Fink Tour “Hard Believer” in Austria 2015!

Fink Hard Believer Tour Salzburg Austria

I worked with Fink several times over the last 3 years and it’s been a fruitful collaboration. In this blog post, I’ll talk about the different projects I was involved in with Fink over the last few years and about my adventure joining them on their latest tour.

Fink and the beginning of a great collaboration

A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to shoot the Fink concert for his club in Vienna a couple of years ago. I had never heard of Fink before. Wikipedia told me that Fink, aka Finn Greenall, is a producer/DJ who had recently started making a career as a singer/songwriter. Not only is he the co-writer of Amy Winehouse’s song „Half time“ and has collaborated with John Legend on the song „Move“ for the “12 Years A Slave” soundtrack, but his music has also appeared in TV series such as „The Walking Dead“ and „House of Lies“. I listened to some tracks on YouTube and was immediately hooked by their atmospheric sound.

When they started their show in the WUK, I had the feeling that Fink were going to perform something special on stage, that evening in 2012. They had a unique stage lighting concept designed by 59Productions (also responsible for the design of Jonsi’s Go Do World Tour) which consisted of hundreds of table lamps mounted on a steel frame. The band was half surrounded by this construction, making the stage look like a spaceship from the near future. For a concert photographer it was the perfect foundation to get some awesome shots of the show. I was pretty certain that there would be enough light on stage to shoot at low ISO’s. However, I soon found out this wasn’t the case as soon as I started taking photos. Using ISO 6400, an aperture of 2.8 and a shutter speed of 1/125sec proved me dead wrong. Backlighting, together with a lot of fog on stage, made it difficult to get the shots I was hoping for. For the first 3 songs, I tried to capture the moments on stage as best I could and fortunately got a few great shots. After I left the photo pit, I watched the whole concert which marked the start of Fink becoming one of my favorite bands.

Concert - Fink

My Fink photo in the booklet of their live album “Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet”

Two weeks later, I got a phone call from their manager in the UK. He told me that the band was so impressed by the concert pictures I took in Vienna, that they would love to use one of my photos for the booklet of their upcoming live album “Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet”. I totally freaked out! It had never happened to me before that a band manger had called me and asked for permission to use one of my photos. I was still a beginner in this field of music photography, but I was aware of the business side and we worked out a deal that worked well for both myself, as a photographer, and Fink, as an artist. Some months later, I received the album „Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet“ with a note „Sent with best wishes from Fink“ in it. I opened the booklet and there was my photo, on page 30 – my first album publication!

Fink Hard Believer Tour

In 2014, they released their acclaimed album „Hard Believer“ and played in Vienna again. I got in contact with Tim (drummer) and we arranged for me to shoot their entire show that evening. Additionally, I held my first „How to Become A Rockstar Photographer“ Workshop and participants got the exclusive chance to shoot the first 3 songs of the Fink concert with me from the pit. Fink used an updated version of their stage lighting system. Depending on the size of the venue, they can easily adjust the steel frames to their needs. The lighting conditions were quite challenging again, but I guess that’s the best way to learn concert photography! This time, I also had the great opportunity to have stage access for the whole show which changed the game completely. Having no restriction from a band is the best thing that can happen to you as a concert photographer. No pit, no 3 song rule, and no arguing with security guards. You’ll become a band member for an evening, working together with the artist to deliver your best work possible. My photos turned out pretty good and 59productions got in contact with me to get some of my Fink shots for their online showcase.

Fink Hard Believer Tour Austria Hombauer

Backstage talk with Tim and Fin in the Arena, Vienna (c) Jana Maria Sabo

Half a year later, Fink announced their upcoming Austria tour in Salzburg, Tirol and Vorarlberg. Being a tour photographer for Shantel, Peter Gabriel and Elvis Costello the year before gave me enough confidence to ask Fink to join them. I got in contact with them again and their email answer was: „We’d be cool with you coming along on tour with us“. When I get these kinds of opportunities, I always try to experiment as much as possible with photography. Therefore, I got in contact with Fuji and they graciously offered to lend me two of their best prime lenses – a 35mm f1.4 and a 56mm f1.2 for my X-T1. In addition, I teamed up with Lomography and tested their analog Lomo Compact Automatic (LCA) 120 medium format camera. Equipped with all these gadgets and my concert photography workhorse Nikon D700 and various Nikon lenses, I took the train from Vienna to Salzburg to start the adventure.

