Tour Manager: Concert Photogs Who Want Payment for Social Media Use Can ‘F*** Off’


One would think that those in the photography and music industries would act as allies — both industries, after all, are built upon the hard work or artists and storytellers who have spent years honing their craft.

However, all too often, they wind up butting heads as was the case with the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus story two days ago and, now, with this Facebook rant from a major band’s tour manager.

The tour manager in question is Mr. Shawn Hamm, who works for the rock band Three Days Grace. Last night he took to social media to share his feelings about concert “photographers” (his quotes not ours) who ask for payment when a band shares a watermarked and credited image on their social media feeds.

Here’s what he had to say (we have blurred out the cursing, but otherwise the message has been left unchanged):


To Mr. Hamm’s credit, he does go on in the comments to say that both a watermark and credit ought to be there. If those things had been there for Mr. Anderson the Red Jumpsuit story never would have become a story, and many photographers are satisfied with the exposure.

But the insinuation that it is a privilege for the photographer and a right of the band to post your work as long as there is credit, and that a photographer is taking advantage of some sort of “loophole” to get paid when they ask that the band pay for sharing without permission is troubling.

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Others also weighed in:

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Apparently this began because a photographer who was credited but not asked permission asked that his photo be taken down off the Three Days Grace FB:

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At best, it seems there is a fundamental misunderstanding of copyright law; at worst, a fundamental disrespect for what photographers do and how they seek to make a living. Many photographers would be okay with a watermark and credit (especially if they reached out to the band and were given access for free) even if permission wasn’t asked. But they are certainly within their rights NOT to be.

And for those who would say that it is then okay to steal or share Three Days Grace’s music if you follow Mr. Hamm’s logic, he has an answer for you as well:

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As always, we invite you to let us know what you think in the comments down below. And if you’d like to see the original posts you can find it on Mr. Hamm’s Facebook and Twitter (they were still live at the time of this posting, despite a much more negative reaction on Twitter…).

Editor’s Note: On a personal note, if you do choose to share your opinion directly with Mr. Hamm himself, I would ask that you do it respectfully. Much of what is infuriating about his comment is the disrespectful tone.

Don’t make the same mistake by attacking him personally or engaging in the typical troll-style comments that point out his grammatical mistakes. Just keep in mind that, as a photographer, the comments you make in a public forum reflect on the entire industry… in the same way that Mr. Hamm’s comments reflect badly on the entire music industry.

Thanks for sending in the tip, Brian!

  • Matthias Hombauer

    I think there still is, You just have to find the good guys who are respecting your work, I guess Anton Corbijn didn´t go professional by giving them his pics for free. But as is said it´s tempting for bands to just ask the guy next to you. It´s hard but possible. I believe that bands are not paying for webusage anymore but press it´s a totally different beast

  • peanutroaster

    How hard would it be to give a photographer a pass along with a contract that says the results can be used by the band for social media? Win win all around. Why would anyone running a band site have to grab images via Google? Just laziness.

  • arachnophilia

    they had that one single like 10 years ago… and another one a bit afterwards. i think it’s been over for a while.

  • Gimmeabreak

    One thing I would like to know.. did the photographer in question share the photo on social media first, or did the band take files that were provided to them for review and post those?

    The issue is how did the band get the photos in the first place. If the photographer posted them in a medium where they can be shared (Facebook, Twitter, etc) Then the band can reshare those images. After all, the photographer is profiting off the band’s likeness in that case as well.

    If however, the band posted images that were not already online in a dynamic social media forum (i.e., not on a website, but on facebook, twitter, or similar) then the band was clearly in the wrong.

  • divinemayhemstudios

    Having shot a few shows myself, I have learned to build a contract up front, no matter how small the event is that I am capturing. Every time I take a picture, I consider myself “working” for my business, so why would getting to shoot a show be any different? Unless I missed it in the story, the details of use weren’t spelled out.

    Please don’t misinterpret. I am not siding with Mr. Hamm. I’m also not siding with the photographer that didn’t spell out usage terms. If there’s a possibility that your stuff may be used, then you should have a plan for it. Learn how to do more than press the shutter. If you call yourself a professional, act like it.

