What’s your name?

Michael Baltierra

Where are you based?

Seattle, WA

What’s your favorite camera for concert photography?

I started out with a Nikon D7200. I then I decided to try the Sony a6500 and it blew me away. I then picked up the Sony a7iii, which has been my main work camera since mid-2018.

Megadeth at the Tacoma Dome (Photo: Mike Baltierra)
Megadeth, 24mm at f/2.8, Shutter /1400, ISO 1250
What’s your our favorite lens for concert photography?

I love the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 FE Mount lens.

What’s your number 1 record of all time?

This is a tough one to answer, because I listen to so many styles of music. But if I had to pick just one, it would have to be “Powerslave” by Iron Maiden.

If you could have dinner with one person from music history, alive or dead, who would it be?

Cliff Burton, the late great bassist of Metallica. I would love to pick his brain about his style of playing, musical theory and his influences.

Foreinger, 18mm at f/4, Shutter 1/400, ISO 1000
What band is still on your bucket list to take photos of?

Two actually – my favorite two bands Iron Maiden and Metallica. The last two on my list.

What’s your top 3 “Don’ts” of music photography?
  • Don’t be rude to the other photographers (don’t Hail Mary a photo, don’t block shots, tap the shoulder to get by); don’t rude to security (don’t argue if they tell you to leave even though you didn’t get your three songs) or to the fans (if the band tosses a pick or a stick – don’t keep it, pass it on to the fans who paid to be at the show).
  • Don’t be that person who gets on social media and bashes a band’s PR team for not approving your photo request. Thank the PR team for the response and try again another time. The same PR people may be in the same forums you are, and when they read your post, they’ll just black list you. It happens more that you think.
  • Don’t worry about others and what others think. Do your best, don’t be a jerk to others, keep an open mind and be humble. If you get haters, that’s great! That means you’re doing something right or people are envious of your work. Just keep pushing forward.
P!nk at Key Arena (Photo: Mike Baltierra)
Pink, 195mm at f/5.6, Shutter 1/400, ISO 1000
What’s the No.1 Tip you wished you had known when starting out as a music photographer?

Network! Bring contact info (business cards for example) with you. Follow others on social media. If you are a good person and due decent to good work, people / publications will contact you if they need you to cover a show for them or a venue may reach out to bring you on as a staff.

What was the coolest story you experienced as a music photographer? 

It has reignited my passion for creativity. It has made me a better photographer and it has helped me move out of Information Technology (which I had been doing since 1996) and into a full time content creator (photographer / videopgrapher) job at the place I have been employed at in the aerospace industry for the last six years.

Judas Priest, 28mm at f/2.8, Shutter 1/400, ISO 640
Why are you a music photographer?

I used to play the bass guitar and I was in various bands in the late 1980s through the early 2000s. I sold my gear because one of my twin sons needed neurosurgery and I needed money to help offset any expenses we had while I was on leave. I told myself I’ll play again one day – sadly, that hasn’t happened. So I figured, with my love for music and photography, if I can’t play, I can snap images. I am really grateful to have been given the opportunity to do so.

Shinedown at the Yakima Valley Sundome (Photo: Mike Baltierra)
Shinedown, 25mm at f/2.8, Shutter 1/200, ISO 3200
What is your biggest dream?

I am fortunate to say that all of my life goals and dreams I have accomplished. I have an awesome wife. I have three great sons. I served my county by joining the US Marine Corps. I am a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But the latest dream or goal is to become self-sufficient through photography (I do shoot portraits / events / weddings). My son also shoots photos and I recently purchased him some gear. We hope to grow our photo and videography services. Also, I hope to one day get some of my work published in larger media outlets.

Follow Michael


Do you want to become a Concert Photographer?
[thrive_leads id=’13942′]

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}