FEATURE: Brittany’s top 10 favorite music photographers
By Brittany Muldoon
As an avid music lover, you follow your favorite bands on every social media platform – Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – the list goes on and on. You see them on the cover of countless magazines both in the store and online. Seeing these photos amazes you – was their show really that crowded? The lead singer did what on stage? They pulled up how many fans to sing with them? You just have to experience it for yourself – to be a part of that crowd you see in the photos and feel the raw emotion that is conveyed in the pictures.
But have you ever wondered who’s behind all the photos you see every day? The people behind the camera are just as important as those onstage – and they’re just like you. Most likely, they started out as passionate fans and followed their dreams to add something important to the music industry – visual art. These photographers do so much for these bands – they provide a powerful marketing tool, create anticipation, show a sense of community, and ultimately, they help fans and musicians alike make memories that will last a lifetime. So, without further ado, these are my top 10 favorite music photographers in no particular order.
James Marcus Haney
Marcus Haney rose to fame after his documentary No Cameras Allowed aired on MTV a few years ago. He’s the one who started his career by sneaking into music festivals by posing as press and then showing Mumford & Sons one of his videos. All of this led to him being invited on tour and he’s been doing music photography and videos ever since. For those looking to see some painfully and hilariously raw moments – his Instagram is for you. His bold style is what makes him truly unique: he’s not afraid to capture the odd moments on camera and share them with the rest of the world to show who he and his subjects really are: a fun-loving, creative group of people who are passionate about what they do. Check out his Instagram and his website to see some fun pictures of music and life.
Adam Elmakias has made a name for himself in the music industry using an interesting branding technique: shaving his head. Definitely an effective way to make sure people remember you. He’s known for his versatility when it comes to genre and style and has worked with big names like A Day To Remember, All Time Low, The 1975, and many more. He’s toured the world several times over and has a variety of photography styles in his portfolio. For those who like a crisp, expertly composed photo, along with some inspirational and educational blog posts check out his Instagram and his website.
Ashley Osborn is impressive because she managed to make a name for herself very quickly at a very young age. She is known for her mainly black and white aesthetic and high contrast photos. She’s toured with bands like PVRIS and Twenty One Pilots and is expanding from mostly doing bands to spanning all genres of music. Her story of making her dream come true is an inspiring one. As we all know, women are generally underrepresented and underestimated, and that is no different in the music photography world. Ashley Osborn provides a powerful female presence in the industry, takes amazing, raw, and emotional photos, and inspires other young girls while she does it. Check out her website and Instagram for more information.
Joshua Halling is a Bristol-based music photographer and videographer. He resides mostly in the realm of rock and alternative, working with names like Neck Deep, Architects, and The Kooks. His photo style could be described as clean, dramatic, and powerful. The way he uses light in his work is impressive. He is one of my favorites and makes it on this list because of his Instagram presence. From his Instagram, we get to see photos he’s taken, silly photos of the bands he’s working with, examples of his Lightroom preset packs, and most importantly, bits and pieces of his personal life and other projects that show exactly how passionate he is about what he does. Check out his Instagram and his website for more information and to browse through the Lightroom preset packs he has for sale.
Ingham is a key player in the pop punk photography scene, working with bands like Neck Deep, State Champs, and ROAM on tour. He snaps pictures of live shows, works on music videos, and captures behind-the-scenes everyday moments with the bands that fans tend to be curious about. It’s easy to see that Ingham becomes close friends with the bands he works with and they are comfortable being themselves around him and his camera – which is an important relationship any photographer should have with their subjects. Ingham’s style can be described as up close and personal and he also utilizes colorful stage lighting to his advantage. Check out his Instagram to view more of his work.
I found out about Kelly Teacher when I realized that she was the photographer on tour with one of my favorite bands: Glass Animals. Anyone who is familiar with the band knows exactly how weird and quirky they are, and Teacher’s photo style complements theirs perfectly. While she photographs live shows, she is also a strong lifestyle photographer. Her Instagram features a wide range of topics and styles so she’s got something for everyone. She has a knack for making the ordinary extraordinary through the beautiful composition of her photos. She mostly works in the alternative and folk scene, working with Glass Animals, The Staves, and Ben Howard. She also does video work and you may have seen one of the documentaries she worked on with James Marcus Haney: Austin to Boston. Check out her website to see all the things she’s worked on recently.
Kurt Cuffy is a Canadian music photographer who has toured with Beartooth, Vanna, and Trash Boat, among others. His grainy style is very raw and perfectly captures the energy that each musician brings to the stage. His own energy adds to every show he shoots. I remember seeing him at a Beartooth show last year quickly hopping from one side of the stage to the other and always moving around to get different angles. It’s clear that he is having the time of his life when he shoots. Check out his Instagram and his website to see examples of his work and learn about the other services he offers, and check out his band Nightwell while you’re at it.
Danny Clinch has been in the music industry for decades now and he’s worked with everyone from the Foo Fighters to Willie Nelson. He’s received several Grammy nominations for his music video work and is a regular at music festivals like Bonnaroo. His style is very large-scale, clean and polished, and his photos are flawless. He is well-established in the music world and it’s clear that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. His clients consist mostly of big names who are well-established in the mainstream media world and his classic style fits this niche. Check out his Instagram and his website for more information about his work.
Marotta lives mostly in the alternative and indie rock scene, working with people like The Japanese House, Marika Hackman, Bloc Party and The 1975. What I appreciate about her is that she works with a lot of up-and-coming bands and portrays them as real people with real emotion. She captures their playful side as well as their creative side, which is rare especially with artists who aren’t as well-known quite yet. She documents the journey they are on and their raw feelings about it. Check out her Instagram and her website.
Wentworth is a Boston-based photographer but he has been traveling all around the country and the world with big names in the hardcore scene, such as Born of Osiris, Parkway Drive, and Bring Me The Horizon. His style can be described as sharp and clean, dramatic and honest. The photos he takes of live shows hold nothing back – you can feel the emotions of the musicians coming through the photos and can almost imagine how it might have felt to be in the crowd. His Instagram boasts mostly live concert and his website expands on his talents in the promotional and portrait world as well.
As a fan and an aspiring music photographer myself, these people are the ones I look up to in order to improve my craft and gather inspiration. Who are your favorite music photographers?