Interview: Music Photographer Adam Elmakias

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“This is my face. Photo by Phil Manasala. Only because he will complain if I don’t put this here. He is in one of the bands I work for and always complains I don’t credit him… haha”

Whilst touring the world with bands, Adam Elmakias (San Diego, California) was able to spend some time with us for a chat about his career, his ‘brand’ and how he has one of the largest following of a photographer on Instagram. Adam has travelled the world several times over, he has a rich and varied portfolio and has sold over 50,000 items of merchandise worldwide – and he is only 24.

Adam, Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for our website. Of course. Thank you for interviewing me. I did check my emails and see that you reached out earlier on in your website’s career, so my apologies for that. I was pretty overwhelmed before and just couldn’t wrap my head around doing an interview. But it’s so cool you reached out again!

No problem. Can you talk us through from when you started out as a Music Photographer to where you are now? I started shooting when I was 15 or 16 and living in Madison, WI. I basically took some self-portraits for a school assignment and a counsellor I was working with closely at the time loved the images. He was a photographer himself, so he encouraged me to continue and helped get me involved in it. After a year or so, I had a camera that I would take with me to local concerts. It allowed me to get into shows for free as long as I gave the promoters the images. It was a treat for my music-obsessed broke-ass teenage self. Plus, I felt cool! I did everything I could to network and book shoots with bands as they came through town, and eventually a couple of bands were nice enough to take me on tour.

After high school I went to college for a semester to try it out, but it ended up not really being for me. My photography career reached a point where I couldn’t do both anymore, and then I moved to San Diego a year later. I figure if I’m only going to be home once in a while, I might as well live in the most beautiful place in the country. I am 24 now and my main job is to travel with bands on tour and photograph what they do everyday. The images are turned around within 24 hours so the band can use them on their socials, and they keep a bunch to themselves just so they can have the memories. The bands I work closest with I have been working with for the past 5 or 6 years, so I’ve had time to really get to know them and learn how to capture their personalities.

Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria in Belfast January 16th 2013

Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria in Belfast, January 16th 2013

When did you get your big break in the Music Photography Industry? When I get this question I always assume people are looking for a certain shoot or job that changed my career and stepped it up a notch, but I don’t really have one of those defining moments. It has really more so just been a constant hustle and continuous efforts to grow, put out new work, and challenge myself to get better at photographing what I like to photograph. My growth with anything in life is very slow and takes me a very long time to get good at what I am doing, but because I shoot every day, I can set small goals for myself. It’s mostly just doing something a little bit better every day though. Setting yearly goals helps a lot too, but you have to hold yourself accountable and make it work! Photography related skills set aside, I feel like my largest growth has just been learning about how to navigate life in general – and to stay happy. The more I learn about life the better I seem to get at photography and getting constant work. It’s a natural progression.

Mike Fuentes of Pierce The Veil in Bloomington, Illinois on October 3rd, 2013

Mike Fuentes of Pierce The Veil in Bloomington, Illinois on October 3rd 2013

When you look back at your career what stands out as major highlights? First van tour: The first time I convinced a band to take me on a full USA tour. We were in a van and it was a dirty month, but I learned more about life in than I had the entire year before it.

Moving to San Diego: I moved on a whim. It was intended to be a visit to my sister in San Diego, but after traveling the states I realised how much more the USA had to offer. I didn’t have much in Wisconsin aside from my best friends, and my job didn’t rely on where I lived. So California it was. Plus a girl made me angry and that means a lot when you are 19, haha.

First time going to Europe: The first time I got to tour outside of the states was a big deal. I wasn’t able to have the band cover my ticket cost, but my dad was nice enough to pay for half of my plane ticket there. I was 20 at the time and had ran my bank account to zero once again. Just like my first USA tour, I learned more on that tour that I ever could have imagined.

Changing career to be happy AKA touring constantly: 2013 was the first I toured almost the whole year. I was tired of press shoots and needed to switch up my career or photography was going to start to burn me out.

FIRST TIMES are always the most fun, and I try to make as many first time experiences as I can. Sometimes this involves changing up my entire career, but I’ll do whatever it takes to stay happy and motivated to keep learning!

Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low at Brixton Academy in London on March 15th, 2013

Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low at Brixton Academy in London, March 15th 2013

You have a very impressive music portfolio of portraits and live shows. What percentage of your work is portraiture versus live music photography? Thank you! I used to shoot more press or group portraits, but I don’t do those as much anymore. Now live music is my day job, and I shoot about 5 shows a week. Portraits are mostly personal projects whenever I can fit them in, but it’s hard to coordinate because we’re constantly traveling and on the go. Right now I’d say my percentage of portrait versus live photo is about 80/20. 

