Back in June Rocks Off brought you Houston's ten best music photographers, as selected by a small panel of insiders and professionals. Now we'd like you readers to choose the best. Before voting opens, though, here's a little more about our finalists, in alphabetical order -- and a lot more of their spectacular photography. Best of luck to all ten.
Rocks Off: What inspired you to become a music photographer? Greg Noire: My first gig shooting anything music related came from capturing the Niceguys, I'd say around 2007-ish, at the University of Houston's annual Frontier Fiesta event. Before then I was only doing portrait work, which wasn't the best, since I was just starting out.
I remember struggling with getting a decent image during the Niceguys' set because I wasn't familiar with my camera settings. I guess I looked extremely dissatisfied with my shots, because another photographer approached me, looked and my last image and proceeded to raise my ISO and lower my shutter speed. I felt like an idiot, but that did the trick.
I actually wrote down the settings because apparently had NO idea what I was doing. Anyways, once I got in the hang of shooting this show, I fell in love with the images I was producing. The way the lights were hitting the performers was absolutely captivating. The way the artificial fog filled the air and assisted me with creating atmospheric photos was beautiful.
Being able to copy the raw emotion of each member of the group onto a RAW image on my camera was the coolest feeling in the world, especially since post-editing is a thing. After that evening, I was smitten. This is where it kind of began for me.
Do you prefer concerts or portraits? Why? I don't really have a preference, honestly; they're both amazing, although, shooting shows really gets me going. There's nothing like catching one of those "I can't wait to edit this!" moments, you know? Especially when you know you're the only photographer in the pit who caught it.
What is your favorite camera(s) to use at concerts? How long have you had it/them? 5D Mark III, hands down. I've been using it for about two years. Before I had this I was working with a Nikon D7000, which has a cropped sensor, so, naturally, switching from that to a full frame was a bit jarring, but it quickly assisted me with stepping my game up.
What would be your ideal camera to shoot live music? Again, the 5D Mark III. I don't think there's anything on the market that can help me out more than this thing has. I would love to mess around and see what images I could create with a Leica M, though.
Do you prefer shooting at small clubs, larger venues or outdoor festivals? Why? Outdoor festivals for sure. Some of my best work has come from FPSF, Lollapalooza and Fader Fort. There's nothing like shooting one of these events during magic hour...it's the best. Plus the crowds tend to get rowdy, which I love. I am a huge crowd-shot guy.
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What is your best/hairiest photo-pit story? My favorite experience in a photo-pit was watching Travis Scott get extremely reckless on stage. I counted more than four stage-dives and a crowd-wide mosh pit, in which he had everyone split right down the middle and had them battle it out once the song dropped. The area turned to a madhouse, and it was amazing. At one point I actually had to put my camera down and help him sit atop of this guy's shoulders for an upgraded 'turn-up,' which was incredible.
How often do you make eye contact with the performers? Has anyone ever called you out onstage? All the time, or I least I set goals to. Recently at Beer Fest, here in Houston, Dryden Mitchell (of Alien Ant Farm) called me out on being late to his set as well as being "super-buff," which is was awesome, but I am not buff...so maybe he was just making fun of me.
What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a music photographer? Simply having my work appreciated. Being a music photographer is amazing and exciting at times, but one thing that it is not is easy. Getting the same ol' cookie-cutter images may be effortless, and that's totally fine, if you want to be that guy, but developing a style that sets you a part from others is a process that takes time.
When viewers and artists start to notice and vocalize their positive opinions on your work, I get super-motivated to do more.
MEET THE OTHER FINALISTS
Come back Tuesday, when Rocks Off will introduce you to finalist No. 7, Josh Ortiz.
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