Photographer Bashed For Flash Dragging At A Concert, Photos Are Sweet

A viral video titled ‘How not to be a photographer at a gig’ has been circulating lately showing photographer Aelle Lucà in a concert wildly waving his camera at the band on stage.

Photographer Flashes Camera At Band, Crowd Annoyed, Photos Are Sweet

The movie uploaded by one of the audience shows their uncomfortableness with the situation, and what apparently seemed weird (or unfamiliar at least) form of photography.

The photographer was asked to stop by the first band on stage, The Cortege. He later continued to shoot as another band came on stage Sleeper Effect.

The movie turned into an onslaught against Aelle, gathering over 165 comments most are heavily on the (unbelievably) negative side.

Both the photographer and the band responded on the comments thread for the movie. Here is Ealle’ comment followed by the band’s

It is finally to for me to say something as I have been offended so much in? the last 2 days from conceited/arrogant people.

1) The band ask for photos

2) I asked them explicitly to them if there were any problem with a MASSIVE use of flash (answer was: “Do what u want”!)

3) If someone keeps saying flash is not necessary is clearly lying (not light just 2 PURPLE neon) at all and the band asked for this kind of photos

4) Venue was almost empty so no one to annoy probably just some twat filming

We would like to say that Antonio asked us beforehand whether we minded if he got right in there, using flash and getting on stage. we said not at all. This guy has style and we very much respect his work. Most of us in the band have been gigging and worked in live music for over 15 years and have seen countless flat, boring photos. Some of you may not agree with this style but the results are fantastic. Who is Jay Zee and what right does he have to say? how a photographer should behave?

Apparently Aelle was shutter dragging for effect, and the photographs are quite good. Judge for yourself.

That said, I would love to hear your thoughts on this case.

[How not to be a photographer at a gig via ISO 1200]

  • Mindstorm

    As an audience member, I would find it very annoying. If I paid to watch the band, I would feel cheated.

    If the band wants that kind of photos, that is certainly fine. However, if it is to the detriment of the audience, then go do a private setup with no audience. They can get the same shots — and even improve the lighting that the photographer complained about.

    • flashytoys

      I agree with you — the entire point of a concert is to perform for the FANS, not for the photographer (as much as we’d like that to be true…). The fan experience should be most important, and in this situation the photographer was greatly distracting from that experience. I don’t like the “first 3 songs” or “soundboard only” rules any more than the next shooter but this is taking it too far IMO. If the band wanted shots like this, they could have borrowed a stage for the day and sent a message to their fans on twitter calling for volunteer extras for a photo shoot, because that’s basically what they turned this concert into — a photo shoot.

      • J. Philip vanHeijkoop

        yeah that’s how I see it too. Frankly I think they could’ve easily done these shots during the sound check.

        • Marc W.

          Yeah, if the photographer did it for as long as the video, No problems there. (or even here and there)

    • Pete

      Let’s keep in mind that this was not a huge concert! lol It looks like maybe 40 people are there at most. I did a gig like this once for a friend who was in a band, and while I didn’t fire away like this, the people didn’t care that a photographer was in their way.

      And as a person who has played in a band – you can’t just set up a set without an audience and get the same effect. 1. you need all the lighting setup. 2. you need a free day everyone is available and 3. you need to somehow tap into the mindset that people are jamming out to your music even though no one is. it’s a different energy when you are on stage.

      If you paid a lot of money to go to a bar and watch a small band with 30 other people there I’d feel cheated too simply because you paid money to watch a band with 30 people. lol

  • Ramiro Algozino

    Funny.. someone who shoots a video in VERTICAL says how not to be a photographer… mind=blown.

    Edit: Just saw the photos, they’re really good.

    • Oliver Wiliam Makower

      i shoot gigs this guy is way too close for a direct flash. unless he know’s the G.N rule inside out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.665733986778372.1073741848.480901668594939&type=3 my concert stuff

      https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.665730930112011.1073741847.480901668594939&type=3 gig stuff

      how ever going off the guys pictures he has a decent enough understanding of the G.N rule but obviously would still benefit bouncing the flash off something in my opinion

      • MJPHotostudio

        Dude’s shooting a wide angle. Look at his pics. That’s his thing. He’s not standing 5 feet away with a 70-200.

