This year was filled with learning experiences and challenges, and I’m happy that I persevered through it, because I feel like I came out stronger in the end and ended up creating some of my favorite photos to date.Read More
Man, I'm slacking. It's literally the last day of August and I'm just now posting my July blog. Sorry!Read More
Warped Tour was interesting this year. I've been going to Warped for a good 10 years, and it has always been at Invesco Field (or Mile High Stadium, or Sports Authority Field, whatever you want to call it) and this year it was in the Pepsi Center parking lot, which was significantly smaller and with less grass to sit in and no cool bridge over the stages. I'm a little biased but I really really missed it being at Invesco and it sort of threw me off. However, I'm still really happy with my photos. It was just navigating the venue that was sort of annoying.
I really wanted to spend some time on these photos. While I managed to shoot more bands than I did last year, I wanted to be able to capture the essence of each band in my photos and edit them accordingly. Last year, I made a preset for my Warped Tour photos and edited them as fast as possible just to get them up, which was nice and all but it left a lot of my photos looking very similar. This year, I took my time and edited them in a way that I felt suited each band. (For instance, I felt that my PVRIS photos needed to be more on the purple side, whereas my Beartooth ones are very bright and perfect for the time they played, which was right around sunset.)
Like last year, I'll talk a little bit about each band and their set throughout this blog. Enjoy!
I Killed The Prom Queen - To be honest, I was a little thrown off that these guys were the first band of the day because they're just so amazing. But they had SO MUCH energy throughout their entire set. I got my first jump shot of the day in about one song, which I'm pretty sure is record timing for me, so that was pretty awesome. I also edited these photos a little harsher and grittier.
Escape The Fate - I shot these guys a while back and had some down time in the beginning of my day, so I figured the natural thing to do would be to shoot them again! Escape The Fate is just always so energetic and exciting, so I gave these photos some high contrast and bright colors. They're just too fun!
Transit - It felt so weird to be shooting these guys from a barricade. Last time I shot Transit was at The Marquis and it was insanity. They're meant to play small venues with crowd surfing and stage diving and sing alongs. So instead, I obnoxiously sang along from the barricade, which was pretty cool. I wanted these photos to be bright and vibrant because they were really happy on stage. (Also because it was super sunny and hot while they were playing haha)
Hundredth - This was actually one of the shoots I struggled with, unfortunately. I'm not unhappy with my photos of them, but I've definitely taken better ones at smaller venues that I like more. Hundredth is another band that shouldn't have a barricade haha. But I still walked away from this set with some photos I liked! My friend Jesus also hopped on stage and did some guest vocals during their set which was pretty sweet.
Neck Deep - I didn't take as many photos as I wanted to of Neck Deep, but I sadly only caught one song of theirs. They're always super fun to shoot, though!
Moose Blood - This was one of the few bands that I NEEDED to shoot and see this year. I've been listening to Moose Blood non stop for a while now and have been dying to see them live, and I'm really happy that I got to shoot them their first time in Denver. This was definitely one of the sets I took a lot of care in how I edited. I really wanted these photos to reflect them as a band.
Palisades - I totally accidentally ended up shooting these guys but I'm so glad I did! I loved their new album and really wanted to catch them the Warped but didn't think I'd have the chance to do so, so this was a nice surprise. I unfortunately only got to shoot one song, so there aren't a ton of photos.
Silverstein - I love love love shooting Silverstein. They've been one of my favorite bands since high school and I always jump at the chance to photograph them. This was purely me being selfish and shooting a band I really love, so there are a crapload of photos and I edited them very simplistically.
Riff Raff - This was sort of an unplanned shoot, and we really only got like one song, so there are only a few photos, but it was goofy and fun as hell!
Our Last Night - I really like shooting these guys, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity when I had some down time during their set. They're super fun. I wasn't really sure how I wanted to edit these photos, so I just focused on making them look pretty!
August Burns Red - These guys are way too much fun to shoot, so I couldn't pass up the chance to do so! Jake and his mic swinging really gives me a chance to take some cool wide shots. These are definitely some of my favorite shots from the day, especially with the way I chose to edit them, with a bit of a green tint and saturated colors.
