Andy may be a familiar name to many people in our community as he’s done a lot to help us push out content and engage with more people this year. Andy, really appreciate your support and can’t wait to have you as an exhibitor this year!
Tell us about yourself
Hi, I am an East Midlands based music and event photographer. I work up and down the country and even abroad on occasions, including the World Cheerleading Championships in Disney Orlando (I just thought I’d get that one in there early). I like to brand myself as an Epic Moments Photographer, capturing what epic means at different events. It could be winning a bet at the horse racing, shredding a guitar solo or capturing a sold out crowd all with their phones out creating a see of twinkling lights.
When did you start photography and where has your journey taken you since?
I picked up my first camera after A-Levels however it didnt really take off until I had a shoulder operation due to rugby. I wanted to stay involved so took my camera along to games with my university. From there my love for photography grew. It was Ian Lawlor and Ben Hartley at The Leadmill in Sheffield who gave me my first taste of the photo pit. I was part of the stage crew at the venue and asked if I could come down and shoot, admiring the work of Kevin Wells (you should check out his story with Public Enemy if you havent already), The Leadmill allowed me too and from there my love has grew and grew as I have found my own creative style and voice.
I moved to Nottingham shortly after university, which is where the catalyst seemed to take place, the image quality grew, my knowledge of my kit got stronger and it saw me shoot for festivals, in arenas, backstage and get me to some pretty epic locations and in a position where I can finally say the large majority of my shows are now paid.
What is your favourite thing about music photography?
Music photography is a lifestyle I dont think other dynamics within photography can keep up with. Its insane, when you get the shot the potential is endless. Knowing you’ve got potentially thousands of people behind you, all wanting your spot, the best spot in the whole venue. I also love it when the bands like my work and reach out loving it, but also the fans, if you win them over you’re images can go all over the globe.
What is your least favourite thing about music photography?
Terrible lighting, yes we can adapt and our kit is good, but in a day and age where we can do all sorts with technology, It really cant be too had to install a few decent lights here and there in a venue.
What has been your biggest learning curve since starting gig photography?
Learning my camera inside and out. The more you know about your kit, the better you are at reacting to a different environment. For years I shot at f2.8 but the shots just didnt do it for me. I switched to 3.2 or 3.5 in the same environment and now find the images so much sharper. Just because its generally the norm, doesnt mean you have to do it.
Do you build relationships with bands/artists you shoot? If so tell us about them.
Yes relationships are key. If you can understand what a band likes then it means they are more likely to use your shots. Ive had bands say they only post black and white, so I didnt waste my time and only edited black and white shots. Other bands saying what kind of shots they like, either up in there face or certain positions. It also means that they can tell you if anything special will happen, like confetti or drummers taking their kit into the crowd. Ive even had full lighting plans which was amazing! Once you get to know these bands, you can ask them if you can try something new too, they trust you so know you wouldnt do something just for the sake of it.
Many photographers spend a lot of time shooting for free, do you have any advice for people just starting out?
Theres nothing wrong shooting for free, but have control over what can be done with the images. Make sure you have them watermarked and then as your confidence grows then so can your abilities to charge. Work hard and get in the pit as much as you can, but dont do it forever.
Choose 3 of your favourite music photographers and a bit about why you like their work?
Alexander Hallag aka @themusicistalking. Firstly, great book you should get it! but he has a recognisable style, the contrast in his black and white shots it epic. Im a big fan, plus he is a lovely guy too. We’ve had many a chat and debate regarding all elements of life.
Luke Curtis (@lukecurtis.co.uk), once again a lovely bloke who has a great business mind, Luke captures exciting images, creating colourful end products as well as creative portraiture. His business sense is great and helps keep me in check from time to time.
Ed Fielding (@edfielding) this guys work is like paintings at times, his work creates movement and a bit of a dynamic nature which I love. His stripped back approach is great, in a recent chat with him, he mentioned he goes into the pit with one camera and thats all he needs. I agree with him, theres no point over complicating things when you are on a job. He goes in with a clear head and gets the shots.
All 3 of these guys are family men and are genuine. A few years back it would have been intimidating to approach them, but I can now call them all friends which is a huge honour.
What are you looking forward to at this years festival?
Putting faces to names, the Shout About It Community is huge and I love it, but I can’t wait to meet the likes of Katie Frost as well as overs. Raise a glass to all of our hard work and listen to some brilliant live music acts.
Tell us a bit about the work you have chosen to exhibit?
Exhibition work isnt just about displaying your best bits, but also creating a visually appealing set of shots. Something attractive to look at but shows that its not just a plonk and place. So I have been working hard on what I feel will help my images flow. I have finally decided and am looking forward to having my images displayed.
What are your hopes for the future of music photography?
I honestly don’t see the financial stability of the industry changing any time soon, theres too many people out there who have just as much right to be in the photo pit as the rest of us. The market is devalued by people constantly working for free that it is honestly in my opinion nearly beyond repair. I’d love to see more financial value added in our work but my plan is to find structure in a full time job and pick and choose what music photography jobs I do. I don’t want to, but it will take the pressure off for me which is what I may need in future years.
What is your favourite way to share your photographs and why?
Instagram every time @andytattphoto 😉 – I like using the photography community hashtags like #htbarp and #photopitforever to build new communities.
What do you think makes a good gig photo?
This is all very subjective to an individual, but for me I dont mind if theres motion blur, is the image is slightly soft, but if the image fills me with excitement through emotion, colour, stage precence or anything that makes a great shot. Different styles and personalities of bands require different styles of photography so its about getting the fit right.
What are your plans for the future with music photography?
I have loved the journey I am on, however as I start to get a little bit older I want a bit more financial stability. I love what I do, and its an insane lifestyle. I get to go to some cool places, get the best seat in the house. But one day I want to start a family, so this means getting a 9-5 style job. I wont stop shooting, I will just be a bit more selective. This is turn will take the pressure off so I can use all my energy to get the best shots possible on that night.