With the recent publication of contracts required for music photographers to shoot top talent like Taylor Swift and the Foo Fighters, Kill the Music decided to sit down with L.A. based music photographer Samantha Mad nick to get the scoop on what its really like to be a photographer in the music industry.
KTM: How did you get involved in photography?
SM: My father is a photographer and handed me a camera. I immediately started taking pictures of everyone and everything I could. Then I started taking pictures of bands and realized, that is where my passion stood. People began to ask me to shoot and offered me money to do so. Therefore, I was able to do my hobby and get paid for it! I was so stoked for that.
KTM: What inspired you to focus on concert photography?
SM: Not only is my father a musician, but all his friends and their children were musicians too. I just continued snapping photos of the things I loved and it eventually took off.
KTM: What have been some of your favorite bands to shoot?
The Word Alive and Attila are probably my favorite to shoot repeatedly. Although, shooting Justin Timberlake and Papa Roach were enormous goals that I was able to achieve. I shoot several shows a week for online and print publications.
KTM: Tell me a little bit about being published in a recent issue of AP and about being hired to go on Warped Tour 2015.
SM: I was published in print for the first time in February. Alternative Press chose one of my images of Fronz from the band Attila. It was a major achievement and I am quite happy that it happened. As for Warped Tour, I had decided to not let myself go through the summer without being on Warped Tour. I had been emailing every band possible as they got announced on Wednesday afternoons. I had a few responses, but Splitbreed was the first group to meet with me as well as hire me. They are an EDM/Hip Hop group based out of Las Vegas.
KTM: How will Warped Tour be different this year from when you’ve shot it in the past?
SM: The past two years I have only shot one or two dates. This year I will be photographing all of the dates and have been living on a tour bus since June. This has been my dream for a long time, and I am ecstatic to be able to achieve it with so many other talented individuals. I shoot Splitbreed's set every day and then try to find a quiet place with Wi-Fi to edit. I do have a lot of down time to shoot other artists' sets and get some cool behind the scenes photos.
KTM: What are your future goals as a photographer?
SM: I hope to come back from Warped Tour in August and find another tour to jump onto. I want to continually tour as much as possible. The tour bus, car, or trailer is my home. I have never been more passionate about anything than touring and photographing artists.
KTM: How have you managed to build your brand while meeting the terms of artist/photographer photo use contracts?
SM: I have been lucky. As a tour photographer, I haven't had to deal with the types of contracts that have been in the news recently. I have been able to photograph performances by top artists for publications I work for. I maintain the rights to most of my photographs and have found a way to make it work. I sell my prints to help make my career as a photographer sustainable. The promo shoots I do usually happen because a band I shot at a show liked my work and contacts me.
KTM: How can people see more of your work and/or schedule shoots?
SM: They can check out my website www.samanthaphotos.com and find me on Instagram as @photo_sami.