        • Oliver Wiliam Makower

          neither am i but do you see how their are obvious highlights where the flash hit. i am not perfect at the technique myself how ever bouncing the flash off something will help there be less high lights and ofcourse using the right G.N

      • Jackson

        You have your style he has his. He likes the wide angle look which gives him a different look than the tens of thousands of concert photos I’ve seen like yours.

        • Oliver Wiliam Makower

          do a lot of you like the light trail approach to gig photography? thumbs up if you do please

  • GooseNoir

    The photos do work, but if I’d been a paying punter I don’t think I’d have been too happy with the blocked view and flashes going off. I’ve shot gigs in venues that don’t have “press pits” and while it is great (as a photographer) to get in the bands face, you have to be aware there’s likely to be a few hundred people drinking behind you while you’re blocking their view….

  • Nunzio Peretti

    This is nothing less than paparazzi grandstanding. The photographer is making a desperate attempt at being the showman here. Art is art but this is an overblown ego showing off. He (and the band’s support for his doing this) was/were completely oblivious to the audience experience. Chances are this picture taker didn’t pay to be there but got paid. If the photographer and a client need this result to achieve a vision rent a studio, set lights and go crazy all you want, don’t annoy fans and paying patrons.

  • Chris Hutcheson

    I’ve photographed lots of events with this type of lighting, and it’s truly terrible to work with. Having said that, with the right gear – (a camera with high ISO capability) and some experience with Adobe Lightroom (my tool of choice) or the like, you can produce the same images without a flash if that video is any indication of the environment. Unless the band was doing something strikingly unique the shooter could’ve captured everything needed within, as others have mentioned, the first three songs.

    • Chris Hutcheson

      Just a little more here – as someone mentioned, the shooter was dragging the flash, so that’s probably not doable in my scenario, but contrary to the photographer’s assertion that “If someone keeps saying flash is not necessary is clearly lying ” – I’ve shot in exactly this kind of light, frequently, using a Nikon D3S and D4, and stand by my previous comment. It was the band’s decision to have him shoot the event this way, so if patrons were upset, then it’s on the band, not the shooter, though again, all this probably could’ve been done within the 3-song limit others have mentioned.

  • SuperMoe

    The pictures are good? Not in my opinion. But that’s MY opinion. A struggling photographer and a struggling band trying to make a name for themselves. Who am I to say how they do it? I don’t like it so I won’t support it. But criticize it like someones life depended on it? Get over yourselves people.

    • http://www.joelmeaders.com/ Joel Meaders

      I agree. There are a couple alright shots in there, but then again he should have only taken a couple. I got bored after the first 3.

  • Greg Easton

    I shoot bands at venues and I don’t care how empty the place is (and sometimes it’s EMPTY) I stay out of the line of sight between the lead singer and the audience. And I use flash. And I drag the shutter. And the pictures look awesome. AND nobody complains.

    And if you want to get THAT CLOSE to the singer, use a zoom, douche. If I was a paying audience member at a show with a wanker photog like this I’d find the club manager and insist that something be done or get a refund. The photographer isn’t the show. The photographer should try to be invisible.

    • J. Dennis Thomas

      There’s like three people at the gig. The band ASKED him to shoot. They OK’d him getting close. A telephoto is not going to give you the same effect as a close-up wide shot.

      • Greg Easton

        What did the PAYING CUSTOMERS say about it? Because I’ve done those kind of “It’s ok to get up on stage with us” venues and even then I limit it in deference to the audience no matter how small.

        https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151886899298524.1073741827.200753568523&type=3

        AND, the guy who posted the vid says there were between 30-50 people there. Not three.

        • J. Dennis Thomas

          All THREE of them? Let them take it up with the band. They approved him.

        • J. Dennis Thomas

          They must have been REALLY into the band being that the “videographer” (nice vertical shooting vid guy!) was 15 feet away and still not ONE person from the crown was visible.

