Learn how to get a photo/press/media pass for concerts and sporting events! I’ve had the pleasure of providing coverage for several media outlets over this past year, including concerts/shows from H.E.R., Travis Scott, Teyana Taylor, Daniel Caesar, Tory Lanez, Roy Woods, Baka Not Nice, Killy, 24Hrs, Anders, and Ramriddlz! I’ve worked for multiple publications including 93.5 the Move and The Come Up Show!
Obtaining these credentials can be hard at first but once you get into one show, you’ll slowly find other ways to get into events. I’ll be teaching you the best ways to get into shows and who you should contact!
1. Build a portfolio
Before you even try sending out e-mails and reaching out to people, you must first have work to show for. This is especially true if you are a freelance photographer and don’t have a company to back you. The best way to do this without spending money to get into events is to shoot public/free events, festivals, and college/university-run events because they are the easiest to get into.
2. Find a media outlet/promotion company to work for
As I mentioned before, it is very hard to get into events as a freelance photographer especially if you don’t know anyone and don’t have the connections. When you have a media outlet backing you and reaching out to artists and promotion companies on your behalf, it makes it a lot of easier for you.
Media outlets get access to almost every event, so my biggest advice is to get into contact with a media company. The same thing goes with working for a promotion company (ex. Live Nation), although they don’t get access to every event, only the events they promote. Media outlets are publications such as magazines, blogs, and radio stations. Often times the most reputable and respected media outlets get access to events, not necessarily the biggest one.
Promotion companies are the people that put together the event, decide what media has access to the events, and promotes the event. Smaller promotion companies will be matched with smaller artists, bigger promotion companies will be matched with bigger artists. If you find a way to make a connection with a promotion company that would be ideal because you’ll have a guaranteed chance of getting into an event, whereas working for a media outlet is not guaranteed.
3. Wait for a response
It took me a lot of time to get to this point. A lot of reaching out to people, literally sending out hundreds of emails a week. I’ve probably only gotten 5-10 responses to this day. Go out there and apply to media passes to festivals, and reach out to people even if you’re unsure if you can get in or not. Soon enough you’ll know enough people to the point you won’t need to reach out to people; that’s what is happening to me.
Why are the media passes given to media outlets?
– The photos taken are usually published in their magazine, blog, or whatever the case is and provides good press (benefit for artists)
– The benefit for the media outlets are they have relevant content to post
If you are working for a media outlet you are only able to shoot the first 3 songs (most of the time) with no flash from the photo pit.
– Allows you to capture enough content
– Allows the personal photographers/videographers to have more exclusive shots
– People directly working with the artist have all-access (they can shoot from ANYWHERE)
Things to keep in mind:
– Not every media outlet will get access to an event
– Most media outlets will only be able to get 1 or 2 media passes
– Only legitimate media outlets get these passes; being an influencer or owning a big Instagram account doesn’t count
– If you do find a media outlet to work for, it will usually be for free
– You will also be notified on very short notice; sometimes the morning before the show.
