Band Offers Streamlined Access to Shoot Them in Concert — For a Fee of $150

Hawthorne Heights Band

Sometimes getting access to shoot concerts or major concert events can be tricky. Dealing with publicists, event planners, and even security. But one band is making it super simple to get into the pit with your camera in hopes of capturing great shots — for a fee.

Well-known American rock band Hawthorne Heights has posted an advertisement of sorts on their website, selling anyone the chance to take photos of them at this year’s Warped Tour. The cost of admission? $150.

Are you an aspiring photographer? Come take pictures of us all day at Warped Tour! We will provide you with the access, and experience you need. We will also take your pictures and put them on our Instagram page, and give you full credit for it. This is a great package for anyone who loves taking pictures, whether its for a hobby or professionally.

A screenshot of what the "VANS WARPED TOUR VIP" page

A screenshot of what the “VANS WARPED TOUR VIP” page

A screenshot of what the band's request page looked like

A screenshot of what the band’s request page looked like

The whole thing is pretty interesting for the simple fact it’s so terribly vague, as pointed out by Popular Photography. Sure, the ad says the photographer (or should we say ‘customer’?) will be given “full credit”, but does that mean he/she retain ownership of the photos they’ve taken? Will the photographer be thrown into a corner and expected to work from there? What happens if the shots are horrible? Do they still get used on the band’s Instagram page?

Concert Photographer Female

As of this writing, the link to the advertisement on Hawthorne Heights’ page is no longer working properly, leaving it unclear as to whether or not the offer still stands.

Update: The band has posted a followup message directed at photographers on its Facebook page:

I wanted to say thanks to all of the photographers out there for sharing their point of view, and helping us understand where they are coming from. HH would never intentionally offend anyone, as we work really hard to stay in contact with our friends and fans. We were really just trying to give a fan a very unique experience. See the band from stage, hang out, and document it with your camera. I think the term INTERNSHIP was inappropriate for what we were offering. It should have just been an experience. And for that, we apologize. We work really hard to keep our prices low and keep our contact with our fans at a constant. Once again, sorry for the wording, and misunderstanding. Thanks again for showing us your viewpoint. It helps a lot to understand the situation. Thanks. JT and HH.

Image credits: Hawthorne Heights by Bekah StargazingPhotographer by Rasmin

  • Annie

    So… pay to work, and then the band also gets free pictures.

  • agour

    I know the article insinuates it, but we shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet :)

    If they genuinely are offering backstage pass, and free publicity (whilst retaining rights to your pics), surely concert photogs would jump at this?

  • Greg McKay

    Where did it say anything about a Backstage Pass?

  • Delowa

    words fail me….

  • gochugogi

    It’s common in other freelance professions you have to pay upfront to work. Sorry that model is spreading to other fields. But Hawthorne won’t be getting my money…

  • Burnin Biomass

    The question is this the ONLY way to shoot? I mean, are they not giving passes out any other way?

    This is vague, so I’m guessing along with everyone else, but this sounds like a package so some fans can get in the areas the other professional photographers can normally. Like paying for better seats. I bet they are still giving out photo passes the standerd way too, this is just a way to get access if you cannot get one by the regular route.

    But like I said, that’s a guess too.

  • agour

    my bad, maybe not backstage, but it does say they’ll provide access of some description :)

  • Roman

    They would have to pay me to listen to their music. They can’t make money with the music so they try to make extra back this way… so low.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Just found this statement posted Friday on the bands Facebook page…

    “We were really just trying to give a fan a very unique experience. See the
    band from stage, hang out, and document it with your camera.”.

    So yea, it sounds like standard press photography passes were given out. This was just an extended pass for a couple of fans.

  • ennuipoet

    Once upon a time musicians begged photographers to come a shoot their shows, now the promoters want to charge photographers for access. (Notice what I said there). The creative class in America are dogs on a leash, going wherever the money men drag us. (And yes, I know exactly what I sound like, which is ironic since so many of the 60’s “radicals” are holding the leash these days.)

  • Burnin Biomass

    I found this posted on the bands website on Friday…

    were really just trying to give a fan a very unique experience. See the
    band from stage, hang out, and document it with your camera.”

    Sounds like what I said, it was just an upgrade package for a couple fans.

    (Posting this a second time, I tried to edit the first time, and it disappeared).

  • Kevin Purcell

    Clearly this is not a “work for hire” (you are paying them!) so you retain the copyright to all of *your* images.

    I’d check the fine print (lest they construe buying the ticket agreeing to a contract of some sort that transfer some rights to them other than a non-exclusive license for Instagram images) before paying up.

  • Mansgame

    I’ve never even heard of this band but am mad as hell about it. I guess on one hand, for an aspiring photographer who has no access this may be a way for them to get their foot in the door but on the other hand, really guys? Do you ask your maids to pay you $150 to clean up after you too?

  • John

    Access to shoot… Front of stage that is…

  • MeloCreative

    Hawthorne who?

  • bob cooley

    Name a profession where freelancers have to pay to work.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Freelance cab drivers.

  • bob cooley

    Not if they own their vehicles. Occasionally I’ll have to rent a specialty lens or other equipment (cherry-picker, etc.) it’s pretty much the same thing (albeit there is a cost differential).

    There may be exceptions, but its a far cry from “it’s common in other freelance professions”…

  • Burnin Biomass

    You said “Name a profession where freelancers have to pay to work.”, and I did.

