CJ Harvey stays active all year round. At only 22 years old, she continuously tours with various bands. Most often with New York-based band The Nude Party. She’s also worked closely with Vundabar, Ron Gallo, and many other talented musicians. Here’s a little bit about how she built her portfolio, and figured out how to grow as a photographer:
I used to shoot a show nearly every night when I lived in NYC. It was great practice and made me comfortable with dark venues and fast motion on stage, and allowed me to meet a ton of artists passing through the city. I never charged for my work, as I was still building up my portfolio, and ended up with hundreds of photos to advertise my work to other clients. The music industry is smaller than it often feels, and if you prove how passionate and determined you are to one band, word will begin to spread.
Once you’ve built up a portfolio you feel represents your work well, you can start talking to small blogs and PR companies who will get you photo passes in exchange for images to use in their reviews. Facebook information pages & Instagram DMs will be the easiest way to find a contact who can help you out. You can also reach out to the band directly to see if they’ll put you on the guest list with a photo pass so you can photograph the set. Standard venues allow you to shoot the first three songs of the set (from the pit, if they have one), with no flash or video. Venue staff should be more than happy to confirm these rules once you’re at the show, though!
After you get more and more confident with shooting concerts, you can start narrowing down your clients to a list of people you genuinely want to work with who will pay you a fair rate. The necessary trust between a band and their photographer doesn’t develop overnight. All of the bands I’m lucky enough to tour with now are people who were friends of friends who I built a relationship with over a long period of time.
Check out more of her work over on her Instagram!