By 26 April 2016 | Categories: news


We’ve come to the final part of our interview with recent Canon Expo speaker, Laura McCullagh. In part three, we dig up tips for upcoming band photographers and chat about her favourite personal photos. (Also read Part 1 and Part 2)

TechSmart: What would be the best piece of advice for someone starting off in band photography?

Laura McCullagh: For someone starting off I'd say go shoot, a lot. When I started shooting gigs I was literally out every weekend seeing new bands and it was great. There are always local gigs happening and for the most part it's a pretty chilled environment for the casual shooter to gain experience. Just be respectful please, take a shot or two from the stage if you must but do it quickly and don't hang around - the stage is for the band!

And for intermediate shooters?

Intermediate is tricky because it's a bit of a relative term. But assuming it means you're ready to shoot international acts, festivals etc., then my advice would be to apply for accreditation for the big acts you want to capture. If you can't get accredited while shooting for yourself, find a media outlet/magazine/blog for whom you can cover the event.

If you're new to shooting in the pit just watch what everyone else is doing, or not doing. You get to shoot three songs, it's generally okay to move around, wearing black is recommended and flash isn't permitted. Most importantly just be aware and considerate of the other shooters and the people there to watch. This goes for anyone shooting any gig/event, really.

And one more general piece of advice: edit your work. Just because you took 500 photos at a club doesn't mean you need to process and upload all of them. Choose the best images, maybe 30-40 for an average three band gig and showcase those.

What is your favourite personal photo and why? Is there a particular story behind it that makes it stand out?

I can't say that I have one. I have a large collection of personal photos printed and framed on my walls, most are purely decorative but the others are meaningful because they're nostalgic. They're mostly of special places (the Botanical Gardens in Stellenbosch, Kraalbaai/Langebaan lagoon, Bloukrans/Nature's Valley) and looking at them reminds me of how I felt being there. It's a subtle feeling but a profound one, the closest I could describe it is calm contentment. They basically act like motivational posters to me.

All images courtesy and copyright of Laura McCullagh. For more of her work, visit her portfolio websiteFacebookYouTube or Blog


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