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.
- Nikon D3
- Nikon D700
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.