Back in October, I made my annual trek to New York City for Photo Plus Expo. But this year I did something that I hadn’t done in previous years… I signed up to have my portfolio reviewed while I was there.
These portfolio reviews are a little different than most others. They’re done by creative directors from major magazines, art buyers from ad agencies, photo editors from wire services, and other people who see tons of images every day from a multitude of photographers (and some of them are photographers themselves). My experience with this was a good one, but that’s another blog post for another day. I mention these portfolio reviews because one of them led to the events that took place this past weekend…
The last review I had was with a photo editor from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, a company that owns 850 radio stations across the country. She liked my work so much that she wound up hiring me to cover the Jingle Ball concerts for Y100 in Miami and 93.3 FLZ in Tampa.
The lineups for these shows included everyone from up and coming artists like Walk The Moon, Karmin, and Austin Mahone…
…to megastars like Flo Rida, Enrique Iglesias, and Justin Bieber.
And since I was shooting for Clear Channel, I got an all access pass to both shows.
I arrived to the venues early so I could make sure I knew my way around, and to shoot some of the gear with artists’ names on it (think along the lines of Scott’s Travel Photography class, where he talks about shooting license plates and other small things to include in your photo book).
Justin Bieber’s Dressing Room Sign
This kind of stuff may not make it into the immediate galleries that get posted online, but my editor asked for it so they can have it to include in other things Clear Channel might create throughout the year. Plus some of it is just cool behind the scenes stuff that most people don’t get to see!
With the all access pass, I was able to roam the halls and try to bump into the artists before and between sets. I didn’t have too many encounters like this, but all it takes is a couple.
I saw the guys from Walk The Moon signing posters before the show and struck up conversation with them for a few minutes. That set me up to get these shots as they came out of their dressing room to take the stage…
Kevin Ray and Nicholas Petricca of Walk The Moon
Walk The Moon doing their pre-show ritual
Once the shows started, there was hardly any time to breathe with only 2-4 minutes between each act. Both cities had a rotating stage so that one band’s setup could be prepared on one side while another band was performing on the other side.
That’s a shot of the stage in the process of spinning around, with the radio station’s banner up in the middle to act as a wall between the front and back.
This was the first time I’ve ever had a “card runner,” which is someone who takes cards from me and delivers them to the photo editor so they can download and edit photos to be uploaded while the show is still going on. I had heard of this happening for Sports Illustrated photographers at the Super Bowl and other important events, but it was a first for me! My only fear was, “Oh crap… My editor is going to see all the bad shots too!” But, since she’s also a photographer, I’m pretty sure she knows the bad to good shot ratio that exists for just about any photographer, so all was fine.
Some of the artists were on the bill for both shows, like OneRepublic:
So after shooting them the first night, I knew exactly what to expect the second night. Which meant I knew that on their last song, lead singer Ryan Tedder was going to make his way into the crowd. The first night, I went into the crowd behind him and got some okay shots. But the second night, I walked backward in front of him, shooting as he walked through all the screaming girls till he wound up here:
That’s probably my favorite shot of the entire weekend :-)
Though, it was definitely fun to photograph the most watched person on YouTube as well…
After seeing all these acts in such a short amount of time, one person I am interested to watch as his career continues is Ed Sheeran. This guy seems like the real deal. He was a bit shy and humble in the press line, seems very talented, and the girls were going crazy for him.
Girls going crazy for Ed Sheeran at the pre-show outdoor concert
During his last song, he asked the crowd take out their cell phones and light up the arena:
All in all, it was an exciting, exhausting, fun, crazy weekend. Can’t wait till next year!
As with most shows I shoot, I used two camera bodies (D4 & D700) and three lenses (14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, & 70-200mm f/2.8). I actually only had one body (the D700), but I also got a D4 from the fine folks at LensProToGo, and was able to rock all weekend long!
All photos by Brad Moore for iHeartRadio
You can see more of Brad’s work at bmoorevisuals.com, keep up with him on his blog, and follow him on Twitter and Google+. And, yes, it feels weird to refer to myself in the third person like this.
