What’s your name?

Steve Rose

Where are you based?

Los Angeles, CA

What’s your favorite camera for concert photography?

Right now my favorite camera is the Sony a7III, but I recently got a Leica SL and really like that one too.

Nince Inch Nails by Steve Rose
NIN, 600mm@f6.3, 1/200, ISO 640
What’s your our favorite lens for concert photography?

The Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM

What’s your number 1 record of all time?

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction. This record did so much for me as a kid when it came out. It got me into music, Slash inspired me to start playing guitar, and it’s one of the best debut records of any band.

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

I’d like to have dinner with Leo Fender. Leo never played an instrument, but created some of the most timeless instruments and amplifiers that are still around today. I’d like to pick his brain about guitar and amp building. If you think about it artists like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Jaco Pastorius, Phil Lynott, or Jeff Beck all had a Fender in their hands or plugged into a Fender amp. Rock and Roll would not be what it is without geniuses like Leo Fender, Les Paul, and Jim Marshall.

What band is still on your bucket list to take photos of?

I still haven’t had the opportunity to photograph a number of my bucket list bands, but right now Eric Clapton comes to mind as someone that I’d love the opportunity to photograph.

Bush by Steve Rose
Bush, 24mm@f2.8, 1/800, ISO 1600
What’s your top 3 “Don’ts” of music photography?
  • 1. Don’t hold the camera above your head if front of other photographers. Go to the back of the photo pit, behind the other photographers and do it.
  • 2. Don’t act like you have the pit all to yourself. Be respectful of the other photographers in there also doing their job. Be mindful when walking around them and try not to walk into their shot. Also, be respectful of the crew in the pit as well. We are all there doing a job, and all of us are doing are best to get that job done.
  • 3. Don’t wear your bag in the pit. There are times when we aren’t allowed a lot of space to work and having a bag on can restrict other photographers from being able to get their shot. Store it under the barricade or see if there is somewhere on site where it can be checked.
Billie Eilish by Steve Rose
Billie Eilish, 24mm@f2.8, 1/400, ISO 1600
What’s the No.1 Tip you wished you had known when starting out as a music photographer?

That a great photo isn’t always a tack-sharp photo. I’ve learned that sometimes a little blur or “energy” in a photo can be just as awesome as a tight, crisp one. It all depends on the moment and what you’re trying to capture on stage.

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

Shortly before heading out on tour with Journey, I met legendary photographer, Neal Preston, and asked him if he had any advice for me. He told me to make sure that each night I start and end the show in different spots. This way each show won’t feel the same and more importantly look the same. I saw him a few months ago to thank him for his valuable advice and he was honored that I took it and it was beneficial. Listen to my Podcast with Neal Preston here.

Slipknot by Steve Rose
Slipknot, 54mm@f3.6, 1/200, ISO 5000
Why are you a music photographer?

Once I realized I wasn’t going to make it as a musician, I decided to photograph those that did make it. Actually, once I realized that I had some ability to take a decent photograph, I decided to dedicate myself in the field of music photography and really hone that skill. I think that being a musician and knowing how to anticipate what a band member will do on stage has helped me a great deal. Every time I’m in the pit, I’m trying to find ways to capture a unique perspective or a key moment that can convey the emotion and energy of that performance to anyone who sees that photo.

Black Label Society by Steve Rose
Black Label Society, 24mm@f2.8, 1/250, ISO 3200
What is your biggest dream?

Shhh… I’m living my biggest dream. I make a living as a professional concert photographer. I think that’s pretty great and am really fortunate for the experiences that I’ve had, the photos that I’ve taken, and the friends that I have made. It would also be cool if my son decides to be in a band when he grows up and I get to photograph him. I’d better get more than 3 songs!

Follow Steve

Website: https://www.steverosephotos.com/

Listen to our interview on being a tour photographer

Do you want to become a Concert Photographer?
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