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: Tell us a little more about yourself. Victor Cervantes: To begin, my name is Victor Cervantes and I am a graphic designer/photographer currently based in Houston, Texas. I have been a full time graphic designer since 2005, after graduating from The Art Institute of Houston. I have been photographing professionally for two years now, but started my interest in photography about four years ago.
I currently own my own graphic design and photography business. Which I feel blessed to do what I love for a living.
What inspired you to become a music photographer? Back in the summer of 2012, a really good friend of mine named Melanie DeLeon was working at Univision Radio in Houston. She had mentioned to me about the H20 Music Festival in Dallas, up to 20 bands like Snoop Dogg, Intocable, Mana, Tiesto, Ramon Ayala [and] Weezer, just to name a few that were playing at that show. Without having a clue how to photograph a concert, I asked her to show the marketing department several of my photos I had taken from family parties and vacations in order for me to get a press pass to go to Dallas.
I remember telling her on a Friday I wanted to go, on Monday of the next week she submitted my photos, on Tuesday I was asked to take promo photos at her job. [I] turned the photos in Wednesday and they approved my work, and by Saturday of that same week I was in Dallas photographing my first music festival. Since that day I knew that music photography was for me.
Do you prefer concerts or portraits? Why? Concerts all the way. It's the ultimate fan experience you can't buy your way in.
What is your favorite camera to use at concerts? How long have you had them? I only own one camera, a Nikon D90 [I've had] since 2010. I plan on upgrading very soon.
What would be your ideal camera to shoot live music? I would love to own a Nikon with a full frame on it. Maybe like a Nikon D810.
Do you prefer shooting at small clubs, larger venues or outdoor festivals? Why? I prefer larger venues. Better lighting on the singer/band.
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What is your best/hairiest photo-pit story? The wildest one I can remember was photographing Pesado (Mexican Norteño band) in Houston, and watching women take their bras off and throw them onstage for the band. The lead singer collected a few from women that night. Sure was something to see.
How often do you make eye contact with the performers? Has anyone ever called you out onstage? Direct eye contact with the bands happens at just about every show I have done. They usually pose for me when they know I have the camera pointing straight at them, which makes the perfect shot.
I've had several bands call me out by my photography nickname "monsterpixs" while the show is going. It's legit to hear one of my favorite bands give me a shoutout during their set -- I consider it my my five seconds of rock-star fame.
What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a music photographer? To live the fan experience of watching your favorite bands perform, and being able to capture moments of their show on camera is the best. And having bands post my photographs on their social medias, [and] direct phone calls or emails to thank me for the work I did is rewarding to me.
MEET THE OTHER FINALISTS
Come back tomorrow, when Rocks Off will introduce you to finalist No. 6, Greg Noire.
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