The next 3 days with Fink was like meeting old friends. We had a lot of fun! I had access to all areas and was allowed to shoot whatever I wanted to shoot. My aim as a music photographer on tour is to not only cover the concerts, but document the band’s everyday life. For this purpose, I switched my big and clumsy Nikon gear for the Fuji X-T1 with the prime lenses ( I love these lenses!). This combo allows you to become almost invisible and people don’t feel like they are being chased by paparazzi. The most crucial point, as a tour photographer, is to make sure what you’re allowed to shoot. Don’t just start taking picture of everything and everyone without asking beforehand. It’s not good pissing people off right from the start. These Fink concerts were the best I have seen so far and the portrait session in the snow was the funniest one I’ve done so far! It was a great pleasure to work with Fink again.

Fink Hard Believer Tour Photo Gallery

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Tim and I also published a blog article about their Austrian tour in the Huffington Post UK here.

What band would you like to tour with? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Debbie U. (Yellin’)

    Duran Duran would be my DREAM job!!!!!

    • Hi Debbie! Write them an email and ask. ;), The worst case would be to get no answer, but if they answer it might be a YES.

  • Miriam Rieck

    Lady Antebellum, Maroon 5 and this upcoming tour of Josh Groban.

    • Good luck with that Miriam

      • Miriam Rieck

        Ya know, I have been following you for quite a while and I just don’t see how what you are offering is any kind of realistic advice. WE pretty much have all experienced the same kind of learning curve. We have all learned how to operate the equipment we have. The truth is that what we need is REALISTIC honest door to knock on…Good luck..is kind of a seriously flippant answer and one that really offers nothing…Write them an email …you know for a fact they don’t even bother to read them….getting in the door for ANY band is difficult as hell…which may be why you top guys JUST LOVE to charge us scrabbling to the toppers tons of money for useless advice….oh right I did not pay for advice cause I pretty much have already learned what you are selling…I need REAL doors to knock on and that will open…short of trying to use Social Media to get the attention of someone and we all know that pretty much kills ya professionally being taken serious.

        • Hi Miriam, thanks for your comment. I am sorry that you think that what I am offering is no realistic advice. The hundreds of people that write me mails might have another opinion on it. What I am writing on my blog is my story and how I experienced the music business. In my opinion I am one of few people how really try to help others to live there passion by writing this blog and giving worldwide webinars together with other concert photography communities. What is a REALISTIC hones door to knock on? You want email addresses to famous bands? Or a shortcut to get AAA passes?. Sorry, but this is not how the business works. I know that writing to bands is a hard way to go, but if you want to be successful in this biz than you have to work for it. Nobody will call you and offer to tour with them if you are not working like crazy to live your dreams. I also started from the beginning and I know what I am talking about. If you find my advice useless and you know already everything then simply don´t read it. Again, there is no shortcut for it. Maybe your door to knock is to fake wristbands to enter the festivals (like someone did and is rather successful with it. I also don´t know why social media should be the reason why people don´t take you as professional. Have a look at all the famous music photographers and their social media presence. They are still considered as professional photographers and have success with it. Good luck in finding your own way, but don´t expect that it´ll be easy.

          • shutterbug_1018

            I agree with you 100% Matthias. It takes a LOT of hard work and perseverance. Of course, there is some element of luck involved, but it is much more about keeping at it.
            As far as knowing how to use the equipment is concerned, there are a lot of really great photographer out there who would be completely out of their element doing concert photography. It is a totally different type of photography, and requires a specific skill set and equipment to do well, and your advice could really help those who have never done it. I think it’s great that you are so willing to help others!

          • Thank you shutterbug, your comment is much appreciated!

          • Miriam Rieck

            Ok I deserved that harsh reply. I was a bit hard. …so allow me to publicly go further and hopefully softer…
            So talk about how to get in the door when you have the experience of shooting ….how to establish and online magazine and how that works and why It may create press passes for you.
            I understand and I am not looking for an “easy pass” I have worked hard to feel comfortable enough to approach bands AND I have used any and all opportunities to shoot the bands I have shot. Of help would be some idea of how to charge…or at least some guidelines, what is and is not considered “your ” property. I also am a writer and have published a tour book for an up and coming band.
            Writing to a band of the size of say Maroon 5, U2 as a professional via email or leaving notes on their Facebook page and expecting to get an answer…not gonna happen, tried and was actually told by a management company the ONLY way you are getting in the door is to come in at the side of someone who is already in….so go away and don’t email us-it automatically goes to trash email. Don’t send us anything, it goes in the trash.
            How do you find out who the tour managers are for various bands so that you can approach them in a logical and professional manner…
            Am I perfect, hell no, I love the learning. Part of the reason I love concert photography is the constant changing light situations as well as the documentation of music being created not just your typical energy shot. I have shot for mid sized bands and emailing them DID work but getting to the platform of a particularly successful musician is damn difficult and the only way is to go online and keep knocking on doors…if you would like to have a conversation NOT in media…and yes I know I brought it here…then here is my private email. mimwlf@gmail.com

  • Dom Graham

    Muse – but I’d settle for U2!

