Behind the camera: Andy Hughes

2Who are you? My name is Andy Hughes. I’m 29, I’m a full-time freelance photographer. I’m the core contributor for the Midlands for NME. I also shoot for local publications Brum Notes and Counteract Magazine

How did you get started? I got into photography quite late really, my passion started at college. I then studied photography at Southampton Solent University, the course was fine art photography, so very different to the area I know work in. I then completed my degree and was exhausted of photography. I moved back up to the Midlands. I went a saw a band called The Lines (who aren’t together now) and they blew me away, just the passion they played with. I then saw them a week later and photographed them, and another band called The Arcadian Kicks (who also aren’t together anymore. I got chatting to both bands after that gig, sent them some shots, and just went from there.

During the same period of time a good friend of mine Jon Pritchard was starting a journalism course and was reviewing gigs every week, they needed photos so we teamed up. Working with the two bands all the time taught me how to shoot live gigs, it also allowed me to venture into documenting them, and shooting press shots.

I will always be thankful of the two bands, their managers James Amner (The Lines), Ian Light & the late Jon Brookes (Charlatans drummer) (The Arcadian Kicks) for their amazing advice and guidance and for having the belief in what I was doing.

I then built my portfolio for a few years, shooting bigger, and bigger bands, going on tour with bands, and then I entered the NME Photography awards 2012 and won! With a shot of Spector from the Temple gig at the Institute, Birmingham. I was the live category & overall winner.

At the NME photo awards private view I managed to speak to one of my favourite Music Photographers, Roger Sargent. He won the award for ‘Outstanding contribution to music photography’ so it was a real pleasure to speak to him and share wall space!

I then kept updating my portfolio and kept sending  NME my work. Myself and my girlfriend went to Berlin the following Febuary, I managed to get ourselves into the Intro Magazine Tour gig at the Club Bi-Nuu, where I was able to shoot LA based band FIDLAR (Fuck It Dog Lifes A Risk). It was those shots that convinced NME to give me and contract.

This last year has been an amazing whirlwind, shot lots of gigs for NME including my first full festival, Leeds festival 2013. I’ve also had countless people getting in contact to arrange shoots, recently shooting the Twang, promo/press for their next album & tour.

What’s in the bag? Nikon D800, Nikon D700, Nikon f 2.8 14-24mm, Nikon f1.4 50mm, Nikon f2.8 70-200mm, SB900 Flash Gun, lots of spare batteries & a brolly for our fine English weather.

Which photographers do you admire? Roger Sargent for getting me interested in the area of music photography & Danny North, who is in my mind the main man right now, two photographers who are always breaking boundaries and setting the bar extremely high.

Your top 3 tips for music photographers?

  • Prepare
  • Know your equipment, time is of the essence
  • Take any opportunities that arise

My favourite shot is? It was my shot of Spector that won the award, but I’d have to say currently my photo of Zak (FIDLAR) crowd surfing at Leeds festival this year, awesome band, awesome lads (main image, above).

How can we find out more about you and find more of your work?

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