The Wonder Years - I love shooting The Wonder Years, though for some reason this shoot was a little tough. I think I was partially distracted because I just finished up my only interview for the day and was getting back in the swing of shooting, and partially because I was freaking out about Soupy’s Bernie Sanders shirt haha. There are definitely some photos in this set that I really love, though. I also gave these photos more of a blue feel to them to match TWY’s backdrop and Soupy’s shirt.
Crossfaith - Please bear with me while I gush about how incredible Crossfaith’s set was. Seriously, if I could just shoot this band until the end of time, I would be happy. Their energy on stage was insane and they were too much fun to shoot. They really know how to put on a show. I wanted to edit these photos with the colors toned down a little bit, using a lot of black and white to keep it simplistic. This was easily my favorite shoot of the day. They were insane. 10/10 would shoot forever.
BoyMeetsWorld - I shot these photos for the upcoming issue of The Prelude Press. These guys were super neat and fun to shoot, especially a little up close and personal on a small stage like this one. Go check them out!
'68 - ’68 is so much fun to shoot. I shot them last year on Chiodos’ headlining tour and they were hilarious and super energetic. It was the same at Warped Tour, if not more so, and this set was amazing, especially when Josh started throwing his guitar in the air.
PVRIS - This is biased because I love them and was really looking forward to seeing them, but this was definitely one of my favorite performances and shoots of the day. This band is incredible and seeing them on a main stage was amazing. There were also some new editing styles that I really wanted to try out specifically on their set, so that was fun too. I definitely spent a lot of time finding the right way to edit these photos, as well, and I felt the purple tint really suited them.
Black Veil Brides - I’ve really been dying to photograph this band. I don’t really listen to their music, but I always see incredible photos of them and wanted to take some of my own! They didn’t disappoint at all and it was a ton of fun.
We Came As Romans - It has been like 3 years since I’ve shot this band, and somehow I had some free time during their set so I ran over and got some photos of them! I’m super in love with the way I edited these, too, as the colors match their amps
Mod Sun - The first time I saw Mod Sun was back when I was a Junior in high school. That was also the last time I saw him, sadly. Every time he has been through Colorado, I have missed him for some reason or another and never had the chance to photograph him until now, and it was so much fun! This dude is so freaking happy on stage, and it made for a really fun shoot
Beartooth - I love Beatooth so much. They were one of my must shoots of the day. They’re always so crazy and Kamron almost always climbs in the crowd, so I knew it would make for great photos, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m also really happy with the warm way I edited these.
Asking Alexandria - I shot these guys last year at Mayhem and it was a ton of fun, so I didn’t want to miss them this time around. Their new vocalist (who I haven’t shot before) was super fun to shoot.
Miss May I - These guys have been one of my favorite bands to shoot for a very long time. Levi Benton is a really photogenic dude and he always poses well for cameras. This was the last band of the day, so the crowd was pretty wild, as well. It was a lot of fun!
WOW. I can't believe that 2014 is already nearly over. This year has been absolutely incredible, even if it was stressful as hell sometimes! I finally took the leap this year and started up my own music magazine, and I couldn't be happier with how things have gone so far! I also got to shoot Warped Tour for the first time this year, got to shoot bands that I've been listening to for YEARS (AFI, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold & Ted Nugent, I'm looking at you) and I've made some incredible lifelong friends along the way.
Below are some of my favorite live shots I've taken this year (and the stories behind them) in no particular order. Here's to an even busier 2015!
AFI @ Fiddlers Green Amphitheater, 9/8/14
I've been listening to AFI for years, and to be able to shoot them for the first time this year was such an amazing experience! Davey Havok is just such an amazing frontman, I almost didn't even feel worthy to shoot this show, haha. I also didn't get approved for this show until a few hours before, so that was an emotional rollercoster in itself. I'm pretty sure that I nearly screamed when I got this shot. This is one I'll love for years to come.