    • shutterbug_1018

      SETTLE for U2? You do realize that they are one of the top bands in the world, and being able to work for them would be a huge privilege don’t you? They are the pinnacle of success for anyone wanting to photograph bands (me included, especially since they have been my favorite band for a REALLY long time).

      • Dom Graham

        British humour shutterbug_1018!!! I stated I would settle for U2 because they are the biggest band in the world!! 😉

        • you have to dream big in order to achieve your goals!

          • Dom Graham

            True Matthias, but we must never lose our sense of humour! Bands appreciate it and it can help tap into those impromptu moments behind the scenes – I think those images are just priceless, far more than performance images that may be captured by many other people. BTW Muse is a big enough dream – for me anyway! 😉

        • shutterbug_1018

          Ah I see, then you are forgiven! LOL

  • Nicole

    The script definitely

    • Nicole, check out Peter Neill, he is the actual tour photographer of them and a friend of mine.

  • Kim Baxter

    I tour with a band right now, over a 4 state area (non national act) as photographer, but would LOVE to tour with Scorpions when they come over here this fall in Sept. & Oct. I’ve already shot them twice, but I’d love to tour with them to also get those candid moments as well as on stage.

    • Good luck with the Scorpions Kim!

      • Kim Baxter

        Thank you Matthias ~ it’s a long shot, but I”m willing to stick my neck out there. I always hate saying this, but in lieu of talent, it’s also who you know and that they’ve already seen your work. But luck definitely plays a huge part too! We’ll see what happens. I’d like to photograph right on the stage. I’ve gotten to know Matthias’ guitar tech Ingo & he usually takes photos on stage. I’m going to ask him if I can climb up and sneak a few from stage.

        • Kim you already have your foot into the door by knowing the guitar tech! This is a great start. So, go for it and good luck! Let me know how it turned out!

          • Kim Baxter

            Thanks! I definitely will ~ I won’t let this opportunity pass by. In 2010 Denver, I had an all access pass, so I went behind the stage while Cinderella was playing, while waiting for Scorps to come out, they went to their dressing rooms after hanging out ~ I wanted to see what the speaker stacks & all the gear & just what it felt like to be right behind the band & see the crowd from that angle & how it felt & looked like ~ it was so awesome. This time I would like to actually be on the stage, like in a corner, or something, taking pictures of the guys from that vantage point.

  • Lynne Donovan

    I have 2 I’d love to tour with tim McGraw or kid rock

    • Cami C.

      Kid Rock would be awesome to shoot! Going to see him in July.

      • Nice Cami, I guess it´s going to be an awesome show!

        • Cami C.

          Love Kid Rock! 🙂

  • Lynne Donovan

    I have 2 I’d love to tour with tim McGraw or kid rock

    • Cami C.

      Kid Rock would be awesome to shoot! Going to see him in July.

      • Nice Cami, I guess it´s going to be an awesome show!

        • Cami C.

          Love Kid Rock! 🙂

  • JM Cruz

    Top 3:
    Neal Morse
    TransAtlantic
    Genesis

  • JM Cruz

    Top 3:
    Neal Morse
    TransAtlantic
    Genesis

  • Cami C.

    Bret Michaels and the B*M*B…. I’m slowly making connections (or so I thought) but it’s so freakin hard to get my foot in the door. I’m trying to be patient and reminding myself to just wait and that it will happen eventually. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe you can offer some advice….

    • Positive thinking definitely is a big part of it! I know that it´s damn hard to get your foot into the door of the music scene. But believe me, if you work hard on it and deliver consistent quality pics over a long time you´ll work your way out. The number one secret is to make connections and meet the right people at the right time. Unfortunately I guess there is no shortcut for it. Just continue to believe in your work

      • Cami C.

        Thanks Matthias! I’m not giving up! I’ll just keep sneaking my camera in when I can and shooting from the crowd while I wait. All the best to you and thanks for all your valuable insight!

        • you´re welcome Cami!

          • Cami C.

