Behind the camera: Liz Murray

Who are you? I’m Liz Murray, a London/ Surrey-based photographer with a passion for live music.

How did you get started? When I started college in 2007, I decided to study photography because it looked like fun… And it turns out I was right! At the time I knew a lot of people who were just starting out in local bands. They would ask me to come and photograph their gigs in return for free entry, which was a great way to gain experience as well as an excuse to combine two things that I absolutely love – live music and photography!

What’s in the bag? My Nikon D7000, Nikon MB-D11 battery grip, Nikon SB-600 flashgun, SanDisk high speed 32GB SDHC cards, Nikkor 50mm f1.8 lens and Nikkor 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 lens go everywhere with me, all tucked away inside a Nikon Crumpler backpack!

Which photographers do you admire? Ami Barwell, Marianne Harris, and Tom Barnes are all incredible. I’ve loved their work for as long as I can remember and if I can eventually take photos that are even half as good as theirs, then I’ll be happy.

Your top 3 tips for music photographers?:

  • Shoot RAW. It sounds obvious but when I first started out, I didn’t realise just how important it was to shoot RAW files, and just stuck to JPEG. I’m now kicking myself for it because it means that my earlier work is a lot less detailed.
  • Practice makes perfect. Go to as many local gigs as you can and photograph bands that people have never heard of. There’s plenty of room for mistakes in a tiny venue and the band won’t mind what the photos look like, they’ll just be flattered that you turned up to photograph them!
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Don’t be afraid to annoy people by asking to photograph their gigs, inquiring about photo passes or barging your way to the front of a crowd to take photos. Just do what you’ve got to do to get some good shots.

My favourite shot is? I absolutely love this photo of the bassist in a band called The Remnants.

The band aren’t particularly well known, the venue was nothing special and in fact, you can’t really tell that this photo was taken at a gig, but I love it just because it was one of those moments where everything came together at the right time.

My flashgun was running low on batteries and I was starting to get annoyed because I was struggling to get any good shots. Suddenly I saw the bassist pull a face and in that split second, the flash fired perfectly and I got the focus just right! I didn’t have time to think about the composition, but somehow I managed to capture everything that really makes this photo – the look on his face, the crazy eyes, the piercings and the tattoos.

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

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