  • CrackerJacker

    Why? What did she do?

  • Gimmeabreak

    As I posted below, the real issue is how did the band get the images in the first place?

  • arachnophilia

    > Unfortunately, it is up to the bands (or their PR people) to figure out
    the difference between the fantographer and the photographer when they
    find shots they want to use.

    i think that’s the underlying problem. it needs to obvious what the difference is. if you’re just doing basically the same thing people are willing to do for free, and expecting to get paid for it, you’re probably doing something wrong.

    maybe that means there’s no money in live band photography. maybe that means concert photogs need to find something else that the fans can’t do. maybe it means photography as a whole is quickly becoming untenable as a job description. i dunno.

    maybe we just need to hammer out the licensing deals so they’re a little more clear. you get paid by some new agency/magazing/etc to be there, and the band having access to the images can be part of the deal that gets you and the agency/magazine paid.

    for instance, i saw a fundamental shift is sports photography a few years back, when i started covering spartan races and similar events. taking photos unpaid and then selling them resulted in going into the red; there wasn’t a market for picture sales. but people DID want photos. they just wanted to see them, post them to facebook, etc. the solution was the make them “free”, at least from subjects’ perspective. in reality, they’re paying a photography fee as part of their ticket price. and everybody’s happy, nobody gets bent out of shape about copyright or trying to make nonexistent sales. and the photographers go from being in debt, to making a ton of profit. just by rethinking in the business model a little.

  • John H Copeland

    Mr. Hamm needs to read up on copyright laws, and make sure that anyone he gives access to the shows formally and in writing agrees to allow the band’s use for social media… that said, I have no problem when a client (or anyone for that matter) posts or shares my photos on social media (especially if they have thousands of followers) — *providing* they give me a photo credit (preferably linked) or if the photo has my logo or watermark on it…. If they crop the watermark out or there is no watermark… I certainly do want a credit line…. UNLESS they have purchased the full copyright to the photo(s) — then of course they can do as they please…

  • divinemayhemstudios

    On the other side of things, if I shoot a wedding or a portrait session, does that entitle the people in the photographs to use the images and make prints on their own without issue?

  • arachnophilia

    the business models that worked in the 1970s and 1980s are not the business models that are going to work in 2010s.

  • Alex

    None of us are entitled to any money just because we volunteer to shoot their shows. Some of us do it because it’s what we love, and others do it because they want to make money (really though, if you wanted to make money in photography, why aren’t you shooting weddings? There’s got to be a part of you that does this for the fun of it…)

    The bottom line is that there are always going to be people who do it for free. Calling yourself a “professional” doesn’t entitle you to a slice of the pie because you think you’re better than everyone else. You earn your place by establishing your value among bands that can obviously see that. As a music photographer, I’ve worked with plenty of bands that are more than happy to pay me what I’m worth to shoot their shows and to use my photos. Apparently Three Days Grace (or at least their tour manager) is not one of those bands. Write em off and move on…

  • Matthias Hombauer

    so there will be other models to explore nowadays. quality will always have their price. the music industry also changed and still bands can make a living out of it. But giving your photos for free is definitely the wrong way, cause what do you want to do with all the credits and bands knowing they can have everything for free? Nobody will take us for true pros anymore.

  • John Humkey

    Following Mr. Hamm’s logic, as long as we’re not doing it for financial gain, we can copy and distribute the bands music anywhere, anytime. Somehow I doubt he feels the same when the violation is reversed.

  • Tim Caisley

    Unfortunately the Terms & Conditions of Social Media mean that your clients have granted non-exclusive World Wide Licence to use your image….which they can’t do.

