenses, so my dream set-up would probably be a Canon 5D Mk IV, my 20mm, a Sigma 50mm 1.4, and a Canon 85mm 1.2 II. I’ve been into using the Canon 70-200mm II a lot lately, so we can throw that in there, too.
CC: #Goals for sure. What publications and/or companies are you currently shooting for? Why do you like working with them?
JB: I’ve been contributing to New Noise Magazine for a couple years now. I’ll always have a soft-spot for the team members, new and old, because my first real experiences shooting shows, good and bad, were through that site.
Lately, I’ve been contributing to some friends’ newer music publications, like Sound Session and Crowdsurf Central, who have let me wander more into the writing part of things and given me opportunities to shoot bands on my bucket list.
Acentric Magazine is lovely, the team there is so talented. It’s been nice contributing to the lifestyle photography side of things for a change and having my first experience of being in a print magazine.
I’ve also just started contributing to Concert Crap actually, so I’m looking forward to getting some work done! There’s also a few things in the works, so we’ll see what happens!
CC: Wow! Way to keep busy. As being a contributor for so many sites, you must love what you do. With that said, what do you like most about music photography?
JB: It’s unpredictable. Sometimes a band you may not expect to be too interesting to photograph ends up giving you the best shots you’ve ever taken. Shooting a show keeps you on your toes, and when you look down on your screen and see you got the shot, it feels incredible.
CC: To the flip side to our previous question, what do you dislike about music photography?
JB: It’s unpredictable. I always find myself getting nervous going up to the box office thinking, “Let’s see if I’m actually on the list tonight,” and sometimes, the venue has different plans for the photographers, like clearing out the photo pit one minute into the headliner’s first song for safety reasons. It is what it is, though, and you sign up for those kinds of mishaps.
CC: Sounds like to you, the unpredictability is a double edge sword! Anyways, do you have a bucket list of artists you are hoping to shoot in the near future? If so, whom is on that list and why do you have a desire to take pictures of them?
JB: Paramore! They are one of my all-time favorite bands. I also finally got to shoot Underoath this past March, so my #1 bucket list band is done.
I haven’t missed a Paramore tour, and each tour, their production and energy just get better and better.
Florence + The Machine would be on that list as well because her productions and costumes are so lovely, and she is one of the most energetic and enticing artists to see live.
Honestly, I think I have a separate bucket list for every genre of music, but those sit atop the rest right now.
CC: Where do you hope to be with music photography within the next few years.
JB: Personally, I think I would rather work for a band/artist or label specifically instead of just shooting different shows.
I love the live aspect of music photography, but I think documenting musicians’ lives on and off the stage is just as important, and a bit more interesting.
I’ve been working on more personal portrait work lately and would like bring that into my music photography. I also would love to get more involved with editorial work, so doing all of the promotional shoots for a band would be exciting.
CC: If an aspiring photographer reached out to you to ask you for advice, what would you say to them?
JB: Research everything and try everything.
I’ve noticed a lot of aspiring music photographers lately focusing all their energy just towards shooting shows. I mean, to say that isn’t the goal is silly, but don’t neglect working on portraits because it’ll help you capture emotion and light.
Just try different things with your work and don’t get down if you aren’t shooting a show every night. Use your downtime to shoot with different people and learn as much as you can.
Research everything from the “best” gear to use, to different techniques photographers are using, and even how your favorite photographers got started because their stories can be motivating and inspiring.
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