It's been a while since I sat down and dispensed some advice on this site so I figured I'd rectify that situation with a little discussion on what to do after one shoots a show or concert. Now I understand that everyone is different and every situation is different, but I did want to give everyone a general idea of what to expect. I mean after you shoot a show for the three songs or whatever limit you get, the work has just begun.
Learn to kill your babies
Don't take this headline the wrong way. It's just a common expression used to tell people they need to give their own work a very critical eye and stop being attached to every thing you produce.
Once you finish your assignment and leave the show, and this will usually be well before the concert is over unless you're there to review the entire performance, the first thing you need to consider is culling your images. Hell, you probably need to do a round of this before you leave the venue. Go through the shots and delete what you know looks bad and not presentable. This will save you a great deal of time when you get home.
The thing to remember is that it's far better to show 20 amazing images than 200 substandard one. No one cares for bulk, especially if everything looks the same and the same really isn't that good. Only show your best work. I'm going to say that again. ONLY SHOW YOUR BEST WORK. I can't stress that enough.
Editing to your outlet
When you get home and start working on your images, and, well, you better start working the minute you get home because this is a field of instant results, you need to determine how the end product is going to look based on the demands of whatever outlet you are shooting for.
Most outlets are not going to want crazy edits or anything over the top. They are going to want the photos to look as realistic and as unprocessed as possible. Sure, you'll have to clean thing up here and there, but this isn't the time to try some ridiculous HDR method or selective coloring or anything like that.
Like with anything you do, you need to know the parameters before you begin to edit and process the images. Plan, prepare, and then act.
Deliver them with a quickness
Now that you got your photos edited and ready to go, when are you going to deliver them? If your answer is not "As quickly as humanly possible", please go back and reconsider. Whoever you are shooting for probably has deadlines and probably wants the photos up as quickly as possible before every other local, regional, and even national outlet has coverage on the show. It is not the time to put them away and decide to work on them a month later.
I literally laugh when I hear people do that as I can't even comprehend doing something so careless. I'm glad the outlet I shoot for has a strict time requirement that causes me to deliver the same night. I appreciate that, and I encourage you all to do the same even if your particular outlet doesn't have the same requirement.
And even if you are shooting for yourself or own site, you should still get in the practice of delivering them as quickly as possible. That's what I do on this site, and that brings me to my next topic...
Promote them with a vengeance
A line I live by is "You call it self promotion. I call it survival". I am going to do a different piece dedicated to self promotion, but I did want to speak about it in regards to this topic. It is up to you to promote your own work. Don't rely on anyone else. It is up to you to get the word out, to let people know the photos exist, and to let them know the work you just did.
Again, I'll touch on this in another blog post, but self promotion, especially social media, should be driving traffic back to the desired "end site", whether it's your own website or the website of your outlet. You want the traffic to ultimately go there. You don't want it to stop on a social media site.
I look forward to talking more about this because I can go one quite a bit about the concept.
Following up is the first step for the next job
When you finish delivering the photos, get the them online, promote them, and all that jazz., the last thing you need to do is follow up with whatever rep for the act you dealt with on this particular show. Send them an email and let them know where the photos can be found online. Thank them for the opportunity and tell them you hope to work with them in the future.
Then, after you do that, sit down and produce a nice hand written thank you note to the same person. Put it in an envelope, stick a stamp on it, and put it in the mail. Include a business card or someway they can get in touch with you. This goes such a long way, and I can't stress it enough. It shows you cared about the work the publicist or rep did to get you into the show. Trust me, they will appreciate it.
I'm going to stop at that point because I think you can get the general idea of things. You need to be timely and razor sharp with what you do with your photos after the fact. You need to be quicker and better than everyone else in your area. If you can't stomach that, well, that's your problem and you need to move aside.
I hope you enjoyed the advice and I look forward to talking about self promotion in my next piece. Let me know what you think about that or anything in this post as well!