          And thanks for the link to your concert photos. Well…

          Are you using a STAR filter?!?

          Look, I’m not trying to bash you, but obviously you’ve got some things to learn before you start criticizing other people’s photography. Your pics aren’t bad, but they aren’t exactly awesome either. It might do you some good to get up a little closer and get more dynamic photos. You’ve got a good grasp on composition and that’s great.

          If you’re there to get the band publicity shots then sometimes you have to step on a few toes here and there. I’m not saying the stand there for the whole gig, but grow a pair and get in there and mix it up with the crowd.

          And lose the star filter. Seriously.

          http://flic.kr/s/aHsiWSHEe2

          • Greg Easton

            I used it for a shoot with the headlining band and they liked it and asked that I do it again and then every band that night raved about it so… ‘the customer is always right’. If you dig around in my photos you’ll be hard pressed to find it used much anywhere else.

            Your shit, however, is ON POINT. I bow to you sir.

          • J. Dennis Thomas

            Thanks.

            Sometimes you have to tell the customer “NO!” :)

            I think in this flasher case, he was doing what the band wanted. It’s also possible the vidiot was just being a dick.

            We weren’t there. The band ain’t mad. The photographer got some good shots.

            The only person that really seems cheezed off is the dude that was shooting video with his PHONE.

            And keep in mind as he’s holding up his phone he’s standing in FRONT of the whole crowd of people. Seems to me he’s not exactly in a position to criticize the photographer.

            And we all know how awesome it is to be stuck behind the butthole that holds his phone up for the whole show.

        • Rick

          The guy who posted the video clearly had been drinking enough to be seeing double. There were maybe 25 people there as shown in the photo from behind the stage. http://aellephoto.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/sleeper-effect_garage0038.jpg

          I can see how a photographer in that small of a room could get old really quick.

          • J. Dennis Thomas

            I count 8 people who are actually watching the band. The rest are chatting or looking around bored. I think there may be a girl on the far right barfing.

  • dave

    the photos are better than the music.

    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I agree with that. Photos are decent with couple really good ones. Band, well, not so much.

      Is the bass player a Juggalo?

      • dave

        haha

      • tyler138

        Halloween gig maybe.?

        • J. Dennis Thomas

          There’s no excuse for dressing as a Juggalo. Ever. That should be the real topic of discussion here.

  • J. Dennis Thomas

    Being a professional concert photographer I don’t condone using flash at a mainstream concert, but if the band wanted him there, wanted his style of shooting, and was OK with him flashing and being in the way then let him do his thing. There’s literally NOBODY in the crowd. Not a huge deal I’d say. FFS it’s a BAR GIG. Not Royal Albert Hall.

    I’m also a professional musician and and I’ve had to deal with flashers lots of times. Being flashed in the face sucks, but sometimes you have to deal with it. Obviously the band has no problem with it and at the end of the day THAT is what counts.

    Personally, If it were my shoot and I HAD to get shots knowing there was awful lighting I’d have mounted some off-camera strobes to the light bar or on some stands up high near the PA speakers. But that’s just me. It looks better because the flashes appear more like stage lighting.

  • Rick

    Was the photographer up there for 5% of the set of 95%? If he was up there only 5% of the total time the band was playing, there was clearly a whiner in the audience. If it was 95% he needs to reassess his methods.

  • catlett

    Shutter dragging for concerts is great. Most of these shots are straight flash but I really like the shutter drag ones.

  • ChrisBlizzard

    I don’t see an issue with using flash. It’s a rarity that it’s allowed, and as a performer I hardly ever notice a flash because I’m paying attention to other things.
    I don’t see an issue with being right in the performers face, I personally love the look of a wide lens really close for this kind of thing. Much nicer than a long lens for most shots (but not all).
    I DO see an issue with that many flashes for that long.

  • Reynardt Badenhorst

    Taking so many photos in burst mode, any one is bound to get great shots. Whether the band agreed to this or not, I personally would feel like a twat and very embarrassed! My opinion, a pro photographer is subtle, discrete and efficient, in and out.