What an awesome experience Brad! And thanks for sharing these wonderful shots.
Awesome, love the B&W shot!
Some great shots Brad. Getting that access is amazing. Some day thats what I’d like to do. i love music, the energy, emotion, and the crowds just make it fun. I’ve never had pit access like that. I’d probably rock the 14-24 mostly up front. Great place to go wide, good perspective.
That’s fantastic, Brad! Way to go!
Awesome weekend, awesome shots!!
Excellent blog post and great photos. Nest time, you should ask Scott to tag along as your assitant :)
Of course that should read next time.
Great blog Brad, and looks like a great experience. You mentioned the card runner thing, and that someone would see your bad shots, what about the fact they were not processed? were shots used before you got a chance to process? if so was that all of them, or just a few they wanted to get out quickly?
Great job Brad! Excellent captures!
Incredible work, Brad! So many photos deserve to turn a poster in the wall.
I can’t say why but for me that B&W really stands out. I think it’s my favorite of the bunch.
Very Nice, Brad! Congratulations on your assignment! Great shots and post!
Excellent post Brad. The closest if come to anything like this is not music at all but NASCAR. Ken Toney hooked me up with the Jeremy Clements Nationwide team. Like you, I really enjoyed taking the behind the scenes shots that few get to see. This year he is sponsored by St Jude. My favorite shot of that weekend was a wheelchair bound young man who had just been released by the hospital. The driver and crew treated him like a long lost friend. I was just glad to be there to record the very special moment!
Thanks for inspiration buddy!
Wow, tremendous shots, Brad! I think my favorite was your favorite. A lot of emotion and storytelling. Everyone should check out your website for more of your photography. Great stuff!
I’m super excited for you that you had this shoot as I am jealous of that opportunity!
You’ll be photographing me someday on a stage like that.
These photographs left my mouth hanging open!!!!
You have amazing work here Brad!
That 14-24mm is my baby :) haha…
I love the photograph with the girl in the front of Ryan Tedder,
her heart must of collapsed when she finally saw him!
This post was such an inspiring one from so many angles!
Keep up the good work sir!
Miami, FL | Nassau, Bahamas
I’ll second that, Scott as your assistant, wow, what a great idea, nice job, young man!!!!
I hate being and age I can say thst to everyone, except Jay Maisel, sorry about hat MR. Maisel!!!
Bless your heart! (that was for Matt!)
“that” – “that” – “that” Why am I having such a hard time typing that word!!!!!!
Good job! Great images, your favorite is mine as well.
Great stuff Brad!
Having joined Alan Hess and Scott Diussa for the Live Concert Pre Con at PSW and seen just how challenging it can be to capture not just moving images but moving images in the kind of lighting typical of a concert I’m blown away when I see this kind of work!
Seriously good work that for me really drives home that there a photographers and there are ‘photographers’!
Way to go, thanks for sharing,
Brad, you’re so good that you made Bieber look good!
Shooting concerts “looks” so easy, but it’s clear from your photos that it’s neither easy nor simple point-and-shoot with the complications of access, where to shoot (and being able to get there), lighting (mostly mixed complicated by the colored lights Lighting Directors use!), the crowd, and shot requirements. Like Glyn, I’m blown away. Thanks.
Thank you Brad, for a wonderful post.
I can’t wait to check out Ed Sheeran… thanks for the recommendation!
Great guest post (nearly as good as mine earlier this year) Brad :)
Having read this post and previous ones about you I have to take my hat off to you. People may look at what you do and go “you have the best job in the world”, working with Scott and shooting concerts but I also know that having a job like yours involves a LOT of dedication, hard work and continuous ability to learn and improve. Your Grid episode with Pete Collins a couple of weeks ago was excellent, it proved the point that things don’t just happen, you have to invest in more than just waiting for opportunities and not all will always pan out. For every one great shot we both know there’s a 100 that weren’t so good and I’m sure the same kind of thing applies to most situations. Keep up the good work, I certainly respect your work sir – a fine and talented gentleman you are.
ps. Scott – was that okay, I received the 50 bucks so I was nice like you told me to be ;)