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Getting Started in Music Photography with Red Bull Photographer Todd Owyoung

Lesson 17 of 24

Sound Check with Low Hums and Wild Powwers

Todd Owyoung

Getting Started in Music Photography with Red Bull Photographer Todd Owyoung

Todd Owyoung

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Lesson Info

17. Sound Check with Low Hums and Wild Powwers

Lesson Info

Sound Check with Low Hums and Wild Powwers

With Low Hums, one great opportunity that we have is to shoot sound check. Sound check is an important opportunity for a music photographer, because it allows you to get a feel for the space, for the venue, if you haven't shot there before. But it allows you to see how the band members are going to interact on stage. How they're positioned. You know, is the bassist or the guitarist stage right, stage left? Where the drum kit is setup. It allows you to test shooting angles. Ideally maybe even see what the lighting might be like. And really just kind of plan your shot list, plan your angle of attack, and all the strategy going into that real, live show. (bass strumming) (drumming) (bass tuning) (soft rock music) Again, this was a great opportunity because it allowed me to see not only the band's setup, which was crucial to planning my attack for these photos, but also to just chat with the band and get their buy in. So, for example, the drummer Mike, I was able to show him photos of wh...

at it looks like to use speed lights under a drum kit or just four small venue lights in general. Getting his buy in, him as drummer, and me being able to say, "hey, I love photographing drummers. "I want to nail great shots of you. "Here's what this treatment looks like. "It's going to be minimally distracting, "you're probably not going to even notice it." And he was like "yeah, these photos look great. "I want great photos of me, so let's do it." Getting that buy in, just being able to check with the band during soundcheck is a great opportunity to get them on your side. As a result you'll be able to get better access, make better images, and come away with something different that someone who is not having access to the band is not going to get. (loud rock music) ♪ You are the ritual ♪ ♪ The only one ♪ ♪ You are the ritual ♪ ♪ The only one ♪ ♪ You are the ritual ♪ ♪ The only one ♪ Can I get more mic in the fronts? Just on the drummer. I want more vocals of mine. I could use more drum vocals back here. As with the Low Hums, we had access to the Wild Powwers sound check, and this was a great opportunity once again because it allowed me to see their stage setup, get a sneak peak of the energy, which made me even more excited for the live show. Even having listened to Wild Powwers beforehand, seeing them live was a totally different experience. And just Lupe's energy on the drums was amazing, it was exactly the type of energy that a music photographer loves to capture. (rock music) In this shoot with Wild Powwers, one consideration is that they're a trio. Unlike the Low Hums with a three-piece band, they're going to have a much different stage presence than a five-piece band. They're much more spread out and so in contrast to Low Hums, where you could get multiple members in any give frame, it was much more of a challenge to get that full band shot with Wild Powwers. (rock music) ♪ And all its surprise ♪ Because of Wild Plowwers's stage setup, Jordan was a little bit closer to the front of the stage, and was kind of playing out a little more. Whereas Laura, stage left, was pushed back a little bit behind a mic stand. So there's a different level of dynamism, and kind of energy at play and so I personally favored shooting a little bit more from stage right. One tactic that I used for this was shooting with a bit of a wide angle, so that I could get the base of the guitar and kind of play with perspective distortion and put him a little closer in the frame. Play up that perspective. (rock music) ♪ Wherever you are ♪ ♪ When you're riding on yourself ♪ ♪ You can do it all but you won't ♪ ♪ You're riding on yourself ♪ ♪ You can do whatever you want ♪ ♪ You're riding on yourself ♪ ♪ You're riding on yourself ♪ (rock music)

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

Ratings and Reviews

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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