We’re excited to to partner up with concert-photography maven, world traveler, and entrepreneur, Max Roper. We got to pick his brain about some of the visually striking images he’s captured and packaged it all up this this blog post for your enjoyment! So read on and enjoy!
Tamrac: Tell us about your first experience with photography and when you knew it was something you wanted to do.
Max: I am a fairly new photographer in general, I got my first DSLR back in 2009 and started just taking photos of anything I was doing. I travel a lot so I was very excited to start getting some good documentation of my travels. Music is a huge part of my life so I think once that was blended with photography, I was into it!
Tamrac: How did you get started with concert photography? Did you know the bands or just show up with your camera in hand and start taking awesome photos?
Max: I love and play music and was going to shows all the time and I thought that I would try and sneak my camera in to get some shots of this artist I was seeing at a smaller venue. I separated the camera up between a few of my friends and I got it in. After the show, I posted the photos on the artists facebook page and they loved them. It was really unexpected. I honestly really had no idea what I was doing, but they really liked my photos. That encouraged me to continue.
Tamrac: What kind of camera gear do you usually take on your concert shoots? Do you ever use a flash as a fill or use only stage lighting?
Max: My first camera was the Nikon D80 and I loved it, so now I am a Nikon dude! I use the D700 now and pretty much just the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8. Once in a while I will bring out my fisheye or the 50mm 1.4 if it will work for the shoot I am on. The 24-70 f/2.8 is pretty much my go-to lens. About 90% of my shots are with that lens. I bought a flash a few years ago and the first time I tried to take it out it got dropped in a lake and that was that. I am a big proponent of using only stage lighting.
Tamrac: You’ve managed to capture some epic moments in concerts (Mute Math drum jump). Are some of these simply being at the right place at the right time and do you also have an idea of how the show will go so you’re able to plan your shoot out?
Max: Thanks :). That Mute Math concert was actually the 4th concert I had taken photos at so I was still getting into the swing of how it all works. I had never seen them before. They were just unreal! Still to this day, they are one of the most amazing bands touring. That night may have had a bit of luck on it. I was also just so into their energy. I think it contributed to how good all of the shots came out. Since then I’ve been on a few tours with bands where I’m shooting their show every night which allowed me to really learn the pace of their sets. You can be very calculated in that type of situation.
Tamrac: From all of the concert shoots you’ve been on I’m sure you’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff. Do you have any funny or crazy stories you can share?
Max: There is always something crazy happening at every concert. Haha. I was taking photos in New York once and it was a pretty insane show; mosh pits everywhere and crowd surfing galore. I was up front and taking photos and some dude from the crowd that was (obviously) pretty drunk decided that it was the best call to pour the remainder of his beer all over me and my camera. My camera was a bit sticky but it was all good. He ended up apologizing. It was pretty funny afterwards.
Tamrac: So what do you like to do when you’re not shooting Jay-Z or traveling around the world?
Max: I have a few things going on. I do tech stuff over at Red Bull and just finished up the Red Bull Stratos project where we had an athlete skydive from space. The project went very well and I am glad he is alive. I also have a tech startup called Appetize. It’s a mobile app that allows you to order food/drinks/merchandise at stadiums and get it delivered to your seat. It is going very well and we have some pretty awesome products that I am very happy about. I love the blues. When I am not working on my other projects, I am playing some blues guitar.
Tamrac: Are there any projects or opportunities on the horizon for you that you’d be able to share with us?
Max: I am a licensed skydiver and am trying to get as many jumps as possible to be able into get to base jumping. I am pretty excited about it and plan to start base jumping everywhere I travel to. Hopefully some of my photography can carry over into that space and I can starting getting some new and innovative shots.
Tamrac: Lastly, do you have any advice for other photographers that have been inspired by your work?
Max: Every photographer should strive to be as unique as possible. Just trying to copy someone else won’t get you very far and ultimately will just put you in the cloud of others. Strive to be as personally creative as possible!
To see and learn more about Max: