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How To Get a Photo Pass

So now that you know how to get started, you’re probably wondering how to take the next step, how to get a photo pass.

What Is a Photo Pass?

A photo pass is your golden ticket to photographing a concert. But it also works in favour of the artists as it generates press through these photos and reviews that are posted on social media or a platform that people will view them. So essentially, to gain access to these shows you need to offer a service in return.

Working For a Publication

They won’t just let any person shoot a show, when reaching out to an artist’s publicist to request a photo pass the first thing they will check for is that you are shooting for a publication. This could be a music blog or magazine, it does not have to be a major one like Rolling Stone or Billboard, but a small music blog would suffice as long as it regularly posts content and is gaining traction.

Now how do you start working for these publications? Research! Search on Google of local music blogs or check on social media. Once you have found one go on their site and find their contacts and send them email. The email should entail of your name, the city you are from, expressing your interest in contributing for them as a photographer and a link to your website.

Be persistent, email a few and one is bound to bring you on board!

Time To Get a Photo Pass! (Maybe)

Now that you are shooting for a publication it is time to request a photo pass. Photo passes and media credentials are usually handled by an artist’s publicist so they are the people you want to reach out to. In some cases the editor of the publication will be the ones to reach out for photo passes but from my experience I will reach out myself. A good time to send an email to the publicist is about 2 weeks, any earlier than that then it will get lost in their email because they have to deal with the shows coming up sooner. But the latest I would reach out is one week before the show.

Here is a template I usually follow:


My name is [Your name], I am a photographer for the online publication [Publication name].

 I am contacting you in hopes of obtaining a photo pass for [Artist name] on [Date of show] at [Venue name] in [City name].

My publication’s editor is CC’d in the email.


[Your name]

Now it is just a waiting game. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a response right away, again they have other requests to deal with as well. Just make sure to send a follow up email a week or a few days before the show. Also, don’t give up if you have been denied or get no response at all there will be other shows just keep reaching out.

It isn’t easy landing gigs and shows to shoot, I read an interesting article about James Marcus Haney, he is currently the photographer for the band, Mumford & Sons, but his journey to getting to this position is a bit of an alternative route. Marcus being young and unable to afford going to these big music festivals was determined, he would sneak into festivals, such as Coachella, and take photos of the acts performing. Although I do not condone sneaking into events, my take away from this story is that you just got to keep shooting, find as many events to shoot and eventually you will build that portfolio and make a name for yourself.

I hope you found this information useful, please comment down below to let me know or if you have any questions, I would more than willing to answer and help the best I can!

Make sure to check regularly for my next post!

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