Photos: Pulse Festival 2012 – Full Coverage

Photos of the crowd at the main stage during the first annual Pulse Fest of electronic dance music downtown at the Old Rock House Pavillion in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

I was on the official photo team for the first annual Pulse Festival, the first electronic dance music festival in St. Louis. I've loved shooting EDM events over the last two years, and Pulse Festival captured all the fantastic energy of these shows on an even bigger scale. 


Fans at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

Fans at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

Fans at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Fans at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

Fans at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Fans at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

The main stage of the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Chicago-based EDM producer Steve Smooth performing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

Atmosphere from the Bass Room inside the Old Rock House at first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Atmosphere from the Bass Room inside the Old Rock House at first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

Atmosphere from the Bass Room inside the Old Rock House at first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Electronic music producer Alvin Risk performing in the Bass Room at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 8, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Electronic music producer Alvin Risk performing in the Bass Room at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 8, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

EDM producer Mat Zo performing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

Progressive house producer Morgan Page performing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

A dancer on the main stage at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

Progressive house producer Morgan Page performing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

A fan performing with light dancing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Progressive house producer Morgan Page performing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

The main stage of the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Progressive house producer Morgan Page performing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

A dancer on the main stage at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Atmosphere from the Bass Room inside the Old Rock House at first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Jono Grant and Tony McGuinnes of UK trance outfit Above and Beyond, performing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Jono Grant and Tony McGuinnes of UK trance outfit Above and Beyond, performing at the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (TODD OWYOUNG)

Photos of the crowd at the main stage during the first annual Pulse Fest of electronic dance music downtown at the Old Rock House Pavillion in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

The main stage of the first annual Pulse Festival in St. Louis on June 9, 2012. (Todd Owyoung)

Photographer's Notes:

Cameras Used:

  • Nikon D3
  • Nikon D700

Lenses Used:

One of the challenges of shooting EDM acts is that unlike a rock band, the performers are relatively stationary and often pretty far back from the crowd, so it takes a different type of approach to make dynamic images capturing the event.

For one, lighting for EDM events is a little different than your standard rock show in that the talent isn't necessarily lit in a meaningful or necessary way. While there's always some light on the talent, the overarching effect of the stage lights is much more atmospheric and not focused very much on lighting who is on stage.

To complement the existing lighting, I set up a system of four remote speedlights with wireless triggers so that I could have control over my own lighting while still being able to pull in any ambient lighting that I wanted. Having this kind of freedom is one of the things I love about working closely with event organizers, because it allows me to deliver the best possible images to them. Also, it's a heck of a lot of fun!

From a marketing standpoint, one of the main goals was to capture the energy, atmosphere, and fun of Pulse 2012 for next year's festival. While photographing talent was of course a part of this job, just artist shots would have failed to complete the picture. For that, we turned to the people who are really at the heart of a festival: the fans.

For me, one huge and undeniable component of covering EDM events is capturing the energy of the event through the crowd, and Pulse Festival was no exception. In addition, dance music events like Pulse make it amazingly fun to do crowd and atmosphere photography – simply everyone is there to have a good time. From doing portraits of fans to capturing candids while the dancing and energy was full blast, there was plenty to shoot at Pulse that wasn't on stage.

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-f28-lens-square

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-70-200-square

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-f28-lens-square

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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