    • Bobby Rock

      Absolutely….wrong. Being afraid to get into the fray is how you miss everything that’s actually worth showing. A good pro photographer gets what his client wants, sometimes without them knowing they want it. You are the experienced photog, not the client or the crowd.

    • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

      Thanks, i guess I’m a pro photographer. But this guy’s results are better. soooo…

  • bayek

    Purple or red lights only are a nightmare at venues. So, it looks like it was more of a “live gig photo shoot” he did than a “shooting at a gig”. Let’s all move on now.

  • http://fstoppers.com/author/rebecca Rebecca Britt

    “Apparently Aelle was shutter dragging for effect, and the photographs are quite good.” Seriously, DIY Photography??

    As a concert photographer, it’s guys like this that are the reason why we have 3 song limits and photo bans on artists. Flashing the artists only distracts them from doing their job. Dozens of people have sent this video to me and it pisses me off every time I watch it. It’s one thing to get close to artists, I do it all of the time, but another to use flash right up in their face.

    Learn your way around low-light situations and how to compensate using your camera’s settings, use good low-light lenses, and drop the on-camera flash for stage and artists shots. Your images will look a ton better and both the audience and artists will thank you for it.

    If I was someone in the audience I would have gotten annoyed pretty quickly.

    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Sorry, but the 3 song limit was in effect LONG before digital photography made EVERYONE a concert photographer.

      This rule was created by the PR people for hair metal bands in the 70′s and 80′s. They only allowed the first three songs because after that they would get sweaty and their hair and makeup would look like shit.

      Back then it wasn’t uncommon for people to use flash as well. The bands didn’t care. They were used to strobes from their own lighting systems.

      And photo bans? That’s not because of guys like these. It’s because of greedy PR people that don’t want anyone to make money from the band, but the band. There’s also the “control” factor where they want only the images they approve of to be in circulation.

    • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

      “Flashing the artists only distracts them from doing their job”
      But, They said he could. So what’s the problem?

      • IAM_THE_KGB

        If the band said it was OK, then they gave their “fans” the finger.

        • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

          That’s the band’s problem. Doesn’t make him a bad photographer or anything.

  • Felipe Arruda

    At least the guy takes great photos!

    • IAM_THE_KGB

      Anyone taking that many shots is going to get some keepers.
      Hold shutter button, throw camera.
      Yea,
      Pro…

      • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

        I was told by LA Times director of photography that if you’re taking less than 500 pictures per event you’re probably not doing it right.

  • http://www.shootfromthehip.us/ AimeeCandelaPhoto

    Basically, someone wasn’t happy that Aelle was there shooting away. He had the band’s OK to do whatever. Whether or not he was doing this during the band’s entire set, I’m unclear about? As already stated the crowd was slim unless someone clearly prevented him from shooting.. no harm done to Aelle & the band!

  • kiwithing

    I really don’t like that some people think that just because there were less than X amount of people, that all of a sudden the people who wanted to see the show don’t matter. That’s pretty selfish.

    While the guy’s photos are pretty great, it still would have been nice if the band and the photographer arranged something that didn’t interrupt the show for the people who may have really wanted to see the band.

    I take pics (as a fan), and I watch shows. Unless the venue is super huge (and even then), I try to remain out of the view of the stage. It’s just the courteous thing to do. If you can get up on stage with the permission of the band or venue, then go for it.

    I feel that it doesn’t matter how crowded a show is, and that a little courtesy and pre-planning goes a long way.

  • Robbie Khan

    I don’t see what the problem was here. it wasn’t like he was bothering anyone else and as has been told, the band gave permission for flash to be used and his results are good.

    Some will say flash is not needed, others will say it can be used to good effect – There’s no right or wrong, everyone has their own style and if I shoot a gig I stick on a fast prime and ramp the ISO up to give a better sense of atmosphere (smoke, lighting beams, movement etc). Example: http://goo.gl/cvqNYc and http://goo.gl/1i1k0b

    If I saw only the video with NO context then I can see how people will see it the wrong way. People who upload videos like this need to be mindful of this because stuff like this can ruin someone’s name all because the uploader just didn’t think for a moment and uploaded it without contacting the band first to see if it was all cool in the first place.

