From being a festival photographer for the Rock The Desert Music Festival to contributing work for Beyond The Stage Magazine and more, Texas-based photographer Bailey Flores just might have snapped some photographs you’ve seen before. Opening up about her start in high school and what she has learned over the years, Bailey shared all about what it’s like working as a music photographer.
When did you start showing an interest in photography?
I started to have an interest in photography after my journalism teacher let us play with the DLSR they had at school and after joining my high school’s yearbook staff my junior year, I was able to use the cameras more. I love shooting anything with action because you never know what to expect so it’s a challenge.
Have you taken any photography classes or were you self taught?
I was mostly self-taught. My journalism teacher let us play with the DSLR they had at school and after that, I just mostly read up on it online especially after I came across some of Adam Elmakias’s work, he really inspired me.
What gear do you typically shoot with?
I’m currently shooting on my Canon 6D. The lenses I have are a Canon 50mm 1.4 and a Sigma 70-200mm 2.8
A lot of young photographers have a mind set of “more expensive equipment, better photos”, do you agree with this idea?
I don’t agree. You don’t need the most expensive camera gear when you’re just starting out. When I was starting out, I only had a Canon Rebel t3i with a kit lens and that’s what I mostly used for over a year. You just have develop your own style and take chances. Your camera is only as good as you are.
Cage The Elephant
What was the first show you ever photographed?
The first show I ever photographed was the Change A Life Tour at a local church with Finding Favour, Kutless and Audio Adrenaline.
When you first started out, did your taste in music impact what bands/ artists you photographed and is that still something that happens today?
It does. I tend to photograph bands that I listen to because I feel more comfortable at a show where I know the artist and I can see a lot of my friends at these shows. Lately, I’ve been branching out and covering artists I normally wouldn’t cover.
Pierce The Veil
How would you describe your shooting style?
This is a tough question, but I would say “close” because I like to focus or try to capture every band member individually and I try to capture the artist and fans emotions during the performance/concert. Also, “dramatic” because I like to capture jumps, spins and try to get an artist to play for the camera.
Out of your portfolio, what photograph are you the most proud of and why?
The photo I’m most proud of is a photo I took of Cold War Kids because that show was so hard to shoot. There was no front lighting, just back lights, so you just got silhouettes. I was still new to editing in Lightroom so when it came to post processing/editing, I didn’t know much. But with this photo, I decided to play around in Lightroom and see what I could do with the image and it was amazing to see the end product.
Cold War Kids
Especially these past few years, the amount of photographers in the music industries has increased. Do you ever try and separate yourself from the group to stand out or is it something you don’t think about?
I try not to focus on what other photographers are doing. I try my best to build my own style by finding different places to shoot and trying new ways to edit my photos.
What is the best advice you could give to young aspiring photographers?
Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and be prepared for anything. The challenges of concert photography are part of the thrill. With limited access, time and lighting, it’s all about problem-solving when faced with difficult circumstances in a short amount of time. Get out of your comfort zone. If you never leave your comfort zone, you ́ll never learn from your mistakes. So, the best thing you can do is get out there and overcome your fear. Don’t give up, don’t stop taking pictures, and don’t let your insecurities of your work get the best of you. There have been so many times I’ve gotten frustrated and insecure with my work and just wanted to quit, but it’s getting comments and emails from people calling you an inspiration that keeps me going.
Interview by Rachael Dowd
Portrait of Bailey by Gaeb Ramirez