Is that the way you’d like it to be? I have a more stable touring job now with A Day To Remember and I am going to take advantage of our days off to try and make this percentage more of a 50/50. I am excited to get back in the studio and start working with people one-on-one.

Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember at Soundwave Festival in Sydney, Australia on February 23rd, 2014

Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember at Soundwave Festival in Sydney, Australia on February 23rd 2014

What do you believe makes a great live music photo? In the first few seconds of looking at it, is this awesome? If you look closer, is it more awesome? I really firmly believe that the hardest part about live shots is the composition, because in the end that is all you have control over, and that’s the fun part. You can’t interact with your subject, you can’t control them – you can only control yourself and set yourself up to get the best shot. There is a little bit of luck to it as well, which keep everything interesting. So, in the end I feel a great live shot looks nice right when you look at it, and starts to look even better the more you sink your eyes into it.

All Time Low at Brixton Academy on March 15th, 2014

All Time Low at Brixton Academy on March 15th 2014

In a densely crowded industry of hobbyists, house photographers, and semi-pro photographers; what’s the key to standing out from the crowd not just in terms of awesome photos but also how to go about self-promotion? Photos: Do exactly what gives you that photo high. The bands I work with it say I get a “phoner” or a photo boner. Is that gross? That is kinda gross, but when I get good light I kinda freak out and they let me steal their time for a little bit. I respect their art and they share a similar appreciate for mine and I feel like that is where and why we work so well together.

Self-promotion: You have to know yourself, and you kind of have to market yourself like a cartoon character (this works for my target demographic at least!). You have to be comfortable with yourself and memorable enough for people to want to follow you. Does it make me less cool to formally admit that I shaved my head for marketing purposes? It made me comfortable, and coincidentally people find me much easier to remember.

Jaime Preciado of Pierce The Veil at Brixton Academy in London on October 7th, 2013

Jaime Preciado of Pierce The Veil at Brixton Academy in London, October 7th 2013

You have a few strings to your bow. You have your own merchandise, you sell prints and also you have your lens bracelet business. Was this something you set out to do from the start of your professional career? Well, it’s different for each product. Lens Bracelets started about 4 years ago and never really stopped going. That wasn’t intentional; it was kinda something I made for myself that tons of people started to like. Worldwide Lens Bracelets have sold over 50k and I am happy it continues to grow.

Prints came to be the only realistic way for me to be able to tour and photograph the bands I wanted to photograph while still seeing some form of revenue from it. I am constantly creating and working everyday, so the only other way for me to make money is to have automated forms of income. Prints are all automated through SmugMug. However, the popularity growth wasn’t a mistake; it was boosted by my relationship with the bands I work with and know. Part of the idea of selling prints was having the bands all push my brand/name on every post.

The shirts and such kind of made sense at the time and have grown over the last year. The main band I travel with sells them at their merch table and I sell them when I do signings at shows as well. However, most people just buy them from my online store.

In the end I think that they both kind of bounce off of each other. As I continue to grow, the “merch” continues to sell, and as the merch sells it helps me continue to grow.

Yellowcard at Warped Tour in Darien Lake, New York on July 17th, 2013

Yellowcard at Warped Tour in Darien Lake, New York on July 17th 2013

You have created a brand out of your image and your photography. Can you tell us how you went about setting this up and what led you to present yourself in this way. From 2006-2012 I had a brand, but it wasn’t as prominent as it is now. I always wanted to be in a band – a front man to be exact – ’cause it was so cool to watch those guys on stage when I was a kid. I can kind of sing, and I do it every day, but I’m godawful haha. Anyway, about 2 years ago I shaved my head and my complexion cleared up, which sounds and feels weird to talk about, but these things do matter. I wasn’t confident with how I looked prior to 2012 really, and I hated promoting my face. (Plus, it’s probably for the best as I had some pretty embarrassing styles.) After I shaved my head, I kind of started promoting it and it took off, so I ran with it. I made all my profile pictures the same thing and took pictures with all the people I worked with and had them post online. I feel kind of off being so open about these things, as when they roll out into the real world they are meant to seem natural and not forced – which they are – but they are all conscious decisions for the most part. I think a lot and love business and marketing, and it all applies to my already-found love of networking. I never realised how much I love it until the past few years, and Lens Bracelets definitely sparked it. You can have so much fun with it and you can work on your image every day, all day, one tweet/Tumblr/Facebook post as a time. Everything else kind of came right after my “re-branding,” so to speak.

