Reviews Of Concert Photography

Here's what reviewers are saying about Concert Photography. Select the name of a publication to read their review.

Cover of Concert Photography

News Photographer  (National Press Photographers Association)

Independent Publisher

San Francisco Examiner

BAM -- For the California Music Scene & Beyond

The Rocket (Seattle)

Relix-Music for the Mind

Midwest Book Review

Rolling Stone

Smug

Gavin: The Most Trusted Name in Radio


News Photographer (Official Publication of the National Press Photographers Association)

If you like popular music and idolize certain contemporary musicians the way I do, you must get this book. Even if you already know everything there is to know about shooting rock concerts and the like, this book is worth getting just for the outstanding photographs.

Sievert, staff photographer for Guitar Player, Keyboard, and Frets magazines, takes you step-by-step through the process of becoming a music celebrity photographer. He includes chapters on lighting and exposure, negotiating contracts, securing credentials, dealing with musicians' egos, and a myriad of other practical problems faced by music photographers.

He gives really sound, encouraging advice to beginners: Start by shooting talented local bands, because you never know if they'll make it big. If they do, you've got the pictures of their early days. Plus, it's good experience.

I really can't say enough about this book. It is well-written, nicely organized, has a straight-forward and pleasant design, and contains some great photos of legends such as Janis Joplin, Count Basie, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bill Monroe, Muddy Waters, Jerry Garcia, Bootsy Collins, B. B. King, etc., etc.

--Sam Winch

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

Independent Publisher

Jon Sievert's Concert Photography is a delightful and informative book, one that transcends the stereotypical, predictable "how-to" tomes we all know and hate. His book is a marvelous marriage of word and image that manages to weave practical and technical concerns with aesthetic and journalistic ones.

Clearly, the book works well on a number of different levels. At ground level, it's a shooter's handbook to pragmatic photography. Indeed, its basics humble the work of many standard texts I've read on the subject. Among other things, Sievert details nuances of lighting, film, camera systems, lenses - and deftly applies all of the above to the concert experience. What's more, his examples are drawn from over twenty-five years of living what he articulates: concert photography. On still another level, Jon Sievert's book serves as a comprehensive resource for aspiring and established professional music-business photographers: offering a veritable storehouse of non-technical information on a wide array of things such as legal mentoring, securing credentials, marketing, freelancing and selling photographs - even insights on backstage shoots and etiquette. In addition, Sievert provides the names and addresses of music publications (organized by category), music book publishers, tour merchandisers, color labs and a very hip bibliography via a series of appendices at the back of the book.

Finally, there is the photography itself - work of Sievert and colleagues, the likes of Jay Blakesberg, Mark Leialoha, Jim Marshall et al. Many of the images are classic and stories that accompany them make good points. The photos are well-reproduced and the book is tastefully designed and printed. The writing is terse, interesting and understandable. Indeed, Sievert's writing style is engaging and personal. Along with being a celebrated photographer, Sievert has worked as an editor and a feature writer. His work has appeared in the likes of Guitar Player, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Relix, Musician and dozens of other publications.

This is a book I strongly recommend, not just to those interested in concert photography, but in photography in general - neophytes and veteran photographers alike.

--Dr. William E. Ryan,
Assoc. Professor of Journalism,
Visual Communication,
Photography and Design,
University of Oregon

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

San Francisco Examiner

In Concert Photography (humble press, $29.95), famed San Francisco photographer Jon Sievert tells and shows us how to shoot music-business photographs. As he does so in this bright, attractive 333-page book, he also gives tips to the lay photographer.

For 20 years, Sievert was writer, editor and staff photographer for Guitar Player, Keyboard, and Frets magazines, interviewing and photographing hundreds of musicians. He has more hundreds of magazine and album cover credits; Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and many others use Sievert's work.

In 14 sensibly organized and cleanly written chapters, all wonderfully illustrated (of course), Sievert covers his whole subject- "Getting Established," "Shooting in Performance," "Shooting Offstage," "Camera Systems," "Lighting," and "Securing Credentials." There's also some good advice about lenses and cameras.