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Editing Photos from the Travis Scott Astroworld Tour (Lightroom CC Tutorial)
hey guys Steven here back with another video and today I'm making my most requested video ever it's how to get media passes for events like NBA games concerts festivals stuff like that so I have all my media passes right here and this one just recently it's it's from the Toronto Raptors game I'm not sure if it's too shiny but um I'm gonna go I mean literally gonna go through all them and talk about how I got each and every one of them because when I wanted to shoot concerts it was a big goal of mine last year and obviously I've achieved some sort of success and getting into them I just want to go through it because I didn't know what to do like I used to think Oh Emile a bunch of people they'll get back to you and you'll get into the show but even now I don't really know well I do know how to get into shows it's just I haven't consistently gone into shows if that makes sense a lot of these media passes through finessing the system you know like knowing someone or sneaking in or something like that so I'm really gonna just talk about my journey with this and how you can also get an opportunity to shoot your favorite artists so if you guys enjoy this video and want more videos like this I'll hit the thumbs up button let's get straight into it so before I talk about how to get a media pass I think you guys should watch how I got followed by post Malone I'll leave it in the description but basically that's my first show ever that I ever shot and I got really lucky with that and post Malone ended up following me on Twitter so basically I'm gonna just explain the process of getting media pass I usually think if you email it like an opener or a DJ or an artist directly that was the way to do it but I've slowly realized that it's hit or miss with that and if you want a more consistent method of getting into these shows you will have to work for a media outlet especially if you don't know anyone in this music industry and don't know any of the performers or the management or anything like that you need to work for a media outlet so when I say this to people in a reply to their DMS they don't really know what a media outlet is so basically a media outlet is something like a magazine a blog a publication you know like something that covers news and has a platform so if you're looking to get into concerts and stuff like that so music based stuff you want to targets radio stations so that's how I got into Travis Scott through a radio station magazines that cover music blogs that cover music and that sort of stuff so in that aspect you will have to you know send out emails and stuff like that before I was sending out emails to artists directly their management stuff like that but they probably get so many people requesting for that sort of stuff it isn't a good use of your time I'd rather target these media outlets because media outlets will get access to events or like every event essentially so there's two main groups of people who get passes to these type of things so the first one is or actually there's three groups so the first is the promotion company who's putting the whole event together so usually this is Live Nation in Toronto there's promotion company called rap season and side stage presents these are the people who promote the event and put it together usually they already have photographers and stuff like that but if you do have connection with someone who works at a promotion company that would be a good look the second group is the people who are actually performing or have like a performance yeah so like DJs the openers so the openers being like smaller artists that performed before the head and then the headliner which is the main artist the people like the reason people actually going in the show and that's about it so the reason why media outlets get access to these events is because they provide coverage to you know thousands billions of people and they need these photos in order to provide some sort of coverage right they're not just gonna make a blog post or something like that without photos and on the artist side why would an artist's team need these photos it's free photos free coverage on a blog on a magazine on a radio station so why not get that free publicity right and yeah that's basically how you got a media pass you have to contact a media outlet I'm just gonna be talking about everything else now so I have a list right here there's a rule for media passes like if you if you have a media pass and you bring your camera first you cannot use flash most of times you cannot use flash so the reason is I actually have no idea because fans hold up their their cameras that you know flash light on all the time and these work you know videos and stuff like that if you ever see people in the crowd so I'm not sure why that is but yeah I don't know why it also may be distracting if you see like a bunch of photographers just using flash maybe that's probably why another thing is that people with media passes first they're only in the media pit so they do not have backstage access the media pit is usually in front of the front row so that people close this up you're in front of them with bigger tours and events like you know the Drake's actual to work you may be put near the sound box or where those big speakers and where the sounds coming from this the sound board I think that's what's called so for me when I did Travis Scott um it was weird location because we were on the there was two stages and we were on the stage that he wasn't with stuff like that's a little bit more tricky and you will need a longer lens and I heard with the people who do the Drake tour at least in Toronto they were in the wheelchair section sometimes people are even in the mosh pit with their cameras so with bigger events it's a little harder but with smaller venues there's a media pit usually same thing with festivals you may not have a media pit so media is only in the pit and they can only shoot the first three songs I think the reason why is they know wants the publications to have more content than the artist does and I think three songs is enough to get enough content to make a blog post about it or something like that so usually three songs with Travis Scott I got lucky was like five songs because the person who was supervising