I have a few friends who I bounce everything off of – one is a designer, Kyle Crawford, and the other is my assistant now, Kelly Mason – who I bounce everything off of, and my brand wouldn’t be anything without them. Kyle is great at designing and making all the calls on what I should make or scrap. He has a few very successful brands, so I attribute any success I’ve had with branding myself to him. He made my logo, my shirt, helped with Lens Bracelets, and has honestly changed my life by helping me along. Kelly has been great on the social networking end and making sure I keep my shit straight online. Like when I want to post about normal personal things (girls, going out drinking, etc.) she kinda tells me where I need to draw the line haha. She also handles my businesses and makes sure everything is running smoothly while I’m on the road so I can focus more on my day-to-day life. I get by with a little help from my friends.

The bands I work with love helping me grow my brand as well. A Day To Remember sells my face shirt at every show. Every band I work with credits me every time they post a photo of mine.

"Photographing Jaime Preciado of Pierce The Veil, backstage in Stuttguart, Germany on November 11th, 2013. Photo By Alexey"

“Photographing Jaime Preciado of Pierce The Veil, backstage in Stuttguart, Germany on November 11th 2013. Photo By Alexey”

You feel quite strongly about the importance of networking as a music photographer. It seems that it’s pretty key to your work ethic. The music industry all comes down to who you know – and more importantly who knows you. I talk a lot with different artists that I work with and it’s always interesting to get their perspective. For example, recently I told one of the guys that I really wanted to work with a new area of artists. Unbeknownst to me, he knew every single person I wanted to work with and offered to connect me. I didn’t even have to ask. I was surprised. I asked him, “you would do that for me?” And he said, “yeah, you are a good guy, I trust you, and would love connecting you with them”. To me this was huge; the fact that all my hard work and being (what I thought was) the best person I can be everyday had really paid off. I don’t always realise these things when they happen. But I told him how good that made me feel – that he made me feel. This was just last week.

All Time Low in Glasgow on March 11th, 2014

All Time Low in Glasgow on March 11th 2014

How do you stay current and how did you develop your own style? Staying current: Always switching it up, trying new things, fucking up a lot and learning from the mistakes, then taking what I can from it and focusing on the positive. My own style… what a battle. Shoot and keep shooting. That is what I always tell myself. I love being on the road and shooting every day, because each day I can think about what can I work on and get better at this time around, and then I do a little bit more, slowly creating a style. At first I would just look at other people’s work and try to emulate it, but I never got that edge or drive from doing that. It was just me trying to be someone else when that’s not what photography should be at all.

Hanging out at after party Manchester with Tonight Alive band and crew

“Hanging out at an after party in Manchester with Tonight Alive (band and crew)”

You have worked with bands on tour as their photographer on the road. Who have you worked with on the road? Yes! I have traveled with a bunch of different bands that are all kind of from the same scene. I tour the most with A Day To Remember, All Time Low and Pierce The Veil. It’s really hard to establish a relationship with a band where they will continuously take you out, but I’ve managed to hang onto a couple. Other bands I’ve worked with include Bring Me The Horizon, Tonight Alive, Silverstein, Ace Enders, Whitechapel, Breathe Carolina, Asking Alexandria, Four Letter Lie, Before Their Eyes, and Of Mice & Men.

Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil at House of Blues in Chicago on November 9th, 2012

Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil at House of Blues in Chicago on November 9th 2012

What’s it like to work so intensely with a band? How do you manage to keep your photos looking fresh, gig after gig? I base the photos I take every day on our location and try to incorporate the local area as much as possible. The band stays the same for the most part, but our environment changes every day. If I wasn’t personally attached to the bands I worked with, I wouldn’t have the drive to shoot the same live show sometimes 100+ times a year. I literally spend all day staring at 5 dudes, I have to love them. Candids are important especially when trying to capture a more natural side of the band, but scheduling small outings to make sure we get good posed images is just as important (even though sometimes very tricky to time right).

Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember at Zenith in Munich on January 25th, 2014

Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember at Zenith in Munich, January 25th 2014

When you go on tour with a band, are you assigned with a salary or a fee per show? Here is the thing about touring with the artists I work with: You live with them, live their lives, and know everything they do. Getting hired has nothing to do with the money. I guarantee that if I went up to any of the people I work with now and said “hey, give me money and I’ll tour with you,” they would have said “fuck off”. So, what I did was befriend them, worked for them for a few years, and eventually asked to go on the road. By the time I asked it wasn’t even really a big jump; it was just the natural progression of our friendship. You don’t really see any big breaks when you are living a honest, hard working, and polite life in this industry. Everything slowly builds and grows to the next level. It may take longer to get where you are going, but once you get there it becomes near-impossible to just “fall” off. You know too many people, and too many people know you and your good intentions to let you fall through. I kinda of parallel it to bands that tour. Some blow up and then disappear because they didn’t spend 10 years on the road networking in the industry and gathering personally devoted fans. It works the same on the backend; it is really about who you know, and who knows you. That being said, money came second to my job. So after they let me tour with them, I kind of had to create my job. This took me years because there wasn’t someone I was looking up to that was doing what I wanted to do for these artists. People have tour photographers with them, but they weren’t popping out content on a daily basis. Artists were doing it themselves with Instagram.