Warped Tour Denver, 8/3/14
The guy in this photo is my friend, Trevor. I always get photos of Trevor crowd surfing, stage diving, singing along and being an overall badass, but this is hands down one of my favorite photos I've ever taken of him at a show. I know it's not of a band or anything, but I feel that shooting the crowd can sometimes be just as important as shooting the band. If I wouldn't have turned around to see this, I wouldn't have gotten the shot.
Ted Nugent @ The Gothic, 7/30/14
I'm pretty sure that my father has never been more proud of me than he was when I told him that I was photographing Ted Nugent. Opinions on what comes out of the man's mouth aside, he's an insane performer. Shooting this show was absolutely surreal. (It was also a little terrifying considering the amount of protesters outside the show.) But when I look back on these photos, it's still hard for me to believe that I actually shot this show.
All Time Low @ The Ogden Theatre, 4/17/14
All Time Low is definitely one of my favorite bands to shoot, and on top of that, Jack Barakat is an insane performer. The first few times I shot All Time Low, I tried to get some decent photos of Jack jumping like this (he does it pretty often, anyone who has shot them will tell you that) but every time I caught him jumping, there was something off about the photo - it was badly composed, the lighting was bad, there was a mic stand in the way... it was always something. This just happened to be the perfect moment, though. I knew it the moment I snapped the photo, and I couldn't be happier with the result.
Yellowcard @ Summit Music Hall, 11/11/14
I fucking love shooting Yellowcard. In the past year, I've gotten the chance to shoot them three times, and every single show has been incredible. These guys have so much heart on stage, and Sean Mackin has easily become one of my favorite people to photograph. He always shows so much emotion that, as a photographer, it's hard not to gravitate toward him. There were two other shows this same night that I really wanted to shoot (The 1975 and Slipknot) that I passed up in favor of shooting this, and if that doesn't say a lot about my love for Yellowcard, I don't know what does!
Skrillex @ Red Rocks, 6/21/14
The first BIG show I ever shot was Skrillex. The first electronic show I ever shot was also Skrillex. Needless to say, it was super overwhelming. It was also about two years before the second time I got to shoot him, when this photo was taken. Anyone who shoots electronic shows will tell you how hard it is to get good shots of the musicians, as they spend most of their time behind a booth on a stage that is almost nearly as tall as you are. Thankfully, that was not the case with this show, though. Red Rocks' stage is pretty low and Skrillex had this badass spaceship that he kept climbing out of. I still can't believe I got this shot.
'68 @ The Gothic Theatre, 5/14/14
It hurts my heart to know that I never got the chance to photograph The Chariot, but '68 is definitely the next best thing. As I've said before, I love it when band members interact with the photographers, and Josh Scogin did exactly that when I got the chance to shoot them for the first time. One second, I'm taking a photo of him looking right at me, the next, I'm snapping away while he leans over the stage to lay the head of his guitar on my camera's lens. These photos are the result, and I couldn't be happier with them. (Plus, Josh liked them, so that made me super happy!)
The Story So Far @ The Marquis Theatre, 9/28/14
Normally, this would have been a throw away photo. The night of this show, my flash kept shorting out and stopped working all together about two songs into The Story So Far's set, which mean that I got to test the real power behind my camera by cranking up the ISO to try and get some salvageable photos. I try not to rely on flash, but lighting at The Marquis is terrible, and I was scared that my photos would reflect that. Instead, I walked away with this super soft looking intimate moment between Parker Cannon and the crowd. Again, this isn't a shot I'd normally go for, but I love the way that it turned out.
The Word Alive @ Warped Tour, Denver, 8/3/14
THIS FREAKING PICTURE. I know for a fact that I screamed when I got this photo. The Word Alive was one of the bands that I had been super excited to shoot this day, because of how Telle Smith acts in front of a camera, but I had been in no way prepared for him to do this. There's a good five photos before this one of him seeing me and coming closer before he actually made eye contact with my lens.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, I LOVE when band members interact with the photographers. It doesn't have to be 100% serious all the time. In fact, I love photos like this way more than I love the ones of them pretending that they don't know I'm there.