            Thanks for the advice! Good point! It hasn’t really been sneaking in….
            basically I’ve taken my camera to festivals/open air shows where there
            wasn’t a restriction on cameras. And other times, when it was in actual
            venue that didn’t allow “professional” cameras, I used a Canon G1 X
            which is a glorified point and shoot. I’m not sure that it’s that big of
            a deal since I’m not really using those pics for my “portfolio” per se
            and I’m not claiming that I took them in a official capacity. I’m not a
            professional. Just doing this for fun for now. I’ve actually taken a
            couple of prints to shows/meet and greets and had the members of the
            band autograph for me and they seemed ok with it. Bret himself even said
            that my photos were good. But, I will keep your advice in mind and will
            be careful. Would love to start shooting for local and smaller bands.
            Just not really sure where to start with that either. Thanks again for
            your advice. Much appreciated

        • shutterbug_1018

          Just a word of caution Cami. I would be really careful about sneaking in a camera and then using those photos in your portfolio. At some point you are sure to get asked if you were working for the band or doing press when you took the photos, and you can’t (and really shouldn’t) lie about it, because it wouldn’t be hard for them to check into it. If you admit to sneaking a camera in it will hurt your credibility, so it isn’t a good situation from any angle.
          My advice would be to start with trying to do shoot photos for local bands, or smaller bands that haven’t hit it big yet. There are also rare occasions when a big concert allows photography, so always look into that if you go to a concert. You have a much better chance of getting your photos for your portfolio, and it will give you something to build on.

          • well said. Cami, if you want to take your concert photography serious, than don´t use these pics in your portfolio. As Shutterbug (hope that´s not your real name 😉 ) mentioned this can cost you your credibility at some time and it´s definitely not worth it

          • My real name is Roxanne 🙂

  • Cami C.

    Bret Michaels and the B*M*B…. I’m slowly making connections (or so I thought) but it’s so freakin hard to get my foot in the door. I’m trying to be patient and reminding myself to just wait and that it will happen eventually. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe you can offer some advice….

    • Positive thinking definitely is a big part of it! I know that it´s damn hard to get your foot into the door of the music scene. But believe me, if you work hard on it and deliver consistent quality pics over a long time you´ll work your way out. The number one secret is to make connections and meet the right people at the right time. Unfortunately I guess there is no shortcut for it. Just continue to believe in your work

      • Cami C.

        Thanks Matthias! I’m not giving up! I’ll just keep sneaking my camera in when I can and shooting from the crowd while I wait. All the best to you and thanks for all your valuable insight!

        • you´re welcome Cami!

          • Cami C.

            Thanks for the advice! Good point! It hasn’t really been sneaking in….
            basically I’ve taken my camera to festivals/open air shows where there
            wasn’t a restriction on cameras. And other times, when it was in actual
            venue that didn’t allow “professional” cameras, I used a Canon G1 X
            which is a glorified point and shoot. I’m not sure that it’s that big of
            a deal since I’m not really using those pics for my “portfolio” per se
            and I’m not claiming that I took them in a official capacity. I’m not a
            professional. Just doing this for fun for now. I’ve actually taken a
            couple of prints to shows/meet and greets and had the members of the
            band autograph for me and they seemed ok with it. Bret himself even said
            that my photos were good. But, I will keep your advice in mind and will
            be careful. Would love to start shooting for local and smaller bands.
            Just not really sure where to start with that either. Thanks again for
            your advice. Much appreciated

        • shutterbug_1018

          Just a word of caution Cami. I would be really careful about sneaking in a camera and then using those photos in your portfolio. At some point you are sure to get asked if you were working for the band or doing press when you took the photos, and you can’t (and really shouldn’t) lie about it, because it wouldn’t be hard for them to check into it. If you admit to sneaking a camera in it will hurt your credibility, so it isn’t a good situation from any angle.
          My advice would be to start with trying to do shoot photos for local bands, or smaller bands that haven’t hit it big yet. There are also rare occasions when a big concert allows photography, so always look into that if you go to a concert. You have a much better chance of getting your photos for your portfolio, and it will give you something to build on.

          • well said. Cami, if you want to take your concert photography serious, than don´t use these pics in your portfolio. As Shutterbug (hope that´s not your real name 😉 ) mentioned this can cost you your credibility at some time and it´s definitely not worth it

          • My real name is Roxanne 🙂

  • Malaina Hudson

    If you don’t ask, the answer is already know. I’ve done a ton of research and sent a lot of e-mails. The waiting is excruciating, but every now and again there’s a “YES.” This year’s yes bands have been Drivin’ n Cryin’, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Dumpstaphunk, The Bangles, and HELL YEAH.

    • Exactly Malaina. Sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone to achieve the success you dream of. Congrats on getting a lot of YES!