As soon as Instagram came along, I could a) justify my job, and b) monetize it with the promotional help of the artists I work for. So first off we kind of did a trade. I went on the road (for free) and they helped me promote the sales of my prints through their outlets. This is also what helped grow all my socials so much. Regardless of the tour I was on, I could still take my followers with me and continue to profit. I love connecting bands with their fans and just connecting with fans in general, so to me this was awesome. I get to interact with hundreds of thousands of people and help them remember their concert with a photograph. I was one of the kids that went to shows, so I know just how much these concerts and music mean to them.

As soon as I did this, I saw a lot of other photographers – including a bunch I were friends with – do the exact same thing. But to me, it was coming from the wrong place. It was coming from a business standpoint, where people were looking to make a quick buck. It kind of bummed me out and cramped my style that people were hitting up similar clients. I was worried at first, but then I referred back to what I just said: everyone I work with is a great friend of mine, and it takes a lot more to snag a great client than to be a good photographer. So now prints have kind of taken an automated back seat. I still use them, but the artists I work for have seen how much the images we create increase the social activity online and are okay with paying me a set rate.

Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low in Newcastle on March 10th, 2014

Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low in Newcastle, March 10th 2014

How do you see the Music Photography Industry in 2014? Everyone is starting to have their own music photographer. Give it a year or so and every local band will have a photographer. Even if they aren’t creating content, they will just want to *have* a photographer. Live music photography is one of the easiest forms of photography to get relatively good at. As long as you have great networking skills that allow you to gain access or attain credentials, you can literally show up to a show with decent gear and get some sellable shots. Not saying your shots will be good, but honestly, they don’t need to be – publications buy shitty photos all the time, and artists just want images of themselves doing their job.

Oliver Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon at Brixton Academy in London on October 7th, 2013

Oliver Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon at Brixton Academy, London. October 7th 2013

There are a lot of bands and artists putting rights grabs on photographers to sign before shooting a show. Its become a bit of a widely discussed area of our industry across various social media networks and blogs. Whats your opinion on this issue? I don’t think its an issue with the band; I think it’s an issue with the photographers. If you don’t like the contract, don’t sign it and don’t shoot the show. That is why there is a contract. It’s a meeting of minds prior to shooting the show and whether or not the contract is “fair” is out of the question. If you don’t like it, don’t sign it. I understand the frustration of showing up to an event and then having to agree to terms you don’t like, and it does suck to go home empty handed, but venting and whining about it online is childish and I feel as though the people complaining come off as entitled.

Have you ever been presented with an unreasonable contract? What did you do and what’s your advice to photographers if they are presented with an unreasonable contract? I haven’t been in all honesty. I don’t shoot as many different artists as a lot of other music photographers do, and my relationship with the artists is more personal than business. I don’t have any contracts or agreements with any of the bands I work with; it’s all just an understanding we have with each other. The last time I signed a contract was when I was working with 30 Seconds To Mars. There were two contracts: one that said I basically couldn’t sell any of my stories from being with the band to press, and the other that said I couldn’t sell any of the images. Seemed fair to me, and I happily signed them.

Which photographers do you most admire? Colin Hughes for his eye and simplicity. Guillaume Kayacan for portraits and lighting. Dave Jackson for his concepts and work ethic.

Repacking gear in-between tours at a friends house in Orlando, Florida

Repacking gear in-between tours at a friends house in Orlando, Florida

When shooting a live show; what’s in the kit bag? I keep all of my gear I own backstage. It is stored in my Think Tank Airport International V 2.0. I kind of use this as my home base.

There is a full gear list on my site although what I pack is ever changing.

On my own self I have my Holdfast Money Maker to my left holding my canon 5D Mark 3 with my active lens on it – so the one I am mainly shooting with. I pick three lenses for the day and throw them in my Think Tank Turnstyle 10 Sling camera bag. I swap these with my Mark 3 as needed. I have my Spider Camera Holster to my right, holding a Canon 6D with a wide lens. This is my “oh shit” camera. It’s basically what I grab when something unexpected happens. So if someone is about to jump into the crowd and I have a 70-200 on my main camera, then I am ready with this camera. It might have a flash on it as well, depending on the shoot location.