I love love love shooting Telle Smith.
Memphis May Fire @ Summit Music Hall, 3/16/14
Another great example of band members interacting with photographers. This was the first show I shot with my new lens this year, and while Memphis May Fire's lights were gorgeous, I found myself struggling to get a good photo of Matty Mullins that wasn't up his nose or where the mic wasn't blocking his face. And then suddenly, this happened. I honestly don't know how or why, but suddenly, he was in front of me, staring into my camera and I was snapping away. This will forever be one of my favorite photos. The moment was just so perfect.
Chiodos @ Summit Music Hall, 7/27/14
I got the chance to shoot Chiodos twice this year, and both times were incredible. While the first show was amazing mostly because I got to interview Craig beforehand, I was even happier with my photos from this date. (I owe a lot to the lovely Ashley Osborn for making sure that the lighting was amazing!) This moment was just perfect, though. Right place at the right time.
Emarosa @ The Gothic Theatre, 5/14/14
Another band that I got the chance to shoot more than once this year, and I'm super grateful that I did! I definitely wasn't expecting Bradley Walden to spend more time in the crowd than he did on stage, but somehow it resulted in great photos like this one, so I'm not complaining! It's easy to tell when a band member really cares about their fans and believes in what they're doing, and I definitely get that vibe from Bradley whenever I shoot him. Definitely one of my favorite people to shoot and one of my favorite shots this year.
Twenty One Pilots @ The Ogden Theatre, 5/16/14
This was my first time shooting Twenty One Pilots, and despite having seen them before, I was absolutely not prepared. They and their lights were unpredictable, making it really hard to get a solid shot, but somehow I walked away with this perfect moment. I love this photo and can't wait to shoot them again!
Man Overboard @ The Ogden Theatre, 4/17/14
I have been listening to Man Overboard for years, so to finally get the chance to shoot them was amazing. This shot is definitely not something I would normally go for. In school, I was basically taught that empty space is terrible, that a photo as "unbalanced" as this wouldn't work. Maybe that's part of the reason why I dropped out. Haha. But yeah, I normally wouldn't go for a shot like this, but then those lights came on and Zac put his hands up and it was just too perfect to pass up. Sometimes, the weirdest composition makes for the coolest photos if you do it right. What do photography professors know anyway?! (Also MOB really liked this photo which made me super happy)
Avenged Sevenfold @ Red Rocks, 7/14/14
I still can't believe I shot Avenged Sevenfold. If you would have told 15 year old Shannon that she'd be photographing this band at Red Rocks of all places, she would have laughed at you. But for real, I'm eternally grateful to my amazing friend, Svetlana, who had an extra photo pass for this show and gave it to me. It was an amazing experience. This was actually the first show I shot at Red Rocks that wasn't an electronic show and man was it perfect. I got a ton of photos of A7X that I loved, but this one takes the cake. It's so perfect.
Every Time I Die @ Warped Tour, Denver, 8/3/14
I just love shooting Every Time I Die, and shooting them at Warped was even better than I could have expected. There's no long story behind this photo, I just really like Keith Buckley's hair. Haha.
The Neighbourhood @ The Ogden Theatre, 6/25/14
This show was such a roller coaster ride. I didn't think I was going to get approved, but I did. Then I got to the venue and I wasn't on the list, so I panicked. Then we got it figured out, and then this happened. The NBHD's publicist made it clear that the photos of them were to be in black & white ONLY, which I was a little nervous about at first, because I feel that I sometimes rely on vibrant colors to make my photos pop. But as they got on stage and their white lights came on, I was in heaven. (It also helps when the person you're taking photos of is undeniably attractive... haha.) But this show was incredible and I love all of my photos from it!
