Photo by Rickelle Tavares
Patrick Moran grew up in Cleveland, Ohio but migrated to Provdence, Rhode Island five years ago to pursue a degree in Baking and Pastry arts from Johnson and Whales University. After successfully graduating, Patrick has been able to put his degree to use working at gourmet doughnut shop, Knead. A little over 2 years ago, Patrick discovered his love for shooting shows and since then he has shot bands and artists like Paramore, Misterwives, Post Malone and many more. When Patrick isn’t working or shooting shows, he enjoys spending time with his 3 year-old pitbull named Burger. The two of them are best buddies that often take long hikes through the woods together or play in their backyard. We recently got to sit down with Patrick to learn more about his love of photography, how he got started and advice he has for creatives who hope to be just like him!
How long have you been doing photography? What originally drew you to it? Who are your influences currently?
I started shooting in early 2016. I don’t have a super great or inspirational backstory about why I started photo. It was honestly because I couldn’t afford to go to all the concerts I wanted to. I was running out of money way too fast as a freshman in college with no job and had to figure out how I was going to see all of my favorite bands. So I asked for a camera for my birthday, signed up for my campus newspaper, and started requesting shows with basically no portfolio. After I got through my first few shoots, I realized that it was something I actually really enjoyed doing and wanted to continue learning, so I set out to teach myself how to become a professional.
There are so many amazing photographers right now. Adam Elmakias was the first concert photog I ever followed and I’ve always looked at him for influence, not just with my photos but how I want to be perceived in the industry. He is just a genuinely good guy that everyone respects. I really love Jordan Heffler right now too. Her Instagram feed is incredible and I love the way she uses and plays with vibrant colors. I also feel constantly inspired by my amazing friends. Sara Fish, Christina Casillo, Maggie Freidman, Allie Garrigan, Richard Knowles, Beth Packer, Catherine Patchell, and Caitlin Dunn are all incredibly talented and push me to continue to get better with every shoot.
In This Moment
What is your favorite part about being a photographer? The worst part?
This is a tough question. The worst part for me is definitely culling through my photos. Over the course of the past two years I’ve finally taught myself how to take fewer pictures while in the pit, but I still loathe going through all of them to find the best ones for a gallery. Sometimes I end up liking every picture I take and having a hard time picking out the essential photos to go in an article. Sometimes I hate every shot I got that night and just don’t even want to look at them. It’s the most time consuming piece of my editing process because I am so indecisive.
My favorite part about being a photographer is having the ability to capture a single, unique moment in time forever. Nobody else is going to be standing in the same spot, at the same angle, capturing the same person with the same settings and atmosphere as I am and I think that’s really cool. I also love getting to share these moments with people and being able to evoke emotions an feelings from just a photo.
If you can remember, what was the first show you shot? And looking back, what advice would you give to your former self?
The first show I had ever shot from the photo pit was Mayday Parade and The Maine at Lupo’s in Providence, RI. I think it had to have been like February 2016 or somewhere around there. I think I had shot maybe two shows from the crowd before than and I was SO nervous.
Looking back there is s much I wish I could have told myself. I wish I knew proper photo pit etiquette, I wish I didn’t take close to 1,000 of every band, I wish I learned how to actually use Lightroom earlier. But I think if I had known all of those things when I first started out I wouldn’t have come to where I am today.
Walk The Moon
Out of all of the photos in your portfolio, which photo is your favorite and why?
My favorite photo changes almost daily. I love a lot of the pictures I have taken, all for different reasons. Right now I think it’s this one I took of Mandy from Misterwives a couple weeks ago. I’ve been friends with these guys for like three years now and they are some of my absolute favorite people in the world to shoot (and just in general). I remember standing in the photo pit watching Mandy headband on the other side of the stage while I was trapped on the opposite side and hoping she would come over to my side. I wasn’t ready when she eventually did make it over, but I dropped to the ground and started shooting hoping my settings were in the right spot because I didn’t have time to change them. When I looked through and saw this one I just knew it was “the one”.