This is my set up from shooting form the pit. If I am doing anything on stage I usually scrap the Spider as it makes it hard for me to climb and jump on, or off the stage. I also have a 5D Mark 2 on stage on a monopod ready to go for crowd shots from behind the drum riser. I either trigger my 5D Mark 2 remotely with Pocketwizards or use a GoPro and shoot the same shots as long as we aren’t in low light – outdoor festival setting. 

In addition, I sometimes set up remote cameras that fire every time I take an image with my 5D Mark 3. Alternatively I also set my GoPro 3+ to time-lapse and just leave it somewhere in hopes of getting one useable image.

"Remotely triggered camera, you can see me on stage taking the crowd shot. March 8th, 2014 at Brixton Academy in London, UK"

“Remotely triggered camera. You can see me on stage taking the crowd shot”. All Time Low – March 8th 2014 at Brixton Academy, London UK

All Time Low crowd shot at Brixton Academy

Taking this photo of All Time Low remotely triggered the photo above

Drawing on your experience as a Professional Music Photographer, what tips do you have for someone starting out in gig photography? Start shooting. That is the most important part. You can sit back and plan or conjure up some ideas of what you want to do when you want to do it, but the reality is that you won’t start getting good at something until you actually start doing it. You can learn all the technical junk that you would normally go to school for online. The rest comes from job experience, sucking at photography, and learning from all the things you do that make you suck. Start shooting local (bars, clubs, small venues), network, and work your way up from there. It’s really important to keep track of all the people you meet, as in the music industry people change jobs a lot. The nice thing about being a photographer as that no matter how bad you are at it, someone will hire you. You can get paid to learn, which is really quite nice.

And what advice can you give to those who are on the verge of going pro? Stay active, keep shooting, and continue to push yourself. I think those are the best qualities any photographer can use. Don’t undersell yourself, stay positive. Lots of negative shit happens in the music industry and a lot of it doesn’t make sense at first. Learn from it and move on. Nothing is worth getting upset about, and holding grudges just clouds your mind. Everyone you meet is important and you should treat everyone with respect. I truly believe that if you are nice to everyone and friends with everyone that you create your own ‘luck’ and everything else just falls into place. You need your networks just as much as they need you. Its very important for you to remember everyone you meet, but more important for them to remember you.

Crowd surfers on crowd surfers at Soundwave Festival in Brisbane, Australia on March April 22nd, 2014

Crowd surfers on crowd surfers at Soundwave Festival in Brisbane, Australia on March April 22nd 2014

The pit can be a pretty crowded place sometimes. When you’re on tour with a band what’s it’s like seeing so many photographers in the pit. I love it. I love meeting them all. I do my best to say hey before the set as I realize most are infer first three and then out, and this can be very stressful. I do my best to be friends with every music photographer I meet and am working on getting over being too anxious to say hello to everyone in the pit. It just absolutely drives me crazy that we can’t all be friends. If you see me in the pit, please say hi, I would love to meet you.

"This is me crowd surfing with a go pro at Hellfest in Clisson France. Its just my favorite thing to do"

“This is me crowd surfing with a GoPro at Hellfest in Clisson France. It’s just my favorite thing to do”

One of our contributors wrote an article for us on protecting our ears and wrote a review for some earplugs. Are you also a believer in using earplugs? I want to emphasise the importance of protecting your ears when you go to shows, especially for music photographers who are so close to or even on stage. I use Sensaphonic moulded earplugs that allow me to still hear the music clearly so I can still enjoy the concert while shooting. Don’t feel like a loser for wearing earplugs – any smart musician / photographer / concert-goer is one step ahead of you, and you’ll be laughing at your friends who say “WHAT?” after everything you say later in life. What?

Thanks very much Adam for your time and contributing your photos.

You can find out more about Adam by the following links:

Do not use these images without the correct permissions.

We have a bunch of lens bracelets and a DVD to giveaway!

In partnership with Adam and ourselves, we are giving away Adam’s tutorial DVD ‘The Music Photographer‘ and a set of 3 lens bracelets! The DVD is packed with over two hours of music photography tutorial content, as well as an additional 45 minutes of behind the scenes videos. To win, simply comment under this article and we will pick out our favourite and we will be in touch. 

For our twitter followers we are giving away (5) sets of (3) lens bracelets! Simply follow @elmakias and @GigPhotogs and mention something about this interview using #aegigphotogs and we will be in touch.

Offer ends 8th April 2014 and cannot be used with any other offer. Your details will not be sold onto any other third parties and you will not be contacted directly for any marketing or promotional purposes.

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Join the discussion 41 Comments

  • Matt says:

    I’ve only recently discovered Adam’s work via this article and I’m glad that I did. I’m extremely inspired and motivated after reading through his blog and seeing his body of work!

