Behind the camera: João Fitas

João Fitas_300pxWho are you? My name is João Fitas, born in 1972, and I live near Oporto, Portugal. I shoot mostly for Rock n’Heavy, an online magazine, and I also follow some bands when they rehearse or play live – people I had the pleasure to meet and become friend, when I started shooting concerts.

How did you get started? I started shooting gigs and its ambiance when I was finishing my Photography studies (my graduation project was a self-published book about Bal Onirique, a goth-rock band from Oporto). I always enjoyed music and concerts, so it became obvious for me that it was the perfect match: Music & Photography.

What’s in the bag? Nikon D600 body, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, Samyang 14mm f/2.8, Nikon Speedlight SB-700, Sandisk Extreme Pro cards, Etymotic ear plugs, all stuffed in a Lowepro bag.

Which photographers do you admire? Well, I see great photographers all the time! In a more gig-oriented way, I like Hans-Peter Van Velthoven’s work very much, his aesthetic sense is fantastic. In a more photojournalistic way, my admiration goes to Paulo Pimenta, one of the greatest Portuguese photojournalists nowadays, he’s very much into music and culture, and also with a great sense for social issues.

Your top 3 tips for music photographers?

  • Shoot the entire gig, if you can – you never know when that glorious moment will occur – and always try new approaches and techniques;
  • Shoot RAW, post-process your images creatively and deliver the best quality you can, and on time – always raise your standards;
  • Feel the vibe (every gig has its own) and make your images convey it – look for the expressions, details, whether on stage or in the audience.

(and yet another one, if I’m allowed)

  • See lots of Photography, get to know all the great photographers, no matter the kind of Photography they do – let it all inspire you!

My favourite shot is? I took this photo of Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity, at Hard Club in Oporto, 2013. The room was packed, there was no pit, and I managed to get to the front row, right in the middle of the stage. Security told me to shoot three songs, but I just couldn’t move, nor he could get there to take me out, so I stood there for most of the concert. Mikael is very expressive, and he got really close to my lens a couple of times. The result is an unexpectedly “happy” face from a death metal singer!

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

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