us was a little nicer I always get this question um do you get to watch afterwards like after those three songs are you able to just put your camera away and watch so this is tricky because I don't have a real like solid answer because with some venues there's really three different ways to go with this sort of Travis Scott or I think bigger events maybe they just kick you out if you have a ticket they'll let you in obviously because you have a ticket and you put your camera to coat-check or something like that but usually with bigger events they kick you out after the first three songs the second thing is they'll make you put your camera in coat-check so this has happened maybe twenty percent of the time and then the rest of the percentages goes to them just letting you shoot but not in the media pit so they'll let you roam around with your cameras but not in the media pit so there's a venue in Toronto called rebel where it's probably like third biggest venue behind the Scotiabank arena which is where Drake and Travis Scott perform and stuff like that but in rebel they allow you to just use your camera afterwards and that's pretty good because rebel has the mid steer artists like Tory Lanez her bryce and taylor black stuff like that um so it's great that you can shoot these artists even more than just the first three songs with Travis Scott only did the first three songs so I actually had access all access to two of three two events so the first one was Roy woods and the second one was Kelly oh actually three and Daniel Caesar as well how I got those three is for Daniel Caesar it was a universe the event so University was putting it together so I would highly recommend you try to reach out to people running the these University events and I try to get to shoot these performances because they're a lot easier because a big promotion company isn't handling everything its students so how I got Daniel Caesar was through the deejay but now I can just contact the school directly or like the people running it in the school so I was about to shoot nav I had to go to Shanghai but I got that through I'm just emailing them like the student council or Union or whatever I'm trying to find the Dino Caesar so I don't think I have the kill II one because sometimes they don't give you a lanyard they give you like a wristband usually for some reason I used to get a lot of lanyards but now I get a lot of response but that's weird so you can see here it says a team all-access so this is Daniel Caesar and this is at Laurier University and in Waterloo on Ontario so this is through the University so a team is like the little group in the school that runs these events so now I know the DJ and the people running the events so now what I can say if I want to shoot other University events is y'all a shot for this University can actually for you guys so that's how I shot tory lanez last weekend actually because i just emailed them the student union and i got in unfortunately I did not get a shoot tory lanez I shot the openers because I had to go to a Raptors game so where's that I have so many things crumbled like scrambled up here but here this is the Raptors game so this is the same day as I was she tory lanez and that was at Ryerson University but it was a trouble but it was hosted by Russian University so there was no promotion company telling me or handling the media you know it's just students I think they accepted everybody who applied for a media pass so usually it's on a website or it's on their Facebook about section or it's a point in their Instagram about section or it's under well you know on their web site or something like that right so um so Daniel Caesar I got that and what's crazy about this is I was only there for like 30 minutes I had all access but it was a school night and this place this university was like an hour and a half way and so I came home really late even though I didn't even shoot for that long and I think it's one of my favorite photos turned out you know in this little thing this um this concert and it was great the other one is Roy was this my favorite media past because it's so clean so this is the this was the sale s to her and I got this through the guy who was running the after party and he knows people within Roy woods camp so I was able to do that so I also shot Tory Lanez another instance and he got me into that as well so usually it's the opposite where you work for me the outlet and then you make these connections but I had these connections before I started so a lot of the events that I got into at the beginning where because I knew people but now I can get into these events by myself so there's another one I think it was a strata event which is like it has to do with cars or something I really don't know if about scars but there's an event they had like a season closer and so out a backstage pass this was Baca not nice young Tori 24 hours and yeah so I knew the guy who was hosting it and like you know had them like he was the emcee so it was the same guy who is who got me into tory lanez and Roy woods right and I was able to shoot that and welcome ovo actually reposted my stuff because Baca is part of ovo that's really dope so actually the Roy woods show actually led me to getting all access to the kilee event because the person who was doing the set design there I've found my Instagram and hit me up and wanted me to shoot the killing one because she was doing the set design for achillea as well so that's cool so let's get back on track with like helping you guys specifically things to keep in mind not all media outlets gets immediate pass so I've been running a media company or like a news company for a bit now and through that process through applying to get media passes not everybody gets media pass only the big and respected media let's get one so there's actually a lot of promotion companies that don't care about how big a certain media outlet is but they care how respected they are and if they're reputable so there's actually something called the comeup show which is a very small media outlet they have like 2,000 followers on Instagram but they get into most events so that just goes to show that you don't have to be working for a complex or a hype beast or something to get against you these events I would even contact those people because they already have their set photographers so I would find smaller ones