How would you describe your music photography? In other words, what do you think you do that sets you apart from other photographers out there? To me, it’s the way that you capture genuine emotion — be it from the crowd, from the artist, the interaction between the two or just the general atmosphere of the concert; it’s evident in both close up and wide angle shots and I think that’s a really strong talent to have.
Thank you! That’s really kind of you, and capturing emotion is definitely something I strive for. I want people to feel something when they look at my photos. That emotional response is something that keeps me motivated to continue doing what I’m doing. I also feel like compared to a lot of what I’m seeing going around, my edits are relatively subtle. Don’t get me wrong, my photos are still pretty heavily worked on in post, but I really like to keep everything as natural looking as possible. I usually care more about what is in the photo than how it looks, if that makes sense. Like there are some people who can make a photo of a blank piece of paper look absolutely stunning with the way they’re able to edit and I admire that so much. But for my photos I like to keep everything relatively simple.
When shooting, what is your typical gear setup?
Canon 5D MKIII with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8. I also have a 50mm f/1.8 but I rarely use that since getting the 24-70.
Company of Thieves
When it comes to genres that you tend to photograph, you’re kind of all over the board. Looking at your Instagram feed it goes from Misterwives to Portugal. The Man to Papa Roach, A Day To Remember, etc. That being said, is there a specific genre that you tend to lean towards shooting more or is there a genre that you think is more photogenic than others?
Most of the music I listen to falls into the pop-punk / hardcore category and that’s where I first started doing music photography so I always enjoy making it out for those shows. But recently I have fallen back in love with pop music and it has definitely become my favorite genre to shoot. The production is so high end and I love the energy that comes from a lot of pop stars, especially girls. They have to perform with so much more energy than a band does usually because it is just them on stage, they have nobody to really back them up which makes them so much fun to shoot.
War On Women
And a new question that I wanna try out — how important do you think it is as a society to have a strong creatives in our world and to keep the creative industry alive? In other words, there’s been talks of defunding different creative organizations and programs, what is your opinion on that and how has your life improved, changed since you full embraced being a creative person? Does that make sense?
I think creativity in general is so so so important. Everything I do has been influenced by the privileges I had to participate in creative programs growing up. I played in the school band for 8 years, I was in choir for a couple years, I took some really great art classes, and obviously now my full time job in in a creative field. I see a lot of people that will post statistics about how art makes kids smarter and playing an instrument is good for memory and all these different things that eventually lead back to getting better grades. But I don’t think that’s important. Creativity makes people feel good. It allows us to look into ourselves and be more aware of who we are and what makes us unique. No matter what you do or how you do it, being able to take a step away from society and all the standards we’re expected to meet and just create something, there’s just nothing else like it. It is so important that we continue to provide everyone with outlets to experience this.
This question is another one of those questions that I ask everyone, do you prefer shooting shows in clubs/venues or at festivals and why?
I’ve only shot one *real* music festival before so it’s hard to say, but probably venue shows. I hate the summer and heat so being outside for extended periods of time lugging around all my heavy gear is not an ideal situation for me. But I do love the opportunity to get to shoot a variety of different artists all in one place and can we please give it up for natural lighting?? But venue shows are short and usually air conditioned with indoor plumbing so that’s where I tend to go.
What advice do you have for up and coming photographers?
My biggest piece of advice is just don’t be a jerk. It’s really that simple. If you want to succeed, just be a good person. There are so many tutorials and so many people far more knowledgeable about photography than I am so please go to them to learn all of that stuff. But from my experience, just being kind is going to get you really far. Be kind to your fellow photographers (even the new ones), be kind to security, be kind to publicists and management. You don’t have to suck up to everyone and you are allowed to stand up for yourself when something is not right, but just don’t be a jerk about it. People knowing that you are a good person is going to help you get a lot farther in your career than just a nice looking portfolio would.
You can stay up to date with Patrick Moran via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and you can check out the rest of his work on his website, here.