Snoop Dogg (and the frustrations of shooting major recording artists in concert)

So I shot Snoop Dogg’s concert at the Crossroads KC earlier this week for Ink Magazine, and actually I was really there to take party pics of the crowd as well as shots of Snoop. Which was fine and I did that, and it was a good crowd. But while people may think what an awesome thing it must be to be able to shoot someone as big as Snoop Dogg, shooting a major recording artist in concert is incredibly limiting.

For starters, you get only the first three songs to shoot. Which, quite honestly, is all you need to get a standard “Yep, that’s Snoop Dogg on stage” shot. But often times in my concert-going experience, some of the best photo ops happen later in the show, when the crowd and the artist/band are really kicking it into high gear at the peak of the show. But I guess that’s not what I’m there for when it comes to “why” I’m there. I’m just there to document that, again, Snoop Dogg did indeed appear on stage that night 😛

The "Yes, that is Snoop Dogg on stage" photo

Secondly, you’re stuck in what’s called “the pit” with a bunch of other photographers. The pit is basically the area a few feet in width that separates the crowd (by a low wall) from the stage and is manned by security to make sure nobody rushes on stage. While it’s nice to get so close to the artist, you have absolutely no mobility and really, how many variations of the same shot from the same angle do you really need? And even more distressing, how in the hell do you differentiate yourself from the other half-dozen or so photographers you’re sharing the pit with?

"Hey everybody, I'm really here on stage..."

Again, I see that it’s not really feasible to get access on
to the stage (much less backstage) to take pics. But it illustrates the limitations that come when you’re dealing with a real life bonafide star as opposed to a local cover band who’ll gladly let you climb on stage to take pics for their entire show (I’m spoiled that way). So do I dislike shooting major artists with these limitations? Well, perhaps to some degree. It’s certainly not as much fun as when I can do whatever I want with the Zeros or 90 Minutes. It does sound impressive to tell people I shot Snoop Dogg, I guess, but I also realized I certainly wouldn’t do it for free unless it was a band/artist I was a real big fan of.

Lighting truss accidentally getting lowered...

As an interesting side note, somehow the front lighting truss was accidentally lowered during the middle of the first song (see pic above). This was evidently an accident and I don’t really think anyone was in any real danger, because it was coming down verrrrrry slowly, and so for that reason I’m guessing somebody accidentally hit a switch that lowers it so the lights can be placed in storage afterward (I’m guessing)…but security and Snoop’s management were completely bewildered and almost panicking as they shoved us photographers out of the way to “safety” two separate times. Weird.


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