action also each media outlet usually gets just one photographer so keep that in mind if you already see a media outlet with a photographer then probably don't contact them because that's just wasted time because they wouldn't even be able to get you in the thing with the Travis Scott thing was that I was actually not their main photographer for that media outlet I was actually the backup and that guy who was their main photographer wasn't in the province at the time so I got to shoot that but I think for the upcoming show he will be shooting that and for every other upcoming show but if he's gone then I get it take his place so with ASAP Rocky he was there and I was really sad but you know he got to shoot it so happy for him another thing is these things are usually not paid unless you actually have a very strong relationship with the media outlet especially if they're bigger if they're bigger than they'll pay so Travis Scott I got paid like $75 which isn't a lot but honestly I shot for like 30 minutes so maybe it is but I had to travel all the way to Toronto from the suburbs so but yes most the time it's free but I realized over time that I was so excited for these things I didn't really care about the pay so if you actually really like concerts and stuff like that then it shouldn't really be an issue unless you want to get paid for it then you should try to create connections with bigger outlets because those are the people that are going to be able to pay like the come-up show doesn't pay me to shoot these events so yeah also Instagram accounts are not media outlets like if you know a person with a big hip hop Instagram page that does not count ass be real publications that have been around for a long time and that post news not just like DJ academics although DJ academics could probably get into these events but it has to be like a actual publication so basically to get into these events create a list of media outlets you want to work for email them and hope you get a response that's literally it I haven't even done that at this point I've literally just got lucky with a lot of this stuff and somehow I met someone who has an association with a media outlet but you want a cold email especially if you don't know anyone and also if you're a freelance photographer you need to build a portfolio and also you cannot just email someone without work you need to show them work so how you build work without going you know paying to get into these concerts and shooting it or getting a media pass is go to the free events there's a lot of free events that run maybe not in your city maybe in a city close to you or something like that or a bigger city if you're in the suburbs so in Toronto there's a lot of free events there in the summer those festivals that you can ply you that are very easy to get into just shoot those that can be your portfolio until you get a smaller show you have to start with smaller shows because that's the only way you're gonna get portfolios or once you get your portfolio and everything then you can start sending out emails I think my biggest advice for you guys is contact universities I think that's the easiest target because a lot of artists come through especially from during the first week of school because you know there's just they want to promote everything I don't know like you know there's just a lot of events during that first week homecoming there's a lot of events I've shot like five different University events it was super easy to get into like no hassle I might be doing one on the 31st as well and second do festivals because festivals are a little bit easier and there's a bunch of artists so you will have a lot of content to shoot so the first one I did had kate rana post Malone it was supposed to have top of the crater but he didn't show up or something I don't know but there's a lot of artists there for that reason I got a lot of content in a Bellmer and it built my portfolio at first even though I didn't go to like multiple events I just wanted one in ahead enough for my portfolio essentially with like Raptor games and like NBA games it's similar except you have to find a media outlet that has to do with sports so like bleacher report slam magazine stuff like that will get you in just find a smaller one so there's actually one called good sport that's based in like you Europe or something and my friend actually gets into NBA games through that and we're from like North America so it doesn't actually have to be a local media outlet it just has to be a good one like I think my friends getting into Travis Scott and he's doing it through a media company in LA and they were from Toronto right so it doesn't have to be from around your area honestly contact every single radio station because they have a lot of clout but they don't use it because people listen to hip-hop music on the stage on the radio station sometimes so contact those alright so like this one this was the fee book qualifiers it's like Team Canada Team USA or whatever I got that through my friend who just knew someone so that was lucky this one too another media one this is VIP so I didn't shoot this one I just got VIP and a lot of this is through my management team that I worked for called Rosie management we deal with NBA players so the last Raptors game I did was through them so if you look at this I'm not sure if it shows up but it has Rosie management somewhere here so a lot of the NBA stuff is – my manager he doesn't even get it that often he knows NBA players like he knows a bunch of them so with the sporting stuff it's a little harder because you have to be up up there but with concerts because there's not as many people it's a lot easier against you especially the concert especially the university ones where it's not as big of an event and yeah that's basically it's a lot of the other ones are just wristbands that I can't show because I threw them away but hopefully this helps you out a little bit I know this was a really requested video and I'm just really pissed off because I don't think this whole video was centered I think was too much this this side and it's cheesy me that's why I've been looking here here this is my monitor I've been looking there the whole time but you help you guys enjoy this video if you have any questions I'll be happy to answer them in the comment section yeah my name is Steven and I'll see you in the next one