    Mostly I am reassured that the issues I’m facing aren’t unique to me and I have to just keep moving forward. I shoot concerts for the love of it and have decided long ago to stop chasing the dollars. I figure that if my work is good enough then that will happen naturally.

    Thanks for sharing the story. It was just what I needed to see at the moment.

    Cheers
    \m/

  • Great article. I’m a big fan of Adam and his work and find him a great inspiration. Hopefully one day I’ll meet him in the pit somewhere and I can show him the prize you’re about to give me, ha ha!!

  • Jonathon Gambriel says:

    I’ve been following Adam for a few years now. One of my main inspirations for photography.

    Gutted I didn’t get to meet him in London at the House Party Tour!
    One day, though!

  • Tiffony says:

    Thanks for doing this interview Adam! I love seeing all of the photos you take even when I’m not a fan of the artist or band. The more I learn about how hard you work to get the images you do just helps justify my admiration.

  • Jackie Lieb says:

    Last semester I did a research paper about Adam. We had to pick our favorite artists, and he was mine without a doubt! I found a lot of great information for that paper, and this would’ve help push that over the edge. Great interview! I loved getting to read it and learn more about Adam’s career!

  • Marc says:

    #startedfromthebottomnowwehere. Good interview, very informative and gives an insight into how much goes into a job/career that some people call “easy”. Inspired.

  • This is such an amazing and insightful interview!

    I have been following Adam’s work for the past few years and with every shot that he uploads, it always shocks me with how amazing it is. If there’s someone who wants to get into the music photography industry, then the one photographer that they absolutely need to know about, is Adam Elmakias.

    Even though his career is becoming more and more successful, he has still remained so down to earth and genuine. I’m so glad that I got to meet him when he was shooting Slam Dunk Festival back in 2013; he’s really inspired me to keep on going with my own work and I can’t wait til the day that I can be half as good as him.

    Keep up the awesome work, Adam!

  • Amanda Patton says:

    The content of this interview is incredible. Thank you so much for putting this information out there for aspiring photographers. Not only is Adam’s work ethic inspiring, but his respect and decency for others is unprecedented.

  • Dan Park says:

    Very revealing article. As always Adam is open and honest. Having met him, one area not mentioned but obvious, is the often over used quote that typifies him: if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. The best example of a classic A.M. shot is the closeness and familiarity in the eyes of his subjects. The look that says they NEED Adam to capture this moment, and they trust him to do so.

  • Stephen says:

    What a nice guy. It shows in his photos.

  • I’ve been following Adam’s work for years. I started the first unofficial Lens Bracelet group on Flickr years ago, a few months before the official group was made. Hahah. I want that DVD, yall!

  • Joey Savino says:

    I’m not sure if Adam will see this, but I am going to address it to him anyways.
    Adam,
    Reading this interview was incredibly inspiring. I follow you and all of the members of A Day to Remember on Instagram, so I often see your photos, and even just that inspires me. I want to be a photographer, I have never really had an idea on what I wanted to shoot though. But after reading this, music photography sounds like a good one to pursue. I love music, I love photography, so doing both of those I think would be great for me! But right now, it is a pretty tough thing to do. Right now I am a broke-ass 15 year old (ring a bell, Adam?) with this shitty Nikon Coolpix L320. I am not really sure of what I can do. But I think I am going to follow in the foot steps of you. There is this kind of small music venue near my house, but some pretty big bands play there. I am going to ask them if I can shoot for them, just to get myself out there, ya know? But Adam, I just wanted to say thank you. I have learned a lot of tips from this interview and I am very inspired. I can care less if I win the music photography tutorial DVD. I just wanted to write this to say thank you and that you are inspiring a lot of people, and you are doing a great job!

    Joey,
    Broke teenager with a camera
    P.S. Shut up, Adam.

  • I started of reading this because for Spanish homework we needed to watch the news & write about it but I decided to read the “news” instead .we always get this assignment & I always write about bands or Adam. This time I wanted to write about Adam because I saw on twitter that he had done this interview. I read the whole thing and comepleatly forgot about my home work. When I was done I wrote a paper on this interview that will definitely get me a good grade. I also want to be a music photographer , but I’m a 15 year old girl ,so I’m not allowed to go to that many shows , also I don’t have a computer at the moment wich sucks because I can’t edit or even upload pictures, but I hope you can check out my website. & I appologize for this extreamly long comment.-.

  • Dan Bedford says:

    Such a good read…Adam had a quick chat with all photogs before ADTR at Soundwave this year, very approacable.

    Also kindly arranged for his assistand to send me a bracelet care package 🙂

    Deserves his success.

  • Renato Leduc says:

    Nice interview! Keep posting interviews like this! As a growing photographer, it’s good to read on some advice that the pros give!

  • Sebastian says:

    Big fan of Adam’s work. To someone who is also aspiring to be a music photographer he is a huge help and inspiration. I hope to meet him one day

  • Heaven says:

    This was such a informational and great interview to read. It had a lot of information about how to get into music photography and is super helpful to anyone who is just getting into music photography or someone who is on the verge of going pro. It was great to read this interview since I am interested in music photography and just got to shoot my first show recently and found this article super helpful and had a lot of tips about how to be more successful.

  • Jackie Lewis says:

    Ah adam, you’re such an inspiring person to younger people out there who are just wanting to start out something small, I hope if I work as hard as you have and put the right amount of dedication in, that one day i’ll be doing what you’re doing. You’re probably the reason a lot of people want to become a photographer. Keep doing your thing, you make everyone happy via capturing our favourtie bands; on and off stage.

  • Rob says:

    I want to follow a similar path as Adam, every blog, video and interview helps me understand how I can do that.

    Also I just want to win 😉

  • Sonja says:

    I feel like every interview I read with Adam is every more inspiring than the one before. I’ve been working as a live photographer for a small, but famous concert venue in my hometown for one and a half years now and I feel ready to go out and do bigger bands, bigger venues, other cities, other countries, even. I just know I need to network more.
    This interview is great, thanks for doing this, I really wanna move on and do this job for the rest of my life (the DVD would help!).
    x

  • Cristobal Hurtado says:

    Such a great way to spend time in the middle of a boring class.
    I found Adams work like a year ago and it has inspired me to become much more that what I am right now. I ‘m glad I found this interview, it gives you the exact idea of what I’m about to go through as an amateur photographer and I’m happy to now that there is always something to do.
    Great work from the team and I’m a big fan of gig-photographer, also congrats to Adam for his amazing work and keep doing it, I’m pretty sure that he has inspired a lot of people to follow their dreams, including me

  • sarah says:

    I absolutely love Adam’s work, he’s a huge inspiration to me as I’m an aspiring music photographer! 🙂

  • Jessica Federkeil says:

    Great interview to read especially for an aspiring music photographer.

  • John says:

    Adam is one of the few music photographers who continues to amaze me with his shots. Always pushing himself, always producing images different from the herd.

    The remote camera trick is particularly awesome !

  • Kim says:

    Adam has become one of my favorite photographers to date very quickly i follow a very similar path to Adam and i take loads of influence from the way that he shoots. i currently shoot local shows but i would love to travel and shoot with amazing bands like Adam does. I hope that over time i will become as good as Adam is and small town photographers will be influenced by my work

  • Rachel M says:

    ahh I love Adam! this was a great interview c: so interesting to read!

  • Connor says:

    Hey guys I’m 15 and right now I’m trying to get a decent music photography portfolio together. I’ve only sent one band pictures I took and they used them as a promotional poster for their next show. Adam has been a big inspiration to me and in fact I was looking at the DVD last night on his website and I was kind of sad because it was really expensive and right now I’m trying to save up to get another 50mm lens because my last one broke. Anyways I hope a stupid joke would increase my chances, so here it goes.

    What was the illegally parked frog called? Toad.

    Have a great rest of your day!

  • Amy says:

    Adam is my biggest inspiration and has helped me with so much. Fortunately I was lucky enough to ‘meet’ Adam at All Time Low in Birmingham, if you can call screaming at him over a barrier meeting him! I took a mask of his face to the gig and when he saw it I got to tell him thank him for everything and hug him, he also took a photo of me which he later posted on his Instagram!
    Adam, if you’re reading this thank you again for everything and I’m sorry I interrupted you while you were working (I know how annoying that can be) and I’m sorry I screamed at you “ADAM, I HAVE YOUR FACE!” Haha
    This was a great interview that gave me a great insight into the line of work I’m interested in and I would love a DVD to find out even more!

  • Hannah says:

    Awesome interview! Adam, you’re amazing.

  • Chelsea Hodder says:

    I have been following Adam and his photography for a while now, since discovering and being blown away by his photographs of Pierce The Veil.
    Adam is by far my favorite photographer, and also a big inspiration of mine as i am very much into photography myself, and music/concert photography has got to be my favorite as i enjoy going to gigs and having a great time as well as getting great shots!
    Im hoping to run in to adam at a gig some time, i would LOVE to meet him and maybe even get some tips because his work really is amazing.
    Thanks for reading my comment! i hope you have a great day 🙂

  • Hannah Bowns says:

    This is such an informative interview! I love Adams work and he is so inspirational and motivational. I had never really thought about going into photography until I discovered Adam’s work. Since then, it’s what I want to do. His work is crazy good and I hope that one day I’ll have an opportunity to tour with some of the best bands in the industry like Adam does. This interview makes me even more thirsty to be in the photo pit!

