Fifty-six gigs, one festival, 200 plus bands photographed and one hell of a solid year for being creative.
Not only did I get to check off some bucket list bands to shoot, including Nine Inch Nails, Roxy Music, The Cure, Mika, and the original lineup of The Damned, but I also shifted my approach to photography and learned a ton along the way. So this year, I bring you those lessons learned along with a few short rants on things that annoyed the shit out of me in 2022, all wrapped around my favourite photos, gigs, albums, and songs and I even threw in a few extras with shows that I loved.
Four Photography Lessons Learned in 2022
- With a little help from AI – After returning from the pandemic, lighting conditions seem worse than ever in many cases. Some folks sit there and wait for that split second when that random light hits the subject. I push my camera to its absolute limits and go in for the kill when the shot is there, no matter what the light looks like. This is what separates the perfectionists from the rebels in photography. My photo might be a bit noisy at ISO 12,000, but platforms like Topaz AI can make that noise disappear with one click. Does that go against the traditional journalistic standards of editing? Who gives a shit? The photos look fucking amazing, and I got the shot.
- Doubling down on video – If you are a one-dimensional photographer, you’re easily disposable. The competition and barrier to entry for concert photography are at an all-time high and an all-time low, respectively. So now I take a few minutes at each shoot to shoot some video which I then use for Reels. As I get more comfortable with video and editing, this will be critical as a differentiator moving forward. Do I miss a shot here and there while switching to video? Yeah, but again, who cares? I’ve got content that few others have to supplement my stills. This will be about adding value and differentiating to get more gigs in 2023.
- Shooting film – It’s really, really hard to shoot film in smaller venues and nearly impossible at club gigs without a flash. If you want that film look, there are some great film simulators such as the DXO Film Pack and my favourites which are from Jamie Windsor. But if you want to go old school, get a Nikon F100, autofocus prime (28mm or wider for clubs, 50mm for theatres etc.) and start with 800-speed film metered at 1600 and push it when processing. If you want to go nuclear, get the Iford ISO 3200, I’ve had brilliant results with this film.
- Posting, Sharing, & Consistency – You don’t have to post every photo you take. I took nearly 100,000 photos this year and posted less than 50% of them. Why? Because when I post, I like to add context to the photos and add a quick story, and that takes time. I mean, what the fuck did we do with all of these photos before Instagram? Simply posting an image is easy, and unless your photos are so good that they can stand on their own (most can’t), then I find it a bit pretentious. With that being said, the takeaway here is that it’s ok to create for yourself and your friends.
A couple of quick rants:
- Shooting wide – 28mm is not fucking shooting wide. Good luck with those portrait shots of the band playing at that club where your camera is one meter away. 14mm, now THAT”s shooting wide.
- Watermarks – I think they ruin your photos, so I stopped using them a couple of years ago. Your photos are going to get stolen and used without permission, regardless. Add your details to the metadata and your copyright as the file name. Deal with it.
Things I’ve accepted:
- Perfection is completely out of reach – There will always be something that I don’t like about my best photos, and that’s ok. I’ve started to focus on shooting for an emotional connection, and hopefully, that comes across here.
Top 22 (ish) photos of 2022
What I saw – top 15 gigs
- Reef – O2 Forum Kentish Town
- The Cure – Wembley Arena
- Counting Crows – Eventim Apollo
- His Lordship – Eventim Apollo
- Starsailor – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
- Kula Shaker – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
- Roxy Music – O2 Arena
- NIN – O2 Brixton Academy
- The Black Crowes – O2 Brixton Academy
- Placebo – O2 Brixton Academy
- Wayward Sons – O2 Islington Academy
- Iraina Mancini – The Jazz Cafe
- Anvil – O2 Islington Academy
- The Professionals – Club 229
- Jesus Jones – Club 229
What I listened to:
Top 10 Songs
- Shoot Me Your Ace – Reef
- You = Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard
- Undo the Blue – Iraina Mancinii
- Let it Ride – Tom Meighan
- Fallin’ With Me – The Struts
- Rosellas – Common Ground
- The Horn – Welcome to the Power Show
- Red Roof Estates – Austin Meade
- Deep – ARXX
- Best of Me – Reef
Top 10 Albums/EPs
- Shoot Me Your Ace – Reef
- Backhand Deals – Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard
- Never Let Me Go – Placebo
- All Cranked Up (EP) – His Lordship
- C’mon You Know – Liam Gallagher
- Lucifer on the Sofa – Spoon
- Strength – Unto Others
- Look What You Could Have Won – Kid Kapichi
- Baby Shack (EP) – Panic Shack
- The Mercury Riots – Time to Go
What I Watched
Top 5 Streaming Series/ Movies
- The Bear
- All Quiet on the Western Front
- 14 Peaks
- This is a Robbery
- Dexter – New Blood
- The Boys (Season 3)
- How to be a Dictator
- Made You Look
- Untold – The Rise and Fall of AND1
That’s a wrap. Thanks for reading, and thank you for following along on Instagram and subscribing to my newsletter. See you in the New Year!