Bring Me The Horizon @ The Ogden Theatre, 2/13/14
Normally, I hate my wide crowd shots. I always feel like I could do better, that the moment wasn't right, the lights weren't perfect, ect... However this is hands down one of my favorite photos I have ever taken. This was the first time I shot Bring Me The Horizon and it was my first big show of 2014, so I was nervous and overwhelmed and felt a lot of pressure to get good photos. Somehow, I just managed to capture this perfect moment right when they shot confetti into the crowd, and the result is this photo. Sometimes I forget that I actually took it, haha.
The Word Alive @ The Marquis Theatre, 12/10/14
As I said above, Telle Smith is easily one of my favorite people to photograph, hence the reason that The Word Alive is the only band pictured twice in this gallery. I got the chance to shoot them three times this year (holy shit, three) and each time was not only a unique experience, but also super fun. At first, I was really upset that I wasn't able to shoot from side stage for their set this time around, but then I was thankful, because if it weren't for me getting pushed out of my comfort zone, this photo wouldn't have happened. I never take crowd shots at The Marquis. Their lighting is usually awful and the stage is really low, so it just never works. But TWA had their own lighting and risers, and Telle Smith loves to interact with the crowd, making for this perfect shot. I can't wait to shoot them again! This was one of the last shows I shot this year, and I'm glad to say that I feel that I went out with a bang.
letlive. @ The Marquis Theatre, 4/25/14
So, I lied. I know that I said these photo are in no particular order, but I definitely saved the best for last. This photo of letlive. is easily my favorite photo I have ever taken. EVER. Normally, I say that after a show - I'll be going through my photos and look at my boyfriend and go "these are the best photos I've ever taken" and then a few months later I shoot another show and that same thing happens. I suppose that's a good thing, as it means I'm always growing and getting better, but even now, eight months after this photo was taken, I can confidently say that this is still my favorite photo I've ever taken. Hell, it might even be my favorite photo that I will ever take.
Some people may argue and say, "But Shannon, what about this photo? I think this one is better!" and that's cool, but this is my favorite. Maybe it's because I love letlive. or maybe it's because Jason is one of my favorite people to shoot (and one of my favorite people in general), but I like to think that it's the emotion on Jason's face in this photo and the incredible show that led up to this exact moment.
If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Jason Butler, then you probably know why everyone loves him so much. This man is so genuine - he cares about his fans so much, and it's not just an act. It's not about making money or looking cool. It's because he's a good dude, and I feel that this photo encompasses just that. This was taken during the last few seconds of the last song of their set (it was Renegade 86, if I remember correctly) and fans had stormed the stage to sing along with the band. It was the perfect ending for their set, during much of which fans kept jumping on stage to hug Jason while he performed. (and he never once turned one of them down.)
I think this is my favorite photo because it captures who Jason Butler is as a person and it captures what letlive. is about, and every time I look at it, I'm reminded why I keep shooting shows. It's for moments like this - moments that make me passionate about what I do and remind me why I keep doing it.
Thank you, letlive. for igniting that passion every single time I look at this photo and every time I get to photograph you. Here's to an incredible 2015. <3
It’s about damn time. I’ve been wanting to shoot The Vans Warped Tour for years now. I know it’s a fairly easy festival to gain access to, but year and year again, it just kept not happening for me. And while I wish I would have been able to shoot previous years on the tour, looking back on it, I probably wouldn’t have been ready for it. 20 bands in one day had me pretty fucking exhausted by about 7PM, but it was so worth it. I finally got my chance to show what I can really do and shoot Warped Tour with some of my best friends (I’m looking at you, Svetlana Joukova, Jordan Altergott, Nick Reece, and Eric Goitia) and I got to shoot some bands that I love. I’m super stoked on all of my photos from Warped. Below, I'll list every band that I shot and kind of talk about every set a little bit. I hope you don’t mind my rambling – I’m just super excited!
Terror – They were the perfect band to open up my day. They were amazing and high energy and, even though there weren’t any stage drives like usual, they were super fun to shoot.
State Champs – I was super bummed when I missed State Champs when they came through Denver earlier this year, so I was super stoked to get the chance to see them at Warped! I think I was obnoxiously singing along with them in the pit more than I was actually taking photos, but I don’t care. It was awesome!
