You’re never too young to be a gig photographer

JHFollowing from our interview with Caitlin Mogridge she contacted us and urged us to check out another young hot-shot gig photographer: London based professional gig photographer Jordan Hughes. So, naturally we did and thankfully Jordan was up for a chat and share with us some of his fantastic work.

Hi Jordan. Thanks for agreeing to be a part of our website. Caitlin tells us you have worked together in the past and that you are also quite young. So – first up, lets get the obvious question out of the way: How old are you and how did you get started in gig photography? S’all good! Yeah – Caitlin’s really great. I only actually met her a few months back but it feels like we’ve known each other for forever and a day.

I turned 20 years old in August of this year, got into music photography when I was about 14 years old and got into it professionally when I was about 17/18. My family are very musical and I’m not so I guess photography was my only way into it. I quickly learnt how to get press passes and blag my way into shows. Before I knew it I was shooting my favourite bands in ‘proper’ venues with my kit lens and Nikon D40. It was wicked! The photos were not so wicked.

Who do you shoot for? I’m currently shooting regularly for NME, Retna and various PR companies.

How did you get the gig with NMETo cut a very long story short I placed ‘highly commended’ in the 16-18 years old category at the first NME photography awards. I met the picture editor down in London at the private viewing of the gallery and convinced her to let me to work in the office for a week. When I was down there I photographed an Example show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, showed the picture desk the next morning and I was offered a contract on the spot as a 17 year old. I think it was my last day in the office so I skipped down the corridor and rang my mom and my girlfriend at the time probably being a little over excited.

What’s it like to work with them? Can you give us a run-down of what’s expected of you? They’re awesome. It’s a really top group of people that run the magazine and they’re great fun to be around! What’s expected of me? To upload amazing photos every assignment… before 10am the next day.

Are you paid per published image or do you get paid for each ‘assignment’? Each assignment.

Would you say you have a particular style to your photos? What kind of things do you always like to capture when your in the pit or does it constantly change depending on the lighting and the artist? I guess I try and make my live shots as dramatic as possible – wide angles, loads of lights and something going on. I don’t know if that’s a style… probably just trying to be a decent photographer. I just adjust to what’s going on around me and what sort of photograph I can achieve.

What’s your take on artists releases on our photos? Have you ever walked away from a gig instead of signing the contract? What’s your opinion on this widely discussed issue within our community? Photography is unfairly being thought of less and less as an art form. As a result of that more and more people with no sort of music or art background are writing release forms that are completely unnecessary and horrifically binding. I understand companies have to protect their ‘clients’ image but lets just all imagine a world where no music photographers exist. And no, I’ve never walked away from a show but I know plenty of people that have.

What do you think about the many hobbyists who make it into the pit? I think it’s awesome! If they’re having fun, not getting in anybody’s way and taking great photos then I don’t see why there would be a problem.

How do you see the music photography industry? Has it changed much in your relatively short time as a gig photographer? It’s competitive, good fun and completely exhausting. I’ve met some brilliant people in my short time as a music photographer and I genuinely wouldn’t change it for the world. I haven’t seen it change yet but print media is steadily declining and people are finding more and more ways to push art out there. I’m really excited to be on the crest of that wave of young artists having to adapt to the ever changing technology of the world.

What’s in the bag?
Nikon D700
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8
Nikon 50mm 1.4
Nikon SB-900

Which music photographers do you most admire? As far as live music goes nobody really touches Todd Owyoung and Danny North. Both incredibly talented photographers in that field by combining excitement, great composition and overall sharpness of their images. Todd runs a really great website that helps me massively when looking at what equipment I should invest in next and he seems to genuinely love his job. It’s great to see! Danny was shooting for NME when I first started to shoot over there and I have always admired his work.

Your 3 top tips for a beginner in gig photography?

  1. Don’t be scared to ring people.  People answer questions quicker on the phone rather than on email.
  2. Buy quick lenses: 1.4f or 2.8f.
  3. Send publications a preview of your images from the show you had shot the night before. Try and keep the band relative to the magazine. Don’t send the NME picture desk pictures of Slayer and don’t send the Metal Hammer picture desk pictures of Arctic Monkeys.

How can we find out more about you and check out your work? I think I’m on almost every social network site going:

  • Twitter: Where I mostly talk about football, Kanye West and photography.
  • Facebook: Where I post selected recent work.
  • Tumblr: Where I post selected recent work and also some behind-the-scenes shots!
  • Instagram: Where I post my day-to-day goings on. Usually includes pictures from shows, meeting famous people and my obsession with shoes.
  • Website: Where my selected work is there for all to see.

Photo details

The Strypes
12th September 2013
Electric Ballroom, London
Nikon D700
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8
Exposure: 1/320 at 2.8f
ISO 1600
Focal length: 24mm

Waka Flocka Flame
23rd August 2013
Leeds Festival, Leeds
Nikon D700
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8
Exposure:1/640 at 2.8f
ISO 1600
Focal length: 45mm

Paramore
4th September 2013
Roundhouse, London
Nikon D700
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8
Exposure: 1/250 at 2.8f
ISO 1600
Focal length: 24mm

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