  • bob

    If i took that many photos of any subject i’d have a few good shots too… just sayin

  • kushaldas

    I worked in gigs with almost same condition, the bands knew that I will be using direct flash on the face and they were ok with it. I support Aelle for his work and the images came nicely.

    https://www.facebook.com/liveshowsphotos/media_set?set=a.227456567270565.76424.100000186712778&type=3 contains photos from a gig with couple of Zero watts blubs and my direct flash (it was off camera though, on my left hand mostly).

  • Dušan DuPe Pethö

    good work

  • Willy Dee

    classic DSLRCHODE

  • Sir

    How does any of this explain wearing his camera as a hat?

    • http://www.kamerakind.net/ Stefan

      Probably some sort of “human tripod”-Thing. He might use longer exposure times and freeze the action with the flash – the images look like that.
      So it does look very dump – but i personally think this guy is not bad at all, the photos are quite good – especially for that kind of venue.

  • Charles O. Slavens

    I looked at the results of his efforts and read his comments. He was well within the boundaries of acceptable behavior given the circumstances. If it had been a crowded venue and if he was blocking a large audience or a gaggle of other photogs, it would have been unacceptable. But he wasn’t guilty of any of those misdemeanors. A lot of the complaints are coming from slow-minded, non-professional media artists who need to expand their horizons.

  • WD

    The pictures look a lot better than the band sounds.

  • sanfranchristo

    This guy totally knows what he’s doing. The pics speak for themselves and it sounds like they’re just what the band wanted. (The flash is not inherently inappropriate as far as the audience is concerned IF the band agrees – there are usually so many random stage light effects anyway – the bigger issue is the continuous blocking their line of sight. Hard to know how intrusive or distracting he really was to the rest of a paying audience. If it was only for the first few minutes of a standard length set, that’s one thing. If he was treating the entire performance as a photo op in a smaller space, then I can see how that might be another. )

  • Joseph Guyton

    I take pictures at music venues, and I have never had a problem other bands while taking pictures. I will get up on stage etc.. to get the shot. They haven’t run me off yet. I say great job to him.

  • Oscar Hiram

    he has no idea about how to be a photographer, this is just a guy taking 947293423 pictures and then selecting one picture that looks OK, what a waist of sensor and shutter life!!!,
    Real Photographers release the shutter once and we get the perfect picture, thats a really hard task, so please dont buy expensive cameras neither do random effects just to say that you are a pro or a good photographer!
    PLEASE NO!

    • Pitboy

      Obviously your not a real photographer.
      Burst shooting is the norm for action or movement photography like this. The proof is in the final images.
      this guy IS a real photographer.
      Research before you troll
      These are amazing and unique images.
      http://aellephoto.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/sleeper-effect-at-the-garage-london/

      • hiram

        dude please… im nat geo photographer, i know what he is doing im not judging his techniques , i imply read again my post

        • Pitboy

          Great .. different genre. Nat Geo are the worlds best at taking time to set up and create the most fabulous single image, but they also burst at world events, tomato fight, bull runs and the like. In live environs sometimes the only way to get one publishable shot is to burst and hope. You should know that.
          This guy approached it that way, and theres nothing wrong with that.
          Olympic and pro sport shooters are known to kill a shutter in one Olympic or sport season. If he shoots like that, power to him, its his camera. Again the band didnt mind, so why do you care?
          And yes … you were judging him, and very harshly, read your own comment “he has no idea about how to be a photographer,” right.

  • http://www.deathbycone.com Jared Kotoff

    Wow those pictures are amazing.
    My problem is most venues themselves don’t allow flash photography. I never used flash for a show, but I can see how it would be quite nice too. Most venues are lit so poorly.

  • Steve

    The photos he took are anything but boring – great stuff. The band gave their okay, so everyone else can bugger off

    • IAM_THE_KGB

      Did you pay $$$ to watch a chimper climb all over the band?

