written by Austin Roa
This is a really good topic. I'll try to keep this one short and sweet.
Getting into shows that deal with booking agencies can be a scramble. And there are a couple of ways to get in, depending on how big the artist/ band is. By the way, these are all my personal recommendations that I have experienced myself with trial and error. Take them and go as you please.
1) Email the band directly and ask to take photos for free (assuming they don't have any type of manager/ booking agent).
Don't ever reach out to them and ask for money to take photos, that's not the way to do things because no one owes you anything. Simply ask if they can put you on their guest list so that way you have a guaranteed entrance into the show to take photos (ps - supply a link to your work in the email).
2) If the band is bigger, reach out to their manager and ask to take photos.
The manager will say one or two things.
1) "Hey sounds good, love your work, we put you on the guest list for the show, send us photos when they're done."
2) "Hey sounds good, however, we usually require a press outlet with the photographer, do you have any press source to represent you?"
If they said the first line: Great! You're in. Still don't ask for money, bands are always on a budget because they rely heavily on tour/ merchandise to make their money. If they do ask you what your budget is, then you can let them know what your rates are.
Example: Here's what Justin emailed in order to shoot for the Dispatch show, if you don't know who they are, you can visit their website I linked up. They have over a million monthly listeners on Spotify as well.
This is how I frame most every email when reaching out for credentials, even with a glaring typo it worked out. Keep it short, let them know who you are and show off your most recent or best work. - Justin
If they said the second line: Don't panic just yet. This is very common because they just want the band to have notoriety from the show coming an outside source other than their socials (makes sense right). This is usually when you'll want to find a press source to represent your work. For example, I've been able to get into a lot of shows because of TEAL Magazine. I met Jaicel, the founder and editor of TEAL, through a friend I met by the name of Jiselle. I met Jiselle at a show where she was interviewing a band I was touring with (Little Image). The press source can then keep in contact with said-manager, and help you shoot the show you want to shoot, and in return, you send the photos to either the press you're representing, or the manager/ band (however they want to deal with the photos), as long as you credit your press source when you post them on your socials.
3) Enter through the exit.
In other words, sneak yourself in the show, and forget about press credentials. Act like you're supposed to be there. Walk in when the band loads in and slam photos until someone might kick you out. This is how I met every artist I've ever worked with. I never went through the process of press credentials.