Shoot From the Pit Workshops – by David Bergman

David Bergman David Bergman is a New York based music, portrait, and sports photographer and is a Canon Explorer of Light – one of the highest honors achievable by a professional photographer.

With more than 25 years of professional experience, David has photographed over a thousand concerts. He is the official tour photographer for Bon Jovi – for whom he has produced three coffee table photo books. In addition to his other celebrity clients, David has 13 Sports Illustrated covers to his credit, and his high-resolution GigaPan of President Obama’s first inaugural speech was viewed by over 30 million people. His photos have also been featured in almost every major publication around the world.

As a professional photographer, I’m fortunate to have worked with great clients, including some awesome musicians. I love the experience of photographing a concert or music festival, and I get a lot of emails from photographers asking if they can carry my bags at the next show.

workshop attendees

Workshop attendees pose for a picture in the photo pit before the show.

Unfortunately, I can’t use assistants when I work on tour, but this gave me a great idea. There are “experience based” photo workshops for sports, travel, and headshots, but really nothing for live concerts. I want everyone to fulfill their fantasy of shooing a concert while getting a quality photo education at the same time. I’m in a unique position to make this happen because I’ve been a working photographer for more than 25 years, am a Canon Explorer of Light, often lead workshops and speak at big industry events, and have toured with bands as their official tour photographer.

I approached some of my music clients with this crazy idea, and Shoot From the Pit was born.

We did a “proof of concept” at two Andy Grammer concerts in northern California, and it went really well. Here’s a recap written by one of the attendees:

Andy Grammer

Andy Grammer in concert

For 2018, I’m starting out big with two music festivals. The first is a 3-day cruise from Miami to Nassau with Pitbull in March, and the second is a 4-day festival with Pat McGee and a dozen great singer/songwriters on the beautiful outer banks of North Carolina in May. I’m only accepting a small number of photographers, because these are fully-immersive, hands-on learning and shooting workshops that will let you experience the thrill of photographing real, live concerts.

Throughout our time together, we’ll go over proper photo gear for concerts, nailing exposures with concert lighting, the photo business, getting photo passes, setting up remote cameras, how to work with the crew, and so much more. There will be multiple concerts to photograph, and I’ll be by your side to make sure everything is going smoothly. We’ll have a section on portrait lighting and might even get one of the artists to pose for an exclusive photo. There will be daily critiques, and I’ll make sure we have some social time to get to know each other.

sound check

Shooting sound check

Each of these events will have a different vibe to them. The “Pitbull After Dark Party Cruise,” is exactly that: one big party with Pitbull, Flo Rida, Yandel, Becky G, and a couple thousand rabid fans. My friends at Sixthman have been running these music cruises for many years and know how to make them awesome. My workshop is an add-on to your cruise ticket. We’ll have time set aside to work together every day and each photographer will get to shoot some of the various events throughout the ship. During the day in port, I’m planing a photo walk for us in the Bahamas. Workshop attendees qualify for a discounted rate on the cruise ticket that might entirely cover the cost of the workshop. It’s going to be long days and late nights, but it’ll still be over before you know it.

The Pat McGee event is much more laid back, taking place in the beautiful outer banks of North Carolina. This is the 10th anniversary of Pat’s “Down the Hatch” festival, and he does it right. A couple hundred fans all stay in the same hotel with him and about a dozen talented signer/songwriters including Tony Lucca (from The Voice), Paul Barrere and Fred Tacket (from Little Feat), Stephen Kellogg, and so many more. There are performances indoors and out, along with special events like a headphone disco, BBQ cookout, and a golf tournament. Each one of those presents its own unique photographic challenges, and we’ll tackle as many of them as we can.

Pat McGee

Setting up lights with gels to make the grey sky blue.

In the future, I’ll be adding more events, including single-day concerts that will pack a lot of punch in a short amount of time. I’m hoping to create a “bucket list” moment for everyone who has ever wanted to “shoot from the pit.”

And you don’t even have to carry my bags.

More information and newsletter sign-up at Shoot From the Pit.
Follow David Bergman on Instagram @davidbergman.

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