It's been just over a year since I moved from St. Louis, Missouri to Brooklyn, New York. The year has flown by, and it's still strange to think that I can list “NYC music photographer” in my bio.
The ironic thing is that, since I first started to put my name out as a music photographer, most people seemed to have assumed that I was already in NYC. I recently met up with a UK photographer who said she'd always just assumed that I lived in New York because I shot so many concerts — certainly I had to live in a big city like NYC.
One of my first big breaks was shooting at Lincoln Center for the Laurie Berkner Band's album release show in 2008. Ever since, I've traveled to NYC several times a year for jobs, from festivals and individual shows to commercial gigs to band portraits. The fact that labels and clients flew me in to NYC — where there is certainly no shortage of talented photographers — always blew my mind.
The last year in NYC has been fantastic for me as a music photographer. I've had the opportunity to shoot for some amazing clients, including iHeartRadio, Red Bull, Anheuser-Busch, 7 UP, Q Magazine, Rolling Stone, and more. Add in the fact that I get to shoot even more with my brother Chris, who has lived in NYC since 2001, and the move seems like a no-brainer.
While I miss seeing my friends at all the regular venues I used to shoot at weekly, like the Pageant, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Pop's, Chaifetz Arena, Scottrade Center, and the Fox Theater — I'm loving New York. I feel very fortunate to have gotten my start in St. Louis, a city with some of the best music venues in the country. It's hard to imagine as a photographer from the Midwest that shooting shows at my local venues might ever lead to the likes of Madison Square Garden.
“New York music photographer Todd Owyoung.” Still not used to it — maybe in another year.
PS: If anyone wants to be a music photographer, move to St. Louis. I hear there's an opening. Come for the amazing music venues. Stay for the toasted ravioli.