Amplified Festival 2018

Amplified Festival 2018 is the biggest event I’ve photographed to date. I entered a photography competition back in May after Naomi Jeremiah of Down The Front Media tagged me and my dad in the post. I entered my best photo to date, one from the Steel Panther gig where all the girls were on stage surrounding Michael Starr. The people in charge pf Amplified, Will Tudor and the rest of the gang, were going to choose two young photographers between the ages of 14 and 17 to be official photographers at the event, working alongside the awesome media crew.

I waited for an answer, when finally, one came on July 3rd, 2018. I had won a spot at the festival, with an amazing young photographer called Sian Irvine. I was nervous about going to the festival though as I suffer from social anxiety, however, when I got there, everyone was so kind! We were made to feel like part of the family, everyone joked with each other, asked for advice, and made sure they helped as much as possible. Even when some kids from the village stole some stuff from the festival during the night, nobody’s spirits were dampened.


A highlight for me was photographing on stage for Evil Scarecrow! Me and Sian had been doing challenges all day, and one of them was to photograph Fahran using a 50mm manual focus lens. After we’d done it, Mark Ellis, our ‘festival dad’ and mentor, got the frontman for Fahran, Matt Black, to judge who took the best photos. Mine came first, meaning I got to photograph on stage for Evil Scarecrow, and Sian got to photograph on stage for Psychostick, who were one of the best bands of the weekend in my opinion.

Amplified Festival was the first time I had ever photographed in front of the barrier, let alone on stage, so I was extremely nervous; especially considering Evil Scarecrow were the headliners so almost everyone would be watching. Anyway, I got on stage and started taking photos. However, it didn’t go as planned as I had my camera settings all wrong as my dad had changed them earlier on in the day, and I didn’t know what he had changed so I couldn’t change it back. I also had no experience in using ISO and it turned out that my dad had put auto-ISO on a high number, but I didn’t know. No matter what I did, all my pictures were coming out too dark and I didn’t know what to do so I began to freak out, and by the end of the night, I was crying my eyes out to my dad, Mark, and Sian. The next day, Will came and spoke to me about it, he told me not to worry and that everything would be fine, and Daniel Stapleton, a pro photographer and editor of photos, showed me how to save my photos, and they actually turned out pretty good! It’s safe to say that the next day, Mark taught me about ISO, so we didn’t have another Evil Scarecrow incident.

The best part of the weekend was when Will took me and Sian to one side and invited us back next year! I was hoping we’d be able to return, I just wasn’t expecting it to actually happen, so I was over the moon. Sian has been invited to be an assistant mentor for the next young photographers and I will be a stage photographer, as I’m quite quiet and don’t speak much, although Amplified definitely helped me through that as I was speaking to everyone by the end of the weekend.

Amplified opened a lot of doors for me, as people have started asking me to photograph for them or asking if they can buy my work, which is a huge achievement for me. I never expected any of this to happen, so I’m over the moon and very excited to return!

Tomorrow Is Lost

On 28th April 2018, I saw Secrets of Mariana, Tomorrow Is Lost, and Chasing Dragons at The Station in Cannock. Whilst I did photograph all three bands, I chose to only use my Tomorrow Is Lost photos as I feel like they captured the atmosphere of the concert the most. You can see in the photos that the band were putting their all into the performance and they were obviously having a good time. The lighting wasn’t perfect as it was a bit on the darker side, but I managed to work around it and still produced some good shots.

Even though The Station is a small venue, the band had a lot of stage presence and definitely deserve to be playing in much bigger venues! I’ve always enjoy photographing at The Station, and I especially enjoyed it that night. I took over a thousand photos of all three bands as I tend to just point the camera and take photos non-stop. I’m trying to learn to take less photos, but I’m glad I took so many as I may not have ended up with the photos that I did! I’d say that The Station will always be a favourite of mine to photograph in; there’s a lot of memories there!

Steel Panther

On 27th January 2018, I went to the 02 Academy, Bristol, to see Inglorious and Steel Panther. I didn’t actually photograph Inglorious, but they played a great set, as usual. The atmosphere was lively and fun as everyone enjoyed the show and eagerly awaited Steel Panther’s arrival on stage.

I had my Nikon D7000 ready to shoot the band, who are known for being very silly on stage. I was excited, but I also didn’t know what to expect. They came on stage and everyone cheered; people were bouncing around with excitement and the members of the band had big smiles on their faces. They moved around on stage a lot, had fake arguments, threw guitars, and just went a bit crazy, which made it a very fun concert to photograph. The lighting was perfect; there wasn’t too much red, or blue, or green. In fact, the lights were often different colours. The atmosphere was amazing, and everyone was having fun, which definitely made my job easier.

I’d say my photos turned out well, as I entered one into a competition, and won. There were lots of fantastic moments on stage that I would’ve been stupid not to photograph, such as the time Satchel stood on the drum seat and played his guitar and the drums at the same time, or the time they got as many women on stage with them as possible to play ’17 Girls in A Row’.

Overall, I’d say it was a brilliant photographic experience which opened a lot of doorways for me and allowed me to improve my skills in photography.

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