Glyn: Allen thanks so much for being a Guest Photographer here on the blog; I really do appreciate it mate.
Allen: Hey no problem at all it’s very nice of you to ask me.
Glyn: Ok so I guess the first question I want to ask you is ‘How did you get started?’
Allen: Well I actually started shooting some years ago but life took over as it does going to college, work, marriage, starting a family and photography fell by the wayside. TIme passes, life changes, and you end up back with your passions. Seven years ago, in 2003, a friend of mine invited me to a local festival, ProgPower USA which is an annual festival here in Atlanta which features progressive rock and metal bands largely from Europe. A photographer himself, he informed me the festival was camera friendly so I went along with the camera I had at the time which was a Nikon Coolpix 5700. This was the catalyst for me. Shortly thereafter, I invested in a Nikon D70 and started going out and shooting at local clubs as much as possible. Shooting and networking, local clubs lead to shooting regional acts. Shooting and networking. Regional acts lead to shooting national acts. Lather, rinse, repeat. Over time I’ve managed to build a nice portfolio and establish a solid reputation with local and national media outlets and artist management.
Glyn: So how come you’ve chosen to specialise in music as opposed to say ‘Portraiture’ or ‘Editorial’ Photography?
Allen: I suppose photography is photography right? But in fact, for me, and many other genre specific photographers it is the subject matter and the challenges therein to a specific type of photography that gets you excited and ever challenges you. I am a music lover. I am also a photographer. I love the quirks navigating the music industry as well as walking into each and every assignment no knowing what to expect, having to get my head into it within about 3 seconds, shooting 10 minutes and then having to come away with 20 or so great photos worthy of publication.
Glyn: When it comes to camera gear what are you shooting with at the moment?
Allen: At present I am shooting with Nikon D700′s and I’m shooting dual bodies. Generally when it comes to lenses I have with me what I call ‘The Holy Trinity’ which is the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 , the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. They easily handle most if not all the live performance shooting situations I find myself in as well as also allow for some creative freedoms. I really love the wide angle of the 14-24mm when you can pull it off, especially when the artist comes out to the edge of the stage and does a lot of crowd interaction. The 24-70mm is a perfect mid range focal length for normal stage front positioning. Finally the 70-200mm is exceptional for the long shots such as catching the drummer at the back of the stage or if I’m in a crowded pit shooting down stage. While I don’t buy into the brand wars in the photography world, I am most comfortable with the Nikon system and I trust it to not let me down.
Glyn: So how on earth do you prepare for shooting a live concert?
Allen: I approach a live shoot with the same level of detail as any photographer would prepare for a shoot. First and foremost is pre show equipment check and clean. Charge batteries, clear memory cards, check settings, check camera straps and connections, and general working order of my equipment. I then pack my kit based on
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