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Getting Started in Music Photography with Red Bull Photographer Todd Owyoung

Lesson 8 of 24

Shooting for Editorial

Todd Owyoung

Getting Started in Music Photography with Red Bull Photographer Todd Owyoung

Todd Owyoung

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Lesson Info

8. Shooting for Editorial


  Class Trailer
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2 Live Music Photography Duration:13:40
3 Camera Settings Duration:09:34
5 Research & Preparation Duration:06:20
6 Challenges & Pain Points Duration:00:40
7 All Access Duration:16:29
8 Shooting for Editorial Duration:03:15
9 Capturing Music Festivals Duration:03:58
10 Using Speedlights Duration:07:44
11 Photographing Drummers Duration:07:44
12 Gear Duration:25:39
13 Location Scouting Duration:19:57
14 Artist Portraits Duration:06:56
15 Artist Portraits - Stairwell Duration:06:48
16 Artist Portraits - Outside Duration:12:04
20 Getting Started Duration:10:15
21 The Photo Pass Duration:19:38
22 Photo Pit Etiquette Duration:06:29
24 Post Processing Workflow Duration:26:02

Lesson Info

Shooting for Editorial

Now we're going to dive into editorial shooting. This is generally what a lot of photographers getting into music photography are going to experience. You're not shooting for the band. You don't have special access. You're there for three songs and you're out, for the most part. And this is the standard, first three songs, no flash. These are kind of the general rules that almost any venue is going to have, and certainly most artists are going to have, where you have three songs to shoot, may or may not be from the photo pit, and they don't want you to use flash. And when you prepare for a concert for an editorial shoot, research is always key. If you can look up the venue, the artist, the tour itself, and key moments for that show, it's going to pay off for you. And again, you can just go to YouTube. You can go to Instagram for other music photographers who have covered these tours and just see what images they're making. Maybe you see opportunity for an epic shot that someone capture...

d, or a moment that's really well-lit onstage. And these can be on YouTube where a fan is simply recording a song or two on their phone, and you're gonna get this really valuable intel that can kind of give you a leg up and help you prepare for nailing these shots. In terms of individual elements of concert photography, you can capture in those three songs, there are kind of two general buckets or groups. You know, there's the performance itself, in which you have individual performers, and the full group production. And then there's the kind of more atmosphere side. I consider that the crowd, individual fans, and the venue. So this might be getting a crowd shot from front of house, showing through hands in the air, or even a shot of the marquee outside, setting the story for the show itself, or the line of fans outside before doors. And really, for me, live music photography it's all about telling the story, and it's capturing images that tell the whole complete story of this event. It's not just the individuals onstage, 'cause that could be kind of any place. And if you're covering for editorial, they really wanna see what this is about. You know, if it's a specific local venue, they want it to be grounded there. If you're just shooting tighter shots of the form or kind of like head shots or from the waist up, it really could have taken place anywhere. So if you have a venue you're shooting in and it's specific, maybe there's a weird part of the stage, it's really narrow or it's a really deep stage, and a long kind of shotgun venue, showing that off and including those elements and keeping it specific to where you are can be part of the storytelling that you do as a music photographer. You know, and overall, when I approach an editorial assignment, I'm looking at it as creating a mini portfolio, almost. And just like portfolio, you wanna show range and depth. You don't want to show the same elements over and over. So if you're delivering photographer selects to a client for an editorial shoots, you want to approach it like you're building a portfolio in a sense, where you're not including, half images are not just of one member of the band. Or it's not a number of images from the same song and the same lighting treatment. You wanna kind of shoot in a way, even if it's just for three songs, that really captures the fullest breadth of the concert and it shows that kind of range, whether it's detail shots using different lenses, different angles, different positions, capturing different lighting. So showing variety is huge.

Class Description


  • Learn how to price and license yourself as a music photographer
  • Work in even the darkest of venues
  • Capture variety with a band during a short set with limited space
  • Utilize speedlights within a performance
  • Work with performers to pose portraits that capture their music
  • Post-processing techniques to take your image to the next level


With the lights, energy and creativity behind each concert- it’s no wonder that music photography continues to be a dream career. In this course, created in partnership with Red Bull Photography, Todd Owyoung walks through how to get into the music photography business by working with bands, venues and albums. He talks through licensing and pricing your time and your images to publisist, venues, magazines and more. This course goes in the field with Todd and three different bands to walk through how to capture a variety of images in a small amount of time. He teaches how to set up and direct portraits with the band in green rooms and between sound checks. Todd explains how to make even the smallest and grungiest venue make a band look mainstream. This course will teach you composition, working with flash and natural light, directing the band and performers and things to never forget when photographing a live event.


  • Music Photographers
  • Event Photographers
  • Beginners


Todd Owyoung is a music photographer with over a decade of experience specializing in music lifestyle, musician/celebrity portraits, and concert photography. If it rocks, he shoots it. Based in New York City.

He’s obsessed with nailing those rockstar moments, the images that fans love to see of their favorite bands. Whether the venue is a 200-capacity club or Madison Square Garden, shooting for a major brand or on tour, his images place you in the front row.

His clients range from bands and festivals to magazines, lifestyle brands and ad agencies. In 2012, Complex Magazine named him #3 in their list of the "Greatest Music Photographers Right Now".

He’s a Nikon Ambassador for Nikon Camera


Alexandra U

I highly reccomend this class for any one who would like to get started or dip their toes in the concert photography scene. This class has many useful tips and trick for any level of photographer, not just beginners. I have been in the music scene for over 10 years and I was able to gather so much information in every chapter. Watching this video boosted up my confidence as a photographer because it validated that I am already succeeding in my concert career. Thank you for this amazing stream. It sparked my creative soul once again.

Kris Comer

Wow, this was awesome! I have been a concert photographer for almost 3 years now and I still learned some great tips! I loved that he covered different ideas for promo shots which is one of my weaknesses. Any beginner should definitely check out this course! It is straight and to the point with all of the most important steps.

a Creativelive Student

I have been taking Creative Live classes since 2010 and this is at the top with the best classes t I have taken. This may have been the first time Todd taught a class, but you would never be able to tell. He doesn't just brag about the high profile clients he has shot, he also makes sure to relate to the photographer just starting out. I really enjoyed the two live shows as well as the additional portrait shoots. His concepts on location scouting, playing with distortion, multiple poses in one spot, speedlights, etc. can be applied to all kinds of photography, not just music photography. Highly recommend!