More than 100 beautiful black-and-white prints by Sievert-and a few by Jim Marshall, Herman Leonard, Jay Blakesberg-are included, subjects ranging from Jaco Pastorius and Jimmy Reed to Cheech & Chong and Michael Bloomfield.

One thumb-through of Concert Photography, and you'll buy it.

--Philip Elwood

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

BAM -- For the California Music Scene & Beyond

Jon Sievert has been photographing musical subjects for a living since moving to the Bay Area in the late '60s, freelancing for some of the best-known magazines in the world. This book documents his in-depth advice for fledgling photographers, but it also features some great concert shots and candids of musicians of all stripes, making it a breezy page-turner for anyone interested in music-not just shutterbugs.

From Stevie Ray Vaughan to Van Cliburn, Les Paul to Little Feat's Lowell George, the book is full of vintage shots printed on its heavy-stock pages. There's plenty of Bay Area influence (Jerry, Janis, John Lee), icons and unknowns (Jimmy Page, the Piney Creek Weasels) and a few complete surprises as well.

Courtney Love turns up in a series of ghastly New Wave-era pictures from 1981 that she'd surely rather see buried, while "Joan Baez" is the caption beneath a suspiciously Dylanesque performer at 1977's Bread & Roses Festival; turns out was Miss Baez doing an impersonation that still has some spectators convinced they saw the freewheelin' bard himself.

Thought the majority of photographic examples are Sievert's, he calls on the work of his colleagues as well. On of the book's gems is a classic shot of saxophonist Dexter Gordon from 1948, taken by renowned photodocumentarian Herman Leonard. And Sievert quotes regular BAM photographer Jay Blakesberg at length, quizzing him on how he got started in the industry and providing examples of his ubiquitous work.

Technically, the book is exhaustive, providing how-to advice from the simplest pointers ("stay out of the musician's face") to the most darkroom-oriented ("the concept of 18% gray"). From directories of potential buyers for your images to chapters on buying camera equipment, this book is an imperative read for its target audience, and an unusual look at the music industry for the rest of us.

--James Sullivan

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

The Rocket

If the number of inquires to this magazine's art department are any indication, there's still some glamour associated with being a concert photographer (despite the fact that many bands now only allow the first two songs to be shot). Even in the age of the rock video, when we think of a visual image of our favorite rock star, our memory is glued to a great photographer, be it Charles Peterson shooting Kurt Cobain or Lynn Goldsmith catching Pete Townshend jumping mid-air.

If you've ever aspired to be a concert photographer, a new book by Jon Sievert, Concert Photography, is the reference of choice. This 334-page tome covers everything you'd ever need to know about shooting live performances, from f-stops to earplugs. Sievert is a Bay Area photographer who has worked for numerous national magazines, and he knows his stuff. His suggestions-like the idea of bringing a monopod rather than a tripod into a live show-will save beginners lots of hassles and missed opportunities. The more technical tips are simply explained in manner that will help any photography buff brush up, even if you prefer shooting fruit in a basket to fruit in Marilyn Manson.

But if you are a music fan, and not an aspiring photographer, this book still has something to offer. It's extensively illustrated with some rare and moving examples of rock photography at its best. There are 135 black-and-white images here, covering everything from early jazz greats like Dexter Gordon to modern-day funksters the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But perhaps the most stunning photos-and ones that are well worth the book's price of $29.95-are a series of studio portraits of a 16-year-old Courtney Love that say more about the singer than any biography yet written. You can find Concert Photography at bookstores or order from (800) 306-7168.

--Charles R. Cross

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

Relix-Music for the Mind

In this very readable, step-by-step instructive guide on how to make it as a music celebrity photographer, author Jon Sievert (a music biz photographer for more than 25 years) shows the aspiring photographer everything he or she will need to know to make it a business where opportunities abound. Sievert offers the encouraging news right up front that the demand for music photographers is at an "unprecedented" level given, among other things, the fact that there are, simply, so many artists out there.

