2010 Photo Pass Awards

What does a year for a freelance live music photographer look like? Pretty much like the above snapshot.

As 2010 comes to a close, I thought I'd take a snapshot of my photo passes from the past year. All in all, I photographed about 110 individual concerts and a handful of festivals. The above photo shows my year in passes, excluding the passes I've lost along the way (Alice Cooper!) and most of the wristbands.

Hit the jump for a not-so-serious “paper plate awards” and superlatives rundown of photo passes from this year.

Biggest Pass: Sting

Runner Up: Alter Bridge/Sick Puppies

The award for the year's biggest pass goes to Sting, who broke out with an 11cm x 14cm pass with metallic silver ink. Classy.

Most Passes Issued: The National (three individual passes, one concert)

Runner Up: Four-way tie between As I Lay Dying/Underoath (The Cool Tour), Angels & Airwaves, Killswitch Engage/The Devil Wears Prada, and Cobra Starship/3OH!3 with two passes

The passes for the National were a hookup from my friend Heather, who was kicking ass and taking names on the tour. The National's tour passes were this really nice pseudo-metallic job on coated stock, which looked beautiful, too.

Most Infamous Pass: Kings of Leon

Runner Up: Justin Bieber

The infamous concert where Kings of Leon ended the show after just three songs when bassist Jared Followill was allegedly defecated on by a pigeon: I was there.

Then there was the make-up show to complete the healing.

The “Bucket List” Pass: The Flaming Lips

Runner Up: Chuck Berry

The Flaming Lips were one of those bands who have eluded my camera until 2010 – after missing them due to various circumstances, I finally got to cross them off my bucket list and get that silly picture of Wayne in his hamster ball.

The City Pride Pass: LouFest 2010

Maybe satisfying isn't quite the right word, but it was pretty cool to have this photo credential for the inaugural LouFest, a proper two-day, multi-stage music festival in St. Louis that has been a long time coming. With headliners like Broken Social Scene, She & Him, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and Built to Spill, this fest wasn't too hard on the ears, either.

Most Underwhelming Pass: Justin Bieber

For a monster tour with such huge production, Bieber's pink paper wristband was a little underwhelming as a credential.

Passes Most Likely To End Up As Drink Coasters: The Pageant

The Pageant house pass (white triangles with the red border) is given out for any band (touring or local) who doesn't have their own dedicated passes. Even for some large bands who have sold out the venue, these passes are issued, and since I shoot there what seems like a couple nights a week, these house passes add up.

It's not that I don't love these passes, too – I do – but they add up.

Favorite Pass: Elton John

My favorite pass of the year? Definitely the passes from a private concert with Elton John that my brother Chris and I photographed in NYC. While the passes themselves are pretty classy and slick, it's more the sentimental value of having been commissioned for a job of this level and rocking it with my bro.

End Notes:

And that concludes the paper plate awards for the 2010 photo passes. Here are two more photos of the passes stacked up.

What Are Your Winners?

Do you have a list of your own superlatives? What were you favorite passes of the year? Let's hear it!

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon Z 7:
I use two Nikon Z 7 for my live music photography. A true do-it-all mirrorless camera with amazing AF, great speed and fantastic resolution.


Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8S:
The 24-70mm is my go-to lens. The range is ideal for stage front photography and the image quality is superb.


Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR:
A perfect pair to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, I can basically shoot any job with the midrange and this lens. Superb image quality.


Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8:
Ultra-wide perspective, ridiculously sharp even wide open at f/2.8. I love using this lens up-close and personal, where it excels.

See My Full Kit for Concert Photography

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