  • arachnophilia

    > But giving your photos for free is definitely the wrong way,

    some bands are finding that giving their music away for free is definitely the right way.

    bands tend to make money from concerts and merchandising at concerts. the music itself is a way to get heard, and get people in the gates.

    whose to say that we couldn’t approach photography the same way? i detailed in a post below how the sports photography industry is changing, and it involves giving pictures away “for free”. for instance, i shoot spartan races, and they give their photos away for free. and it’s one of the best paying contract jobs there is. they make a lot of money on their “free” photos — because they shift the cost to race organizers, who in turn, include it in the ticket price. you make a whole lot more money charging a buck or two a head than you do trying to sell prints, downloads, licenses, etc, and nobody loses their minds when the pictures show up on facebook.

  • Tim Caisley

    Sharing the image is one thing, regardless of source. Violating Copyright, more over, The Right of Derivatives, which is what occurred through unauthorised cropping & further editing of the image here, even with accreditation, is entirely unacceptable in any circumstance.

  • Matthias Hombauer

    Alex, I love what I am doing, namely shooting music and this is my true passion (i left a career as a researcher in molecular biology). And I agree that the main problem is that there are always people who do it for free. Which is fine, but I don´t believe that bands won´t take these photographers as serious business people, It seems a lot of photographers struggle to value their work accordingly and are happy to give their work for free (“it´s just my passion, why should i charge for it?”). Being a professional photographer doesn´t mean in any way that I am better as someone else. Fo sure there are amateurs who are also doing awesome work. Being professional means to me to have a commitment to my job and try to make a living out of it. Passion is a good reason for it. So I try to get along, means I don´t care about credits anymore since I am shooting exclusively for big names and touring with bands. And as you said, there are still people around who value our work and it´s our quest to find them and work with them. I am not interested in signing a contract where I have to give all my rights away. This is going in the wrong direction and since people are not aware of it and continue to undervalue their work, nothing will change

  • billybobtexas

    The expensive camera, expensive computer equipment and software, the YEARS of honing your skill and training, especially when it comes to taking a great concert photo… that’s skill learned over years… the creation of a great photo is the culmination of a persons time and lots of money at the click of a button. As a fan of music and an amateur concert photographer, it sucks to hear a person… especially a manager… talk like this… I’m sure they will quickly jump on a politician using their music for free to drum up support and straight up sue them… surprise… its the exact same thing… he’s just a little blind to see it.. I think as he was typing he may have realized this. lol.
    I had a local band tell me “are you excited to photograph us? are you ready for us? you better be ready for us bro” with a douchey attitude… and I was going to do it for free… haha… needless to say, I did not return his calls, with an attitude like that… you can go pay someone or get your mom to take an iPhone pic for you. Why do bands have this entitled attitude? 3DG is an ok band that’s had some success… be respectful, especially a business manager… don’t tell me you don’t know… don’t play stupid… If that’s the attitude, then post all their music out for free or keep it to your damn self and don’t make us love your band…

  • JL

    The same place he probably sources coke for his client.

  • Ernest Garver

    Three Days Grace is a “Major” band??

  • arachnophilia

    > Being a professional photographer doesn’t mean in any way that I am better [than] someone else.

    the thing is, i think it should.

    you can’t really blame people who look at two similar options, and go with the one that costs less. and you can’t really blame people who offer similar services for less.

    that commitment, and experience, and practice should make you better than someone without the same commitment, experience, and practice. and that should be a justification for charging more. but the results matter most.

  • arachnophilia

    they were played on the radio ten years ago!

  • Ben

    He does not seem to understand how photographers make a living and how much it costs just to live as a photographer. He just needs to realize (instead of being such a tight c*$#) that a photograph is an art form in itself, just like the music he promotes.

  • Ernest Garver

    Admitting it is the first step to recovery :)

  • Maryelle St. Clare

    What you are saying is what Shawn Hamm is saying: that photographers should give free usage of their photos to bands. That’s not a “win win” to me.

  • Jeffrey Friedl

    Bravo DL Cade for the italicized Editor’s Note at the end of the article. Hopefully it wasn’t needed, but mad props for including it.

  • Adam Cross

    Mr Hamm also doesn’t know how to construct sentences or spell. That was painful to read.

  • Matthias Hombauer

    “some bands are finding that giving their music away for free is definitely the right way.”
    Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails already skipped this way of marketing

  • David Vaughn

    Since all the pertinent questions have been answered, I would just like to ask….Is Three Days Grace even relevant anymore? I mean, I didn’t even think they were still a band.

