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11.10.2009. Photographer dictionary

 3 Songs, No Flash: A mysterious rule. No one really understands why it's there. Some say it's because after 3 songs the band starts to get sweaty thus making the photos less attractive. Some say it's because the band gets distracted by the flash. Some say it's just something a head of security once invented just to show that he could pee the farthest.


AAA: Access All Areas. Originally reserved for people who actually work at the show, nowadays also given to FWC or to NWOEEG, depending on the case.


Agency: People who rip you off of 15% without doing anything.


Anton Corbijn: Someone all the newbies want to be. They all think that noise and black and white shots are art, instead of trying to develop their own style.


Back up body: Something you need at every show, and sometimes FWC will ask you 'why do you have 2 cameras'? Then you smile.


Bassist: a band member who regrets he didn't become a guitarist. To hide his poor career moves, he usually sulks on stage-right with his hair in his face.


Blood: Something that when over-used (see Turisas) gives you a combination of the problems that you get with corpse paint and red lights: no clear facial features due to the red color and an unnatural shine from the stage or sun lights on the shiny blood. Only case where it looks great: cloudy daylight festivals.


Children of Bodom: A band everyone wants to be the official photographer for.


Club stage: usually low and sometimes devoid of a photo pit. In worst case, also dark and smothered in smoke.


Commissioned photographer: Someone who is a professional or semi professional photographer, respected by their peers and above all COMMISSIONED by an established print magazine. They HAVE to deliver the best shots because they're the only ones in the scene who actually get paid.


Corpse paint: something that looks great in sunlight but in clubs you can choose between an over-exposed face or an under-exposed body.


Daylight: Something that can either be wonderful or terrible. It allows you to increase your aperture and shutterspeed combination but when it comes from the side it requires decent exposure compensation and/or flash skills to get right.


Demo bands: people who put together a band and expect photographers to not only give them their live pics for free but since they don't have a record deal, to provide the best promotional photos for free as well. The next logical step would be to redirect them to gear wankers, so that everyone can pretend they're a professional for one afternoon.



DEP (Dillinger Ecape Plan): the worst band to shoot in a club, ever. The band uses constant strobes and smoke. It's clear they don't wish to have any photos taken at all.


Deviant Art: A place for all fans to upload their gig pics. Has turned into a community of amateurs who compliment each other and tend to give advice and comments on things they have no idea about. Usually popular bands get great comments, no matter how shitty the photo. Real photographers don't have time to upload anything on such platforms.


Elinchrom: a word FWC cannot understand.


FWC (Fans With Credentials) That guy or girl who has a proper photo pass to get their P&S into the photo pit but really has no business being there. They are geeking out over the band, blocking your shots, and are really only there because they are "such a big fan." How'd they get their credentials? Who cares. They don't belong there.


Festival stage: Usually ridiculously high and only allows you to get head shots of the frontman.


Fisheye: A lens that used to be pretty cool to capture then entire stage until the hardcore scene made over use of the 'long exposure+ flash' combo and flooded the underground with thousands of below average crowd shots, usually in black and white, that make you regret you ever bought a fisheye.


Frontman: In general the one who's face you NEED on the pics. In practice, the hardest guy to get pics of because unless you're hot he won't pose for you and all the FWC are glued to his mic stand in front of you.


Gear Wankers: Over eager fans who think that they will buy credibility points by showing up to shows with top notch photo equipment. They never learned anything about photography, but they look cool. Imagine buying a Ferrari for someone who doesn't have a driver's license.


Girlfriend: A photographer stupid enough to date a guy in the band. When she's not asked to simply stay home, she usually ends up being the tour manager, accountant, bus driver, merch girl, psychiatrist, babysitter and mom to the whole band. If she's lucky she can also take pics.


Gobo A gobo, in the photo industry, is a piece of opaque material used to block light or view. A gobo, at a concert, is that FWC or even a legit photographer that blocks the shot regularly. Sometimes they just stake out and hole up in the best position, sometimes they just have magical timing and get in front of everywhere you happen to be. "Oh man... that walking gobo already grabbed the best spot!"


Hardcore: A style of music no photographer in his right mind volunteers to shoot. No photo pit, no light, and a lot of flying beers and boots.


Helsinki: A popular destination for music leeches of all sorts, because of the high density of band members that dwell there.


HDR (High Dynamic Range) : Something that was originally cool for landscape photography. The term got stolen and distorted by a new wave of 'artist photographers' (NWOAP), mainly in Finland, who decided to treat live shots with over (and poorly) done HDR-like post production. It looks fake, it looks cheap and it looks like you're trying too hard.


Hose: Something the security on festivals occasionally finds it amusing to direct on a photopit full of photographers on a hot day.


