Drew Ressler is the #1 DJ photographer. He takes photos of the biggest named EDM artists in the world. The things I love about his photography is it is right in the moment. You can’t redo a moment in the middle of a concert. He takes some of the best looking photos. 90% of his photos are live in concert and the other 10% is outside the concert in real life near the time of the concert. Drew is one of the many self-taught photographers.
I got in it at a time when digital SLR’s were pretty “new” (Canon 20D just came out) so I was usually the only one photographing at a club. Now it’s tougher since just about everyone has a camera, and can get in regardless of actual talent/reason (usually to meet drunk girls, unfortunately). I got started by asking the booking agents/promoters for a press pass in exchange for providing the photos (since back then I knew nothing about cameras, so I wasn’t giving up any groundbreaking work). It’s good practice, but working for free is a big no-no once you have a foot in the door. In this day and age, it’s best to do a few things. Practice as much as you can. Work with a local musician who might not have the budget to afford you, but you don’t mind practicing on. Once you have a good portfolio, shop yourself around to artists and promoters who could use a photographer. Remember, photographers are human beings that can’t teleport. Photographers generally can’t cover two gigs at once, so there are always opportunities. On a recent tour, I had to deny shooting some big gigs from another big DJ, just because I was booked already. They went with another great photographer, so it’s not like they will give up looking for someone.
By Andrew Howard