  • Eugene Chok

    i can think of a few, gross … disgusting… assholes …

  • Jeffrey Ram


  • Guest

    The band already took it down that afternoon.

  • patrickem

    In my experience, so far, all you have to do is ask nice and your in. Why would anyone pay?

  • jhaces

    Wrong example. By that logic (paying for equipment/licenses) every profession qualifies. cab drivers don’t actually offer you money in order for you to tell them where to take you.

  • Burnin Biomass

    He didnt open up the question that far. Many cabbies have to pay to drive. Like daily sometimes, you pay before you take the car out.

  • elmakias

    Addressed by Warped Tour, taken down immediately

  • Todd

    When I drove a cab, I was for all practical purposes, a freelancer. It isn’t universally like this, but where I drove, a major American city, you paid a daily lease for the cab based on the hours you intended to drive. (either a 6 or 12 hour shift). You also paid per mile over a certain amount, and for gas. You had no guarantee of income. My typical day cost me roughly $125 (this is the mid-90s). If I took in $100, I lost 25… if I took in $200, I made 75.

    Times weren’t that bad then. There was the occassional day I didn’t make more than a few bucks, but a typical day was $150 to 225 for me… which was good money at that time in my life.

    So, driving a cab was like renting a car. I owed that lease. I wasn’t even required to carry passengers. In theory, I could lease a cab and use it to just drive around all day… if I were foolish enough to do that. The company didn’t care, they were little more than a car rental service.

  • Jeffrey Ram

    That’s exactly right if you contact the promoters and the band management or sometimes the venue , unless it’s packed with media accredited shooters already , they are generally quite professional about it .

  • C.K. Lee

    Once again the Petapixel herd over-reacts with much wailing, beating of chests and general lamentation. Sigh.

  • Rudy Torres

    In all honesty most photographers professional or otherwise don’t have any business being in the pit, it’s crowded as is and most are incompetent at best. If you’re not hired by the house, talent, sponsors, promoters or a reputable media agency/outlet with notable reach you have no business there with a media pass on someone else’s dime. Concert footage is worth peanuts for the most part, shooting on spec most pros in the pit or the press line are lucky if they make enough to cover parking. Then again I’m biased, I’m usually the house photographer for the host or the brand with the biggest banner. HH tried to think out of the box saw the response and responded well to it. At least they made the effort to get creative.

  • eraserhead12

    they were the quintessential ‘emo’ kids of ’03-05. surprised they’re still capable of touring in 2013

  • Jeremy Lawrence

    The cab example is very different from this band ‘offer’, you are not paying the end customer for the chance to do work. You are simply renting/leasing equipment to do your job, just like some photographer’s lease/rent cars or equipment. Paying your passengers to be allowed to drive them around would be a more accurate comparison.

    Paying for tools of the trade is not paying to work, it’s called investing in the business.

  • Ralph Hightower

    Hawthorne Heights?
    Never heard of them.

  • karmaportrait

    Music industry is seeing its product stolen continuously as well, they’re looking for another revenue stream.

  • Mantis

    I’m going to restrain my self-righteous indignation on this one.

    This isn’t a terrible thing if you’re a big fan of this band and/or an aspiring concert photographer who wants to build some experience and a portfolio but doesn’t have any access.

  • Mantis

    Neither have I, but what does that even mean?

    There are plenty of great bands I listen to, that you havn’t heard of, and vice versa i’m sure.

  • Froggy

    This is good to know, thank you.

  • Froggy

    But that’s the industry. The artists themselves usually don’t give a damn about piracy because very little of the money from sold music ever makes it to the artist themselves. The money is in touring.

  • karmaportrait

    i guess my point is that if this is an extra $150 in the pocket of the band, i’m fine with that. caveat that photog/fan/whoever gets rights to the images etc.

  • bob cooley

    You are splitting hairs. So in that spirit (of splitting hairs), cab drivers are Independent Contractors. Its a common misconception, but not all independent contractors are freelancers.

  • shufflemoomin

    Yeah, but they pay for the ability to MAKE MONEY, not pay to work for someone for free.

  • Swade

    “See the band from stage, hang out, and document it with your camera.”

    Sounds like backstage to me.

  • Swade

    For someone who loves Hawthorne Heights and likes photography, this is great. Leave it to the fans who want to do this. Think before you type.

  • Cathy

    one other small point – the answering comment from the band states “We were really just trying to give a fan …” Read that again – A FAN – as in one person. More like paying to win a contest!

  • Mantis

    Many food vendors at ballparks have to buy the food out of their own pocket, then sell it at a profit around the stadium.

  • ColdFeet

    How about they “rent” the right (photo pass) for the day in order to sell their photos to a publication afterwards? Granted, that’s IF they’re allowed to sell the shots.

    I see this as a great opportunity for fans. If I was a fan of the band, and someone interested in photography, it might be worth it. I know lots of “kids” who would LOVE to be able to shoot a concert from the pit but don’t have a legitimate reason to making it hard for them to get the right permissions.

    I just hope that these darn kids don’t get in MY way that day…

  • Burnin Biomass

    I think that is wrong, as freelance cabbies can work when they want, were an independent contractor still has to work when demanded.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    NO… those things you mention are a given for a photographer to be able to do his/her job

  • bob cooley

    that’s not even close to the difference in definition between the two.

  • bob cooley

    That’s called inventory, and every retailer in the world has to do that – its not even lose to what’s being written about here.