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.