Concert Photography: How to Get a Photo Pass

Whether you are working for a media outlet, aspiring to be an event photographer, or just want to take professional pictures of your favorite artists, you will most likely want to obtain media credentials so you can get access to the photo pit. Getting the passes you want isn’t always easy, however, the work to get them definitely pays off in the quality of the photos you will get. Follow these five steps to increase your odds of being approved for these special credentials.


  1. Find a media outlet to let you represent them.

When applying for credentials to a show, you’re more than likely going to need to represent some sort of media outlet. This shows the venue or marketing coordinator that you are legitimate. Most of the time, they aren’t going to approve requests for photographers that are just there to shoot for their personal social pages unless you have a huge following. So, if you don’t already work for some sort of media outlet, try reaching out to local radio, TV stations or newspaper publications and ask if they would be interested in having you apply for credentials on their behalf. Let them know you are willing to do it for free and that they can use your pictures for whatever they want (with credit, obviously).


  1. Decide what artist you want to cover.

    Hold up! Don’t get too excited yet. It is important to realize what shows you are applying for so you don’t get your hopes up. Look up the events list or calendar for the venue of your choice and see what your options are. Of course everyone is going to want to shoot for big name artists like Taylor Swift, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, etc. Sadly, these types of artists are the hardest to get approved for, but don’t let that discourage you from applying. It doesn’t hurt to try. You’re much more likely to get approved for artists that aren’t at the top of the Billboard charts or even older artists like Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, or the Eagles.


  1. Find a marketing contact or photo request application.

    If possible, try to locate a section on the venue’s website for applying for a photo pass. From my experience, it seems that most venues don’t have places on their website to apply for credentials. In this case, your best bet is to look for any contact info on the site. Sometimes the websites will have contact information for the marketing/promotions manager.  If not, you may have to e-mail the info email address listed for general inquiries. In the case where  there is absolutely no email contact information, you could try calling the venue and asking how you go about obtaining media credentials. If all else fails, try contacting the tour manager of the artist you are wanting to cover, but be warned, they usually already have a photographer lined up.


  1. What to say.

When messaging anyone about media credentials you’ll want to sound as professional as possible. Don’t use slang words and make sure to double check your spelling. Make it short and to the point.  It should be easy for the recipient to scan and know exactly what you are asking. If you’re having trouble thinking of what to say, here’s an example of a successful request I sent recently:


Hello! My name is (Your Name Here) and I am interested in applying for a photo pass for (Artist’s name) upcoming show on (Insert Date here).

Name: (Your Name here)

Media Outlet:  (Insert media outlet here)

Show:   (Insert artist name and date of show here)

Type of request:   Photo Pass

Uses for media:   (Explain what your pictures will be used for such as a blog, social media, promotions, etc.)

(Your Name)
(Phone # Optional)


  1. Wait.

In my opinion, this is definitely the hardest part. Typically, requests will be answered within a week of the show. Sometimes you’ll get an answer a month or more ahead of time, and other times you may not get an answer until the day before the show! It’s hard to say, it just depends on the venue or company running the show.


Hopefully you are now more knowledgeable on the photo request process than what you were when you came here. Remember to be persistent and send out lots of requests for various venues because you probably will not be approved for every single one. Also, remember to be patient because this can be a very frustrating process. You will be doing a lot of searching, emailing, and waiting.  Short of representing a well-known media outlet, there is no guarantee in this process that I’m aware of, so prepare yourself for some rejection as well.  Don’t give up! The hard work will be well worth all the cool shots you’ll get!


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