Journalists who wish they could: We're all good at something. But we cannot be good at everything. Here we are talking about proper established journalists who are often friends with bands. They're great at writing and think that because they are backstage with bands who don't allow any other journalists, they are also qualified to take good pics. Instead they are the only ones in the photopit who need a flash to shoot Nightwish.


Leningrad Cowboys: the most photogenic band in the world.


Manowar: a band that most photographers fear. They make you sign a photo contract, and you can only shoot ONE song, from a side of the stage that you have to choose.


Myspace: the place where all the NWOEEG and FWC upload their backstage pics.


NFNC (No Flash No Cash): Something all the 'photographer artists' out there fail to understand. It's perfectly fine for you to post a noisy out-of-focus dark shot on your Deviant Art account, but when you work for a REAL magazine, you need to deliver faces. Ergo: no flash no cash, sorry for the NWOAP.


New Rocks: a good choice of shoes if you intend to walk through mud and drunks and if you want to be 10 cm higher than the rest of the photographers.


Nightwish: the only band in the world you cannot miss a photo of. If you do, you should rethink your choice to become a photographer.


NWOAP (New Wave Of Artist Photographers): A trend that gained popularity over fan pages like Deviant Art. Usually photographers with no training who tend to copy each other's ideas and techniques. These techniques being mainly high contrast darkened daylight festival photos and fake HDR indoors and outdoors. Usually un-sharp and noisy photos tend to be valued over sharp and well composed ones. But they call it art so it's all ok. Most of the time also aware that they have several fans 'watching' them on Deviant Art and thus behave like rock stars.


NWOEEG (New Wave Of Eastern European Groupies) : A new trend since the 2000's. Some girls have figured out how to meet band members without getting kicked out from the backstage: they apply for photo credentials for small Eastern European webzines or their own homepage to get in. Usually just as annoying in the photo pit as the FWC because they have no idea what they are doing and even more annoying in the backstage as they ruin business by giving bands crappy pics for free that you'd have been happy to sell. However, they open their legs faster than you can press your shutter release, so if you're lucky, they're already in someone's bunk before the show is over. Usually moved to Helsinki from Romania, Croatia or other Eastern European countries to be close to their potential new boyfriends.


Official Photographer: Usually someone who has slept with at least one band member.


Pain: A band that always performs in near darkness, which is a real shame when you need to sell their pics.


Photo Contracts: Something the big bands do, because they can. Usually to prevent you from producing bootleg merchandise but also sometimes to strip you of your photographer copyright. We do not like these contract. No we don't.


Photo Jealousy: Something that happens when, once in a blue moon, one of those fans actually gets the money shot because they were shooting from the crowd and you were in the pit fighting for your life. They have a clean shot of the singer with no arms in the front and you don't. And you fucking hate them for it.


Photo Pass: By definition something that commissioned photographers are entitled to, in order to produce the best photos. Nowadays accessible to anyone with an internet connection.


Photo Pit: the battle field that should be a safe place for commissioned photographers to be protected from the crowd and close enough to the band to get decent shots. Some exceptions are bands like Madonna or Motley Crue, who entirely ignore the concept of photo pit and send the photographers to the sound desk where they live with the illusion that a 400mm lens with monopod cannot capture their wrinkles.


P&S: Point & Shoot camera. Click, flash, repeat. Nope, that flash is not going to illuminate a 60 foot stage. The shot isn't going to come out, but good luck! Please don't be upset when I have to get in front of you while you record video for your Youtube page with it.


Promoter: someone who at times doesn't like it when there are too many photographers at his shows, since he could have sold that many more tickets. And right he is!


Pyros: Something that you're usually not allowed to be in the pit for and is also pretty hard to get right when you actually are.


Red Lights: something that makes all band member look flat like a piece of paper. Most metal bands still insist on using them, no matter how many photographers nicely try to hint that it's about time to start using some blue and front lights.


Ross Halfin: Someone all the newbies think they will be. They wish that within the next year Metallica, Sex Pistols and The Foo Fighters will ask them on their jets and fly them all over the world.


Security: People who prevent you from doing your job in the photo pit.


Smoke: Something that makes all your pics look un-sharp and grainy. Do not use flash.


Stabilizer: Something FWC cannot afford. Gear wankers have it. But don't know the difference between Stabilization modes one and two.


Stage Manager: The guy who SHOULD kick out the FWC but sometimes gets confused and gets rids of all commissioned professionals while letting the FWC who is dating the singer keep shooting the rest of the show.


Strobes: Something that prevents your camera from focusing and gives you a nice choice between over and underexposed shots.


Tomi Joutsen: The most photogenic individual on the face of the planet.


Violinist: A band member who has compensated their lack of 'frontman' status by playing an unusual instrument and thus stealing the show (see Turisas or Emilie Autumn - who happens to be both frontwoman and violinist).



Webzines: Something that justifies the existence of FWC and NWOEEG.



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