- How did you end up in music photography? Can you tell us more about your story?
— I bought my first DSLR when I was 21 years old. A good friend of mine was getting really into photography and I thought it was cool so I went out and bought a Canon 7D. My friend started shooting ASU football games for the school newspaper so he got me a job doing basically the same thing. We would go shoot football games and split time using a 300mm 2.8 lens he rented on the newspapers budget and just run around the field looking for great shots. At first I was terrible and honestly didn’t belong on the field. But, over time I got pretty good at it and start pumping out some quality photos.
I love shooting action sports. You get a whole different feel for the game when you’re down on the sidelines and can feel the emotion and physicality of it all. I am also a huge college football fan so that was the best job I could ask for at the time.
Although I never wanted to, I started shooting some different stories for the newspaper the following year. This is what sort of made me learn to go into a situation and find good images. Being thrown in different situations I believe is the best way to learn photography. Constantly shooting different situations makes you think differently and learn on the fly. Like with anything if you don’t push yourself and get out of your comfort zone you don’t learn anything new.
A little over two years after getting my first job as a photographer I was approached by Daniel Shapiro about possibly coming out for a week on Warped Tour 2014 to shoot his band The Word Alive. I said “Hell Yeah” what an opportunity to tour with a badass band and take some photos. So I think the next day I went to their practice space and hung out while they practiced their set. I hadn’t really known anyone in the band except Daniel who I have known since we were like 13-14 years old and Tony who I had done a couple quick photoshoots with for Overthrow Clothing. Like one day before Warped Tour started I get another call from Daniel asking if I would want to come out for the entire tour. Of course I said yeah… Travel around and take photos for a living I think is any photographers dream. I didn’t want to quit my job so I stayed home for the first week of the tour getting all my shit together and making sure my work was cool with me leaving. When the tour came through Phoenix I met the guys there and the rest is sort of history.
- Where did your 10 year-old self see Vince Dwyer 10 years later?
— My ten year old self definitely saw myself as being an athlete when I grew up. I played baseball, football, & hockey pretty much my whole life and I think when I was 10 I had planned on being a football player at Florida State University by the time I was 20.
- What’s the most interesting aspect of music photography for you?
— The most interesting aspect of music photography is going into a different venue and finding the great shots. I love exploring different venues and finding great spots to take photos. The best photos are not always just from the photo pit or being on stage.
- What do you enjoy most about this job? What is the hardest part of it?
— What I enjoy most about the job is traveling around with all my friends. We get to go to a lot of cool places that I probably wouldn’t make it to if I wasn’t traveling with them. The hardest part is probably being away from family and my girlfriend. My family is really close and being away can really suck sometimes.
- When shooting a show, do you process to a specific ‘mental’ preparation beforehand? Do you have particular plans in mind before actually getting there?
— Most of the time I have checked out the venue and have a good idea of where I want to try to shoot from during the show. But once the room is packed with people situations change and you have to be able to go with it. I normally have shots in mind that I look to take and if I miss it that night I’ll try again the next night. I like to think of my job as getting the shots that no one else has.
- How do you work on the whole editing part of your photos before any publication?
— For most of the images I take on tour I briefly edit them and send them to all the guys. I don’t spend too much time editing each individual image. If I do plan on spending a bit more time editing if its a bit more important I will edit, then leave it for a few hours or a day and come back to look it. Sometimes when you stare at an image too long you will come back and be like “thats too blue or too red.”
- Now that you started touring quite extensively, how do you get ready for such a trip? What do you bring with you?
— To get ready for a trip I mostly just throw all my gear in my big Pelican case, pack a few clothes and I’m off. Nothing really crazy. Sometimes I’ll rent a lens to bring with.
- It must also require a lot of organization during the process, how does your daily routine on tour looks like? How would you describe a typical Vince Dwyer day on tour?
— My daily routine with The Word Alive is wake up and get a Starbucks with Tony Pizzuti cause we’re some basic bitches. Then help our crew load in all the gear for the band. Setup merch because I also do merch for The Word Alive. Then try to find some cool spots to do a shoot with some of the guys from the tour package. This is one of my favorite times of the day. I basically find a spot inside or around the venue and grab who ever is around to take some portraits. By this time doors are normally opening so I’ll man the merch table and edit as many photos as I can until The Word Alive plays. After their done playing and everyone is gone we load everything up, go grab a couple beers then take off for the next show.
- Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers willing to make a career as music photographers? How to get started?
— For aspiring music photographers my advice is shoot as many shows as you can and make friends. If you need a photo pass email, fb, instagram message whoever you can asking for a pass. You having nothing to lose by asking.
- Do you have any other photography projects outside of music?
— I work closely with a clothing company called Overthrow Clothing. A good friend of mine started this clothing company and I learned a lot by doing photographing his products and events. A lot of projects while I’m home revolve around this company. You can find my photos for them at www.overthrowclothing.com or on their social media sites.
- What are your next goals with your job?
— Goals for me is to keep touring and elevate my skills. I really want to get better at video so that is something I will hopefully start producing more of. I know there is always something to learn and you can always get better at your job.
2014 just came to an end, what was your favorite music released this year?
Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
Jack White – Lazaretto
PVRIS – White Noise
Beartooth – Disgusting
Slipknot – The Grey Chapter
Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together
We would like to say thank you to Vince for taking the time to answer to our questions. You can follow his work as follows: