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Getting Started in Music Photography with Red Bull Photographer Todd Owyoung

Lesson 14 of 24

Artist Portraits

Todd Owyoung

Getting Started in Music Photography with Red Bull Photographer Todd Owyoung

Todd Owyoung

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Lesson Info

14. Artist Portraits


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 Live Music Photography Duration:13:40
3 Camera Settings Duration:09:34
5 Research & Preparation Duration:06:20
6 Challenges & Pain Points Duration:00:40
7 All Access Duration:16:29
8 Shooting for Editorial Duration:03:15
9 Capturing Music Festivals Duration:03:58
10 Using Speedlights Duration:07:44
11 Photographing Drummers Duration:07:44
12 Gear Duration:25:39
13 Location Scouting Duration:19:57
14 Artist Portraits Duration:06:56
15 Artist Portraits - Stairwell Duration:06:48
16 Artist Portraits - Outside Duration:12:04
20 Getting Started Duration:10:15
21 The Photo Pass Duration:19:38
22 Photo Pit Etiquette Duration:06:29
24 Post Processing Workflow Duration:26:02

Lesson Info

Artist Portraits

So excited to be working with BEAR AXE right now. We've just met Shay, John and Matt. And looking at shooting onstage here at Neumos. And we have this great red curtain, and we're just gonna work with a richness there. And working with one key light and the back light, just to kind of put a little light on the background, and just have a little bit of that texture. Overall we're kind of looking for a darker, moodier look with this, to kind of play off that red curtain and kind of work with the vibe of the band and kind of their own style. All right, looks good, yep. Shay you are perfect. Comfortable sitting like that? Cool. Oh yeah. Okay. I think Jon, you're looking at Matt? Maybe we have you angle off a little bit, yeah, perfect. And you know, kind of, the intent of this we want to put you know have you and whatever makes you feel both comfortable but also powerful. We wanna like put you and have kind of like present your energy like arghhh (laughter). But you know you might, mayb...

e if it's leaning forward or... I have to stay seated here? You could...would you feel more comfortable standing up? No, no. I'm fine seated like this. Okay, yeah, maybe it's leaning up, maybe it's like throwing your head back a little bit and uh (laughter) Yeah, cool, all right. You both are good, we might... Matt, just have you lean forward a little since you're kind of on a different plane, your face is kind of All right. All right, cool. Looks good. Then let's say Matt, kind of, lean to your yeah, that. Perfect, just like that. Great, nice, I like it. Shay, you look great, perfect. Yeah even, yeah. John, you looking off camera like that is looks great. Nice. One, two, three. (camera shutter) Looks good. (camera shutter) Cool. Just gonna do a minor adjustment, just dial the key light up a little bit. (camera shutter) Just like that, one more, perfect. Cool, I just want to show you what we're working with here. Just kinda the look we're getting. Rich your look in the back, kind of like, a little darker, moodier. Okay. I'm gonna sit back actually, if that's okay? Yeah. Is it all right? Cool, this attitude right here, looks good, nice. (camera shutter) Looks good, great. (camera shutter) Cool, I'm just looking to get a variety of focal lengths, different distortion here. I can back up and shoot with a little more telephoto, here at about fifty millimeters, or come in for a little bit more perspective, and this is about twenty-eight millimeters. As well as mixing up frame between full length, so to speak, or a little tighter just to get a little variety in the shots. (camera shutter) Nice. Would you feel more comfortable standing? Do you want to try some shots over there? All right, looking good. Let's see we have Shay centered up right here, great. John, move back a little, and Shay, get um, yeah. You feel good like that? Just like straight on to camera? Looks perfect. Lets see, yeah, you're good like that. John and then Matt, we can kind of get you angled off like this. You can even just hook your, yeah pocket like that. Perfect, then we kind of adjust you a little bit. All right. And then Ken, if you come in with the light, then we can come in about like that. Nice. All right. Looks good. Perfect. Just a little test shot right here. (camera shutter) And, can you come forward a little bit, and even a little down, a little bit closer, great. Looks good. (camera shutter) Cool. Let's show you guys, what's looking in there. I like that, I like the hands on the hips, looks good. I gotta suck that gut in. Looks good. Great. Looks good, right here, perfect, nice. All right, love it, and then Shay, if you could even sort of angle your face towards the light a little bit. Yeah, even just the angle I think that is perfect just like that. Yeah and its a lot of attitude right here. Nice. (camera shutter) Love it, looks good. (camera shutter) And John, even a little more sort of off, yeah just like that. Nice. You good? All right. Awesome. (camera shutter) Cool. So as far as camera settings, we are at ISO 64, shooting F-45, and even though it's not stopping out a ton, it's gonna be enough because all the plane of the faces, is basically in the same plane, so everything's going to be in focus there, and at 1/200th of a second to synced with the pro photo. (camera shutter) Cool. Looks great here. This lower angle is kind of giving a little more of a heroic look to the band, it's kind of playing with perspective a little bit, at about twenty-six millimeters or so. And again, just gonna back up to get a little bit of a flatter shot, and a variety, here. Shay, right here. (camera shutters) Awesome. Just giving you a full length shot now. Same set up. One, two, three, perfect, nice. (camera shutter) Looks good. Think, last shot for this location right here, great and Matt, eyes back at camera, perfect. One, two, three, great. So in contrast to the previous setup, we've stripped away the back light and we're just working with key light, we've moved the band a little closer to the background so that the light the key light is both hitting the subjects and the background and getting a little bit of that texture of that nice red curtain. So I think we have got this stage set up, set and we're just going to move on to a stair location, This is right down on the way to Barbosa, and wrap it up.