  • Julian says:

    Good to see some places where I’ve also had the chance to shoot bands backstage 😉

  • I’ve been tracking Adam’s photography for a couple years and I’ve loved it ever since. His success is truly remarkable and I’m so happy he has become so popular recently. I’ve always wanted to become a photographer, whether it be a music or tradingionsl one, and Adam has just inspired me so much more. I started taking photos in 7th grade (I wasn’t too great lol) and as I got older I got new cameras and gook them everywhere I went. This year I’m even trying to get a photo pass for Vans Warped Tour 2014 to carry on my desire. I can’t express enough how much I look up to Adam for his amazing photography. He has inspired me so much and I hope to be in a similar career position one day. 🙂
    And if possible i would love to enter the Lens Bracelet and DVD giveaway! The 17-40mm C, 85mm C, and the Pro C Black bracelet are my favorites<3

  • Carly Tyrell says:

    Hello, this is mainly for Adam but anyone else is free to read.
    I have only been photographing live bands for just over a year now but I feel like i’ve achieved so much already, I live in South Wales, UK, so I don’t have much chances here and try so hard to photograph new places. The answers you gave in some of these questions have really given me a greater understanding in how to get my name promoted and achieved a lot more than what I already have. Overall, I feel you are so genuine. You are not one of them music photographers saying ‘everything is my secret, I don’t like anyone else trying to be better than me’ etc. You help people whether they are pro-photographers or amateurs. You care about people you don’t even know and this interview proved that.
    So i’d like to personally thank you for helping me, and giving me the motivation to just keep shooting!

  • Dillon Beesley says:

    I’ve only been into photography for the last year or so, but Adam has definitely helped inspire me to continue to photograph whatever it may be that interests me. His role as a band photographer makes me sooooo jealous. I’m pretty into music myself and the fact that Adam gets to tour with bands like A Day To Remember and shoot at shows like Warped Tour makes me want to go do it as well. Question: photography and music, what could be better? Answer: hanging out with your favorite artists who make the music you listen to every single day. I’m glad Adam gets to do what he loves and that he got there starting out from about where I am right now. This was a very informative interview and I look forward to seeing more photos, blogs, and interviews from Adam in the future.

  • Topher says:

    I think it’s appropriate to read an article about someone who inspired me to get into music photography when I have a shoot later today.

    I’ve been following Adam’s work for about 3 years now and was the first to get me into music photography. When I found out that someone made a career out of the things I both love (music and photography), I instantly wanted to be like him. That being said, I bring (and most likely beat up) my camera to almost every show I go to because of this guy.

    That being said, I always enjoy reading Adam’s story and how down-to-earth, yet driven he is about his career. He’s open to the ups and downs of being on the road, but I like it how he also sees it at a development thing. It’s cool to see someone have a personal attachment to their work and grow from those experiences.

    Anyways, I’m going ending this thing. Adam, thank you for being an inspiration to me and I look forward to hearing more tour stories.

  • Erin Miller says:

    This is an incredible interview! These questions were not only interesting, but they allowed Adam to actually provide very useful information for aspiring young photographers. Adam, you’re the man, and your responses were sweet, on point, and very articulate. I’m a 16 year old photographer and musician, and I hope to one day become heavily involved with the music scene in whatever way possible (in a band, photographing bands, producing, I love all of it). My portfolio is getting a little chubbier, and I’m saving up money to buy a better camera hopefully before this summer. I look up to you and respect you immensely, and I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your career! There’s just one question that I wish was asked in this interview, as it is very important:

    Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or one hundred duck sized horses?

    I love your work, you’re such a cool dude. Have a great evening!

  • sebastian ocampo says:

    great article about a great photographer, what a great advice and inspiration to improve my photography

  • Alana says:

    A huge reason why I started doing photography was because of Adam. I always wanted to do something with photography and music. Doing photography opens up my eyes and lets me see things that I was to naive to see. It lets out my emotions and it helps me think. Photography is something that you have to be patient with. Waiting for that perfect shot. Something that makes you wonder about your surroundings. Whenever I see Adams photos, it makes me push myself to become a photographer and it helps me become someone better.

  • Laura says:

    I’ve come across Adam before, so I loved reading this interview with him – full of really interesting tips and tricks. I love the idea of having a remote camera set up somewhere in the venue – I shall have to upgrade my camera and get some pocket wizards, but I shall be giving that a go as soon as I can.

    Cheers!

  • Mates says:

    Hi, thanks for great interview, there are some realy helpfull tips for starting (or growing) in photography business.

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