10 questions with a full time touring photographer

Do you love the live music scene? Do you love the idea of being a photographer?

Have you always wanted to make a living by capturing the golden moments of your favourite events?

Messy tracked down and interviewed a touring photographer and asked him our classic 10 questions to get an insight into this niche industry.

Benie Davies is a 27 year old part time photographer, however in just six months of following this newfound passion for snapping, he has managed to line up enough plans to potentially go full time within the year.

  1. How did you get into it?

I started off years ago as a sports photographer my dream was to shoot premier league or high level games, I started shooting for my younger bro while he was playing for his local team but then last December Of Mice and Men were playing nearby and they’re one of my favourite bands so I messaged the vocalist (Aaron Pauley) about five or six hours before the show asking if I could take some pics at their gig, I wasn’t expecting a reply because they’re so big but he did end up replying and said I could do it. I went down and the feeling was indescribable, it was so cool working with bands and that’s when I decided I wanted to do it way more.

2. How many years have you been working in this job?

I’ve only been doing photography for two/ two and a half years, music I’ve been doing music photography specifically since December of last year… so only about six months.

3. What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the field?

The advice I’d give is just to go for it. Send messages to every band in the area, anyone who’s playing. When I first sent the message to Aaron I was so close to deleting it because I thought there was no point… but if I hadn’t of then I wouldn’t have had any of the opportunities in the last six months. The worst that can happen is they say no, but if you don’t message, it’s a no anyway.

When you shoot for one band, they have supporting acts. People are more connected than you think so you never really know who’s going to be at a gig and who you’re going to bump into.

4. What’s the best part of it?

It’s so hard to pick a best bit cos there’s so many of them. One of the highlights for me is hanging out with the band, after a few times they start to get to know you and you start feeling more like a mate working with them than someone working for them. It’s so unreal because you can just chill, it takes pressure off and adds to your creative freedom because they can listen to your ideas. There’s a togetherness and sense of belonging, you’re recognised as part of the team.

5. What’s the worst part of it?

The worst part is really hard to think of… I think maybe the travel, sometimes. Even as the worst part its not that bad because I’m excited to be travelling to different cities and venues. I’m touring across Europe with a band, it’s gonna insanely long but I’m so excited to drive across and see everything.

6. Most memorable day/ event at work? 

There’s so many. Every single show there’s more. The first one that comes to mind is securing that first gig with Aaron from OM&M. Second was defects asking me to come down for one of their shows, and later saying I could join them on their EU tour which is gonna cover Download fest, Grassroots fest and loads of different countries, more in in two and a half weeks than I’ve been to in my entire life. That’s going to be the biggest moment of my career so far.

7. Have you always wanted to do it?

I never saw myself doing this as a job let along to the extremities that its already gone to. I thought I’d just be a casual sports photographer. I didn’t love it towards the end, so I think the music came at a really good time. Sometimes the sports photography was a bit of a hassle and some clubs weren’t the best to work with, but everyone in the music scene so far have been so welcoming and accepting of my ideas, ready to bounce off them.

8. Tell us about your first day at work?

First day at work would be literally just walking down to the park to photograph my younger brother. Technically that was the first day.

But music wise, for OM&M I was terrified of getting things wrong because they were my favourite band. For me I felt a lot of pressure, I was very nervy but they reposted the photos (which I guess means they liked me) so I couldn’t have asked for a better first day.

 9.  Worst mistake you’ve made on the job, and what did it teach you?

Worst mistake ever, I would say was sports photography. Touch wood I haven’t made any mistakes in music photography yet (this better not jinx it) but in sports my lenses have been wet and had loads of condensation so photos have been foggy and unusable. The club didn’t mind because I’m pretty sure they lost anyway but it’s not engrained in my head to not do it. Thankfully I was working for free at the time anyway.

10.  How fulfilled are you?

Honestly, I think this is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had. I’ve always been very into music, I’ve made my own, so to now work alongside incredible bands and wonderful people… I can’t see it stopping anytime soon. It’s such a good feeling being in this scene, I feel so encouraged. There’s no backlash or squabbling and I’m not bossed around. We work really well together, until that stops, I’m going to carry on.

For more of our ’10 questions with’ series, see our Convo’s with Clever Clogs page.