Class Description


  • Learn how to price and license yourself as a music photographer
  • Work in even the darkest of venues
  • Capture variety with a band during a short set with limited space
  • Utilize speedlights within a performance
  • Work with performers to pose portraits that capture their music
  • Post-processing techniques to take your image to the next level


With the lights, energy and creativity behind each concert- it’s no wonder that music photography continues to be a dream career. In this course, created in partnership with Red Bull Photography, Todd Owyoung walks through how to get into the music photography business by working with bands, venues and albums. He talks through licensing and pricing your time and your images to publisist, venues, magazines and more. This course goes in the field with Todd and three different bands to walk through how to capture a variety of images in a small amount of time. He teaches how to set up and direct portraits with the band in green rooms and between sound checks. Todd explains how to make even the smallest and grungiest venue make a band look mainstream. This course will teach you composition, working with flash and natural light, directing the band and performers and things to never forget when photographing a live event.


  • Music Photographers
  • Event Photographers
  • Beginners


Todd Owyoung is a music photographer with over a decade of experience specializing in music lifestyle, musician/celebrity portraits, and concert photography. If it rocks, he shoots it. Based in New York City.

He’s obsessed with nailing those rockstar moments, the images that fans love to see of their favorite bands. Whether the venue is a 200-capacity club or Madison Square Garden, shooting for a major brand or on tour, his images place you in the front row.

His clients range from bands and festivals to magazines, lifestyle brands and ad agencies. In 2012, Complex Magazine named him #3 in their list of the "Greatest Music Photographers Right Now".

He’s a Nikon Ambassador for Nikon Camera


Alexandra U

I highly reccomend this class for any one who would like to get started or dip their toes in the concert photography scene. This class has many useful tips and trick for any level of photographer, not just beginners. I have been in the music scene for over 10 years and I was able to gather so much information in every chapter. Watching this video boosted up my confidence as a photographer because it validated that I am already succeeding in my concert career. Thank you for this amazing stream. It sparked my creative soul once again.

Kris Comer

Wow, this was awesome! I have been a concert photographer for almost 3 years now and I still learned some great tips! I loved that he covered different ideas for promo shots which is one of my weaknesses. Any beginner should definitely check out this course! It is straight and to the point with all of the most important steps.

Mark Balmer

This is a really great course! I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in this type of photography. It is presented in an easy to understand way. Todd gives clear and informative tips and shows how to set up lights, poses etc! I found it very helpful, and will definitely put what i've learned to work. Thanks, Mark