Getting started involves photographing bands at the local level (i.e., at your local park, bar or club) where the services of photographers are more welcome. There the novice is afforded ample opportunities to "establish contacts" (with club managers, promoters and other local bands), gain invaluable experience, build their skills and create a portfolio ("from a technical standpoint it really doesn't matter if it's Eric Clapton or Joe Blow you're shooting"). Sievert explains how to impress the right people, build valuable relationships and contacts, secure the all-important photo credentials and navigate the obstacles presented by PR people, managers and the artists themselves (though, obviously, "the bigger the act, the more restricted the access").

The book highlights the problems and challenges facing the photographer in every kind of venue from bars to theaters, ranging from poor lighting to keeping out of the audience's way while shooting pictures. Other important topics include getting that perfect shot (and avoiding such classic errors as focusing on the singer at the expense of his or her bandmates), navigating the backstage world and taking photographs in the recording studio. There's also invaluable advice on the proper camera selection, film tips and legal aspects of the business (protecting your rights, copyright issues, etc.) as well as a generous listing of music publications for the up-and-coming photographer.

Concert Photography would be incomplete without the author's own photos (both onstage and off), which include a very pensive Michael Bloomfield, a garish 16-year-old Courtney Love and Joan Baez disguised as Bob Dylan and looking, shockingly, like the man himself. The photos are an inspiration in themselves. This book is recommended to anyone with even a passing interest in photography.

--Toni A. Brown

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

Midwest Book Review

Anyone can combine a love of photography and music for a fulfilling and rewarding career by photographing their favorite musicians (and seeing their byline in print!). Concert Photography provides detailed information on getting started regardless of where you live, securing photo credentials, working backstage and in the recording studio, producing publicity and CD cover photos, protecting your legal rights, the ins and outs of performance photography in venues ranging from tiny clubs to stadiums, and choosing the right camera system, lenses, lighting, and film to meet concert photography's unique demands.

Concert Photography is the comprehensive "how-to" reference book that should be read by every aspiring photographer seeking to break through into professional status and a rewarding career.

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

Rolling Stone

....All you budding lensfolks, check out Jon Sievert's new book, Concert Photography, a how-to guide on breaking into the music-photography business. Among the useful tips: how to scam those lucrative backstage passes.

--Matt Hendrickson

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

Smug

One would think that rock photographers would be recognized more often for their exceptional work like their art-brethren video directors (i.e., Spike Jonez). But for the most part, they have been shoved into the background, seldom asked about their experiences or way of life.

Jon Sievert, author of Concert Photography: How to Shoot and Sell Music-Business Photographs, appreciates the art of rock photography. He lived it and continues to do via this book. Concert Photography touches upon almost every aspect of live shooting, from the technical aspects (camera systems and lenses) to the more unconventional tips (scoring photo passes). Along the way, it provides helpful information vital to the burgeoning live shooter, and it's useful as a recap for the pros. Of course, there are the sample photos; from Stevie Ray Vaughan to the Boredoms, the pages are littered with points of interest.

--Shirley Halperin

Return To Top Of Page

 

 

 

 

Gavin: The Most Trusted Name in Radio

Another new book of great interest to me-and I'm sure to plenty of you out there, especially if you happen to be any sort of shutterbug-is Concert Photography: How to Shoot and Sell Music-Business Photographs, by Jon Sievert (humble press). Sievert, a former editor for Guitar Player and Frets magazines, and a well-known San Francisco photographer, outlines the entire process of concert photography in several easy steps.

From securing credentials and access to making the best shot, and finally want to do with your work, this book is not only perfect for any novice or even intermediate photographer with a musical interest, but is also worth having for the fine collection of photographs contained within the pages. This one rates two Telecasters up, so if you'd like to order one, call (800) 306-7168.

--Rob Bleetstein

Return To Top Of Page