  • Lightster361

    Depends on what the band wants, they want my style they pay, I shoot. Everything is laid out ahead of time and they know exactly what I am gonna do, they don’t like or want I walk. If it’s a club or bar I talk to management and security well before the show. 9 times outta 10 I have the band let the audience know, and encourage their engagement. I had one band manager tell me to stop, I promptly gave him his deposit less my expense of showing up, he’s no longer a band manager, i am still a photographer.

  • Markus

    I had to shoot a dance (with live band) group before that was part of a concert evening. Alas I wasn’t given access to the full on dress and light rehearsal by the concert organizer so I had to shoot it from a seat (had permission for that) during the actual performance.

    I understand that the woman sitting in the box next to me got annoyed by the clicking sound of the camera and since then I always make sure to either have access to the rehearsals and/or mark my seat prior to general public coming in with “reserved for photographer”

    As for this guy – I see how he wants to get the best shots by utilizing all those different angles, yet despite the music being for the ear, as a paid audience I’d be unhappy too someone still jumping around and blocking the also visual performance.
    I can see how the first band wanted him to stop as it looks like he never bounced the flash of ceiling etc but rather aimed it straight towards the musician

  • Joe Blow

    A photo is worth a thousand comments. It takes guts to get in the face of the musicians, but this is what they expected. Photos turned out pretty good, I think. And upping the ISO to 100,000 just doesn’t get the effects he produced.

  • Scott Ellison

    Personally I think the photo’s are F*$king awesome, maybe a little on the heavy side on some of the sutter dragging shots for my taste but hey… each to their own.

    I think it’s important for all three parties to remember that each (Band, Photographer and Audience) have their part to play in situations like this. There needs to be balance. I can’t tell from the video if the photog spent the whole gig flashing away at the front but it’s important that the band and photographer remember that the audience want a good gig and keep the photographs to the first couple of tracks played and the audience need to remember that bands need photographers for promotion and without this oportunity for live shots the bands will be highly penalised in the industry. Just have a little respect for everybody, chill, have a brew and a pint it’ll all work out in the end :)

  • IAM_THE_KGB

    The point is simple, he’s not conducting himself in any form of a professional manner.
    Shoot the band like that after the show.
    I assume people paid money to see the bands, not to look at some chimper’s ass climbing over himself.
    Not how a pro works.

  • Tom Upton

    This is rich! How many photographers does it take to second guess another photographers work, techniques, and motives? The photographer had permission. We saw 2 minutes and 53 seconds of the bands performance. Maybe he shot longer maybe not, and OK the first band asked him to stop. There is a simple courtesy factor to stop if the ban is bothered, the second band was willing. Then there is the audience factor. Yes you paid to get in, you wanted to support your local musicians. Give the photographer the benefit of a doubt for christsake. Photographers are creative people too…I cant imagine he did this for the whole set. Shooting in moldy dungeons like this where the owners do not have a clue about lighting or are too cheap to buy lights, the photographer has to be resourceful. Dragging the shutter is a great solution but it is trial and error and takes time. So to the anonymous numbskull with the iPhone video and a poker up his keester, I say Give the guy some slack for working his craft, save your road rage for traffic. What? did you have a hard time hearing the music?

  • 7765

    Really good?
    maybe, in a high school kid sort of way…

  • fabrizio

    It’s only rock and roll….

  • Lea Sophie

    How is no one talking about how he replied on youtube? full of spelling and grammar mistakes. Calling people arrogant and saying he is offended. And then of course saying ‘just some twat filming’ … really man?

    In my opinion that was the only place it can be said without a doubt that he was unprofessional. As for his shooting technique, the rights/wrongs of that can be debated endlessly with no conclusion.

  • Michael Kokott

    Pics are great – if the band knew beforehand about the flashing – no complain. if they didn’t i would say ‘fuck you photog’ – which was my first reaction when i saw your post…..

  • Chris Coggin

    He looks like he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing but after viewing the photos the guy has some real talent. Now I’m just wondering if I can get away with this at the next show I shoot!!!