Music Photography Year in Review 2009

Justin Tranter has got the power.


2009 is coming to a swift close. It's been a fantastic year for music photography, filled with great concerts and amazing opportunities.

From the beginning, I knew that I had my work cut out for me if I wanted to top 2008, which itself was a killer year.  So, how did 2009 stack up? Here's a rundown of some of the things that has made the year so memorable.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Induction Ceremony Performances

Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the  year was a commission to photograph the live music performances at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for 2009. My charge of the evening was simple: produce killer performance shots that would be used in a national ad campaign.

The best part of the night? Getting a front-row seat to see – and photograph – Metallica in an epic lead-guitarist jam with Ron Wood, Flea, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Joe Perry, all at the same time.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Induction Ceremony Performances

Wrangler Commission

As you know (or should), my brother Chris is a badass music photographer, and so I was thrilled when he got a commission to work on a campaign for Wrangler. Chris tapped me to tag team the shoot with him, and it was an absolute pleasure getting to shoot with him on this job.

Warped Tour Portraits

Warped Tour Portraits: TAT

Chris and I teamed up again to tackle Warped Tour 2008. Armed with half a dozen Nikon Speedlights and penchant for overachievement, we busted our butts to produce some portraits I'm really proud of.  If anything, working on a very tight schedule with a dozen bands on a scorching day was a testament to how well Chris and I work together, which I think is something any pair of brothers can love.

Slayer Photo shoot for Rolling Stone

Portraits: Slayer for Rolling Stone

It's a phone call most photographers dream about – the call to shoot for Rolling Stone. The assignment this time was Mayhem Fest, which featured Slayer and Marilyn Manson headlining along with a horde of crushing metal bands. Aside from the surreal all-access and having Marilyn Manson come up to me and ask if I was the photog from Rolling Stone, the best part of this assignment was a five-minute portrait shoot with Slayer. With a dozen people standing around practically tapping their watches and counting down the seconds, I was happy to knock out the shots I wanted with a minute to spare.

Relationship Building

2009 was a year filled with even more contact with publications, publicists and labels, and it's been very rewarding to continue working closely with bands and the music industry in general.

Band Portraits

Going into 2009, one of the biggest things I wanted to focus on was focusing my energy on doing as many band portraits and promos as possible.

Promos: August Burns Red, Solid State Records

Semi Precious Weapons: Promos

The New Heathers (Redbird Records)

DragonForce Promos


Dillinger Escape Plan, Portraits

Forever The Sickest Kids!

The Friday Night Boys (Atlantic Records)

Live Music Photography

I had a blast photographing bands this year, with a ton of great tours and events filling out 2009. Here's a selection of some of my favorite photos.

All American Rejects

Ludacris @ the Chaifetz Arena -- 2009.02.19

Family Force 5

Morrissey @ the Pageant

Musiq Soulchild @ the Fox Theatre -- 2009.03.01

Concert Photos: No Doubt

Bret Michaels of Poison, living large

Concert Photos: Green Day

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Induction Ceremony Performances


Concert Photos: Slayer @ Mayhem Fest

Concert Photos: Mastodon 2009

Cobra Starship/Gabe Saporta

Bruce Springsteen – 2008.08.23

KISS: Concert Photos

Hey Monday: Live Music!

Concert Photos: Kings of Leon

Brad Paisley @ VWA -- 2009.06.18

End Notes:

This was a quick look at my 2009. How was yours? I'd love to hear about 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

Help Support

If this article or any other content on was helpful to you, please consider supporting this site and grabbing your next photo gear purchase through one of my affiliate links:

Simply clicking through any product links on this site helps me bring you free content like the photography tips and gear reviews regularly posted on, and naturally it doesn't cost you a cent more.