Stray From The Path – I’ve been jamming to their new album a lot lately so I was pretty excited to shoot these guys too. (Plus some of my friends had threatened to hurt me if I didn’t shoot them, haha.) But their set was a ton of fun, too. Lots of crowd surfers. Lots of cool pictures.
Real Friends – They were another band I was really looking forward to shooting and they didn’t disappoint either. Their vocalist was even jumping around barefoot on stage. I got some awesome crowd surfing photos of my buddy Trevor during their set too.
The Word Alive – Alright, let me talk a little bit about The Word Alive. I shot these guys for the first time earlier this year, and by the end of their first three songs, I was absolutely smitten with Telle Smith. This man is an absolute dream to photograph. He knows how to play a camera and how to help us photographers get great shots and he definitely didn’t hold back at all this time. When I got the photo of him screaming into my lens (below, you’ll know which one, haha) I literally jumped up and down in the photo pit like a little girl. I keep looking at my photos of The Word Alive and I can’t believe how amazingly they came out. I don’t think it’s possible of any of these men to photograph badly.
Yellowcard – I fucking love shooting Yellowcard. And yeah, I might be a little biased because the Denver Broncos posted a photo I took of Sean last time they were in town, but I don’t care. They’re super fun to shoot, especially when I get some sweet posi-jump photos within the first few seconds of their first song.
Every Time I Die – I live for shooting bands like ETID. This entire band is so insane live. Between Jordan running around in circles on stage, Keith leaping into the crowd and Andy playing in the pit, their set was one of my favorites of the day.
Parkway Drive – Parkway was probably the easiest band of the day to shoot. Their vocalist definitely knows how to pose for the camera and I had a ton of great shots before their first song was even over. I left the pit early because of that, and because it was uncomfortably packed.
Four Year Strong – The last time I saw FYS was years ago, so needless to say, I was just stoked to see them, let alone shoot them. Not to mention their new EP is amazing. But yeah, once again, I was obnoxiously singing along in the pit during this set.
This Wild Life – I got the chance to see/shoot TWL for the first time earlier this year and I was so stoked for the chance to do so again at Warped! They’re awesome dudes who make awesome music and incredibly photogenic… haha. I only caught the third song to shoot, but I still got some photos I love. They also got a crowd surfer during their set and it was adorable and hilarious.
The Story So Far – I love TSSF but I don’t necessarily love shooting them. Parker Cannon mostly just stands straight up when he performs, which is awesome for the crowd but not really awesome for photographers looking straight up his nose. That being said, I FINALLY got some good photos of Parker this time around and I’m super excited about them.
Issues – I love love love shooting Issues, but the lighting during their set was god awful. Unlike all of the other bands during the day who had nice shaded stages, Issues set was right around sunset and the sun was pretty much shining directly on them, creating super gross harsh light. Thankfully I still got some salvageable photos of them!
Saves The Day – Once again, I was threatened by a friend if I didn’t shoot them. Their lighting wasn’t preferable either so I only got a few shots I was happy with, but they were super fun to watch – especially their Hotel California cover, haha
Bayside – This was a must-shoot for me, much like many of the other bands I photographed. Anberlin’s bassist, Deon Rexroat also joined them on stage. It was awesome.
The Devil Wears Prada – I’ve shot The Devil Wears Prada multiple times over the past few years and Mike is always a dream to shoot, so I was super excited to get the chance to shoot them in a festival setting. Upon looking over my photos later, I was a little amazed with how much I’ve grown as a photographer since the first time I shot them. You can read an entire post about it on my tumblr, here.
Ice Nine Kills – I only caught one song of their set, and didn’t get many great photos of them, but I’m happy with the ones I did decide to keep. Shooting them was kind of a last minute decision to run all the way from one stage to another, so I didn’t get a ton of photos.
Enter Shikari – I was super excited to shoot these guys all day long! The first time I saw/shot them was actually the second show I ever shot, and I had been completely overwhelmed back then but I knew I was ready now. And boy was I ready. I’m so stoked on all of these photos!