Peter dove straight into concert photography back in 2016 (Photo above by Richard Knowles). Since then he has photographed countless artists, tackled event photography, developed his video skills, and created a YouTube channel with the intention of sharing his photography knowledge. We interviewed Peter for our first feature in a series of Q&A’s with creators behind the scenes in the music industry. Learn more about Peter below and check his work on his website: PeterJT.com.
How long have you been pursuing photography?
I started in 2016, and went right into concert photography. I first bought a camera because I wanted to improve how I filmed my own guitar covers. Concert photography seemed exciting, so I gave it a try and was immediately hooked on it.
Most notably, you’ve started a YouTube channel for photography. There are a ton of channels for photography, but they seem very repetitive in content since they’re very focused on portrait and lifestyle work. Why was it important to you to offer advice on concert photography with your channel?
I totally agree with you! It does seem like there isn’t a lot of content specific to concert photography, and I remember being bummed by that when I was first learning. I did (and still do) watch a lot of YouTube to learn camera stuff, so I feel like sharing my concert experiences can help out other aspiring artists. I think there’s a particular shortage of content related to the “other” aspects of concert photography, like getting photo passes or marketing your work. Those two things were super overwhelming when I started, and I think they deter a lot of other concert photographers. I’d love to make this job more accessible to everyone!
How did you get your start and what has been the most difficult part of your photo career journey?
The first show I ever photographed was a weird one! I decided I wanted to try concert photography, so I went to the website for a venue near me and looked at the next few shows they had coming. I emailed management for every band across a few different shows, and got an email back. One band gave me a photo pass and ticket- I was so excited!! Also confused though- I had no portfolio or credibility, but somehow it worked out! It turned out to be some band from Sweden that I’d never heard of, and the show sold maybe 10 tickets. Despite the underwhelming show, I loved the challenge of the photography and the fact that I could “work” at a concert. From there, it was more emails to management, and going to any local show I could find!
I’m having a hard time deciding on a “most difficult part”. I feel like I’m always challenging myself to develop in any way, and that stays consistently challenging. My main goals are essentially to improve the quality of my art and to grow the reach of my work, and those have been consistent challenges. I’ve found peace in just working every day to get better, and trusting that the work will pay off. So far, it always has! Sometimes it’s a day of work, sometimes it’s months or weeks, but I try to focus on just moving forward instead of stressing a certain challenge.
You started with a Nikon, but switched over to Sony, how has that changed (if it did) your work and what are some of your favorite things about it in comparison to Nikon?
Yeah! I love my Sony. I have an a6500 and it’s been incredible, it’s a great hybrid for photo & video. I started off with Nikon D3300 – my only reason was that I just wanted an entry level DSLR and I happened to find a good deal on a D3300. It was great to learn on, but I wanted something better for low light (like concerts) and with better video.
My Sony really opened doors for me creatively, and was a great step up from my first camera. It’s just a beast in low light, and the 4K video with in body stabilization is nice. My only complaint is that it’s a crop sensor camera, so there’s still room for improvement. I’d like to eventually upgrade to the Sony a7III to shoot full frame!
What has been your favorite shoot to date?
Good Charlotte at the Boston House is Blues!! It was about a year ago and I still get excited thinking about it. I grew up listening to Good Charlotte, they’re just that band for me. I thought I’d never get to see them live, so seeing them on a “comeback” tour of sorts was a dream come true. Also, the HOB is a gorgeous venue, it’s definitely a favorite to shoot in! I hadn’t traveled for many shoots before this, so going to Boston for a show felt significant at the time. It was such a good night!
What is your ultimate photography goal? (ex. dream shoot location/dream band/etc)
I would love it if I got to grow with a local band from my area. I’ve made so many good friends doing this, getting to tour with them while we’re living our dreams sounds like the highest of all peaks! I think it’d be so cool to have documented them going from 100 fans to 100,000 and beyond.
Right now, a main goal is to just to tour! I feel like that will be a huge opportunity to grow my work & I’d love to see more of the US with some homies. I’ve done some small trips, hopefully something bigger comes next!
What advice do you have for anyone hoping to get started in photography?
Just do it! Get out there and work! The more photos you take, the better your art will be. The more shows you apply for, the more you’ll shoot. It can be intimidating to get rejected or take a bad photo, but we all did it! It’d probably be funny to compare how many shows I’ve emailed for versus how many I’ve been approved for- it’s not a high percentage! The more you try, the more opportunities you pursue, the better things will go! There is always something you could be doing to progress.