January is just about to be done for DSmithScenes Concert & Photography. I came to that realization today when I sent off my first concert photography request for a show in February. That being said, though, January has been, well, a dry month for me. I wanted to take a few moments to give you all an update and some advice on how to handle things when shows are few and far between.
When January ends, I'll, at the most, have shot 6 credentialed shows in addition to at least 1 local show and the possibility of another. That might seem like a lot, but there are two shows still out there that could easily turn to a no coverage situation, which could cause that end of the dynamic to max out at 8.
What I'm trying to say is that I've had a lot of misses to start out in 2018. I keep a log of all the shows that I have been approved to photograph. Starting this year, I am no longer deleting the ones that result in no coverage because I want to see the full picture of the concert photography year. I am currently looking at a big chunk of red on that spreadsheet to signify a string of shows that resulted in a no approval for whatever reason.
While this might be frustrating, and trust me, it can be at times, it's not an uncommon thing. Dry spells happen all the time, and January is ripe for it. Everyone is just coming off the holiday season so there are not that many shows to start. Even just a few rejections can turn the month upside down and make it a dry month. It has happened before, and it will happen again. Don't take it out on the artists, publicists, and management. No one is guaranteed or entitled to cover a show so don't ever take a rejection personally. I know I have talked about this before, but I feel it needs to be repeated.
If a dry month happens, it is a matter of what you decide to do to combat it instead of letting the lull consume you. Granted, I've had some personal bad luck in other photography outlets that I thought would counteract the anticipated downtime. A trip to Las Vegas, including a visit to the Grand Canyon, was tarnished a bit when I had a backup camera and lens (Which I had just ordered) stolen out of my hand on the Las Vegas Strip. That meant I couldn't do any really detailed photography work for the rest of the trip. The replacement lens that I ordered after the theft also stopped working properly so that ruined a planned photo day in the city of Birmingham when the weather turned nice this past weekend.
These were all frustrating situations, but I couldn't let them get me down completely. I had a lovely winter wedding to photograph, which took up a significant amount of time and resulted in some fantastic results for the client. I was rather happy with that whole experience, especially since January weddings can be a bit uncommon around here. I also got out to photograph a really fun local show at Saturn, which I documented on this site earlier. That show did allow me to experiment and play around with things more that I would during a normal concert shoot. I got to relax a bit more and enjoy the process.
So, what I am trying to say is that a dry month on the concert photography calendar can be balanced if you do allow yourself to branch out and do other things. Go have fun and explore with your camera. Shoot a small local show. Experiment with a new field or genre. Find new areas of inspiration. It is all up to you on how you spend your time and apply it to the concert photography field when you get back to shooting shows on the regular. Don't make this the only thing you do because it will then limit yourself a great deal.
I know each person has a different and unique perspective and concert photography calendar, but I did want to share mine in the hopes it will help someone else. January might have produced sparse results on the concert photography calendar, but February does look promising. Here's hoping the dry spell ends when the calendar changes to that month.