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Being denied a pass

So, how much does it suck to be turned down? Its a fact of life when shooting concerts, we've all dealt with it. Here's my issue with it; When you ask 2 weeks prior of the show, the label/publicist/manager responds to the first contact with a "looking into it, we'll let you know" response. You wait patiently, but its getting closer to the day of the show. Emails are not being replied to, maybe you have even received a "I'll be out of the office....." canned response. Then, hours to the show time, you get a "sorry lists full" email. WTF, The list wasn't full a week ago, when I asked the second time. Why do they have to wait till the last minute. I've planned my weekend around the shows! ARRG!!!

But unfortunately it's a fact of life. What probably happened was a couple of weeks ago not many had asked for a pass so there was a chance you were going to get one then as it came closer magazines/papers asked for passes to cover the gig so they didn't you to cover it :(

I'm guessing you weren't shooting for anyone in particular? I had similar a month or so ago. I had a pass all sorted for a festival, got to shoot most of the festival but when the headline act came on (Massive Attack), I was told no agency shooters were allowed :( Having said that they were almost completely back lit with no light on them from the front so it would have been challenging to say the least.

Mike Gatiss
"Dont' lose the moment..."

Mike Gatiss
"Dont' lose the moment..."

Also, you need to remember that that same person has the entire tour to worry about. Lets say 30 shows, times at minimum 10 photographers asking for credentials. That's 300 people they need to listen to ask the same questions over and over. The problem with asking 2 weeks in advance is that its just too early sometimes for the person to even think about it (they are busy dealing with the show tonight).

Not saying I don't agree, but there's a real word aspect to it.

Yeah being an Agency photographer as well, I get denied fairly often for big name acts

Sometimes I can fall back on shooting for a webzine, but more often than not I don't get bogged down for too long because I have to wake up for work 6am every morning....so I get to stick to my regular sleeping pattern for another night :)


It happens to me once in a while. I have heard some say, they would never do anything unethical such as photographing a show where they were denied a photo pass. I much rather work within the system but when outright denied, especially as you mention, after being held on the "wish list" as I was recently told, and then denied; I will do what it takes to get the shot. After getting a recent international artist on the cover with good photos, I received a thank you from the management that denied my photo pass even after I offered to buy the admission ticket.

I guess it depends who and what your are working for but I have no problem doing what it takes to get the shot as long as nobody or anything gets hurt.

For those who must abide, most shows allow non-professional cameras. Some, with wide apertures and 8+MP will get some good shots.

Live Music Photography Services and Galleries
Concert Photography by David Oppenheimer

Performance Impressions Photography

Concert Photographer David Oppenheimer

Concert Photos Magazine - Concert Photos Magazine

Performance Impressions - Concert Photg

Yes same happened to me for this week's Aerosmith gig in London.

Had to rush back to my car to dump my bag and grab my pocket camera.  I waited until after the first three songs as if I couldn't get the access at least I could get what they couldn't see :-)

Happy with the photos from a personal viewpoint and got some published along with my review so wasn't a wasted evening, just annoying that I couldn't get as close as I wanted.

Gallery here picasaweb.google.co.uk/goodgrr/Aerosmith#

Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, O2 Arena London June 2010 (c) Roger Goodgoves

Last year I had found out about a john mayer concert at the Hollywood bowl and I figured the passes were going to fill up VERY fast so I decided "6 months isnt early enough!". I got in touch with the publicist and got her email and kept an online first name basis email going with her for 6 months! 1 week before the show I got this email - "Unfortunately the venue will not approve any wire agencies to shoot at the venue."    

 And thats why I email months in advance now!