      • Malaina Hudson

        Thanks, Matthias! Leaving the comfort zone has been the hardest part. It’s hard to face possible rejection, but let’s be brutally honest here – if you don’t ask the question, you’re rejecting yourself before you even get started. If you ask and they say no, it’s not personal; it’s just the music business.

        BTW – if you’re every out on a tour and come through my area, I’ll buy the first coffee (or tea or adult beverages). 🙂

        • Absolutely, Never take a rejection personal. There can be hundreds reasons why they did say NO. You´ll never know.
          Thanks for your kind offer. I prefer green tea 😉

          • Malaina Hudson

            Green tea it is, then!

  • Malaina Hudson

    If you don’t ask, the answer is already know. I’ve done a ton of research and sent a lot of e-mails. The waiting is excruciating, but every now and again there’s a “YES.” This year’s yes bands have been Drivin’ n Cryin’, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Dumpstaphunk, The Bangles, and HELL YEAH.

    • Exactly Malaina. Sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone to achieve the success you dream of. Congrats on getting a lot of YES!

      • Malaina Hudson

        Thanks, Matthias! Leaving the comfort zone has been the hardest part. It’s hard to face possible rejection, but let’s be brutally honest here – if you don’t ask the question, you’re rejecting yourself before you even get started. If you ask and they say no, it’s not personal; it’s just the music business.

        BTW – if you’re every out on a tour and come through my area, I’ll buy the first coffee (or tea or adult beverages). 🙂

        • Absolutely, Never take a rejection personal. There can be hundreds reasons why they did say NO. You´ll never know.
          Thanks for your kind offer. I prefer green tea 😉

          • Malaina Hudson

            Green tea it is, then!

  • Matthias, I would love to tour with many bands including Foo Fighters, John Mayer, and Colombian rock-star Juanes.

    • Hi Cesar, good luck and hopefully you are able to tour with one of them in the future! 😉

  • Matthias, I would love to tour with many bands including Foo Fighters, John Mayer, and Colombian rock-star Juanes.

    • Hi Cesar, good luck and hopefully you are able to tour with one of them in the future! 😉

  • ⚫.:.Pełin.:.⚫

    Hey I really would love to tour one day with Our Last Night or Twenty One Pilots 🙂

  • ⚫.:.Pełin.:.⚫

    Hey I really would love to tour one day with Our Last Night or Twenty One Pilots 🙂

  • shutterbug_1018

    Anyone who saw my previous comment probably knows this already, but the band I would love to tour with most is U2. Yes, I know, that is definitely the biggest thing I could wish for, but that is my band.
    My other favorite band is a Japanese rock band called D’espairsRay, a band that is really famous in Japan. For a long time I used to listen to their music and wish I could go to Japan and see them. Then they came to do their first tour in the U.S., and I planned to go see them. I had the great fortune to have a good friend who was going to do photography for them, and I asked him if he would ask the promoters if I could do photography for them too. I had already had some of my photos published in a major rock magazine in Japan, which gave me credibility, so they said yes. That was a dream come true for me. I did photography for them again on their next 2 U.S. tours. When they came back for the 4th time, they were touring with the Taste of Chaos tour, and though I didn’t do photography for them that time, I was so happy for them to get that kind of exposure here. Before I did photography for them, if anyone had told me I would some day, I would have laughed and said yeah in my dreams, but in this case it actually happened, so you really never know what the future can hold if you just try.

  • shutterbug_1018

    Anyone who saw my previous comment probably knows this already, but the band I would love to tour with most is U2. Yes, I know, that is definitely the biggest thing I could wish for, but that is my band.
    My other favorite band is a Japanese rock band called D’espairsRay, a band that is really famous in Japan. For a long time I used to listen to their music and wish I could go to Japan and see them. Then they came to do their first tour in the U.S., and I planned to go see them. I had the great fortune to have a good friend who was going to do photography for them, and I asked him if he would ask the promoters if I could do photography for them too. I had already had some of my photos published in a major rock magazine in Japan, which gave me credibility, so they said yes. That was a dream come true for me. I did photography for them again on their next 2 U.S. tours. When they came back for the 4th time, they were touring with the Taste of Chaos tour, and though I didn’t do photography for them that time, I was so happy for them to get that kind of exposure here. Before I did photography for them, if anyone had told me I would some day, I would have laughed and said yeah in my dreams, but in this case it actually happened, so you really never know what the future can hold if you just try.

  • Julie Carter

    fiver finger death punch, linking park, nickel back, lacuna coil just to name a few.

  • Julie Carter

    fiver finger death punch, linking park, nickel back, lacuna coil just to name a few.