    Also; for the sake of everyone’s sanity, please do not go to the actual post and look at the comments. Just…don’t…

  • Mark Shannon

    I guess next I should make amends to all the bands I’ve wronged. Thankfully I haven’t seen Avril Lavigne perform – life was way too complicated back then.

  • Mark Shannon

    Well, if what they create could pass for music, then sure… they’re still a band.

  • JDPrill

    The first thing a band needs to be successful is to be heard, the second is to be seen…

  • arachnophilia

    nine inch nails still does it, to some extent. for instance, when their label refused to release the older “closure” VHS boxset as a DVD, trent reznor personally leaked it (and the formerly only bootlegged “broken” movie) directly to thepiratebay. he also is fairly fond of putting up the component master files on his remix site and inviting fan remixes, as well as telling the australian market to just go ahead and pirate his albums because the prices are so outrageous over there.

    this might not work for smaller acts, but he’s already got a devoted following that likes to collect releases, often beyond reason (i’ve seen people with dozens of copies of each release, because of slight differences like country of origin).

  • Matthias Hombauer

    It´s not that I am feeling that I am better than others. The key point is to do your marketing different and position yourself in a way that bands recognize you as professional. I don´t blame people who are charging next to nothing. This way is absolutely fine, but I want people to think about it, that they might undervalue their work with this strategy. Think from another perspective. If you have the choice to hire a professional mechanic for your car (whom you have to pay) and your neighbor who likes cars and offer you to do the repair for free, whom would you trust more? Probably the pro whom you have to pay. Nobody else would ever consider to get something for free from a professional service. It´s seems this holds only true in creative field such as photography, music or fashion. to name a few. As you said a pro will charge more, cause he has to survive and this will make him stand out from others.

  • Stifledgenius

    You know you’re a douche bag when you say “PERIOD THE END”.

  • Ken Elliott

    Options for band publicity photos:

    1 – hire a photographer (highest quality images, full usage)

    2 – Offer concert access in exchange for usage rights (negotiated in advance)

    3 – use fan pics – (random image quality, usage negotiated in advance)

    4 – Hire an idiot for a manager, who will think he can method #3 on the people of #1 or #2.

    A smart manager does a mixture of #1, 2 and sometimes #3. This gives him a range of images, with known usage rights. An idiot manager ignores usage rights, and creates a huge legal liability for the people who hired him. Mr. Hamm has demonstrated which group he belongs in.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Never heard of the band. Oh well. Next…

  • Matthias Hombauer

    ah, ok.I just recognized that the new album was available as a normal prized purchase

  • Matthias Hombauer

    Anyhow it was nice to discuss this topic with you and also get other viewpoints on this issue. Rock on

  • arachnophilia

    yep, i own two copies of it; the LP and the CD.

    IIRC, the whole thing (or a significant portion?) was available to listen to on soundcloud days before it was released.

  • BigEnso

    I lived in Austin, Texas, “The Live Music Capitol of the World” and have never heard of this band. They are either very new or not good enough to hit the radar of people that really know and love good music. Maybe that is why they have a tour manager that is totally clueless.

  • Marc W.

    I agree. I thought the same thing. I wonder if he’s deleting logical comments like this because I see none on his page.

  • Tyler James Branston

    He’s got a point though, you are being quite a douche if you get a free pass into the show, then go after the band when they share your photo on their media. You basically got a free model. And you’re going to use the images to promote yourself. With no real agreement with the band, and our expecting them to pay you. Seems pretty. It comes down to it though, if they hire you, great, charge them for usage, etc. If you get a photopass for free (and your not with a publication) I would try to sell them usage on the photos before posting. If you post it and they share it, and you go after them for money, that’s a TOTAL douche move. That’s the basis of social media, posting and sharing. Hes got a point though, saying to bands to make sure they sign a waiver. I completely agree with that. Why would they bother letting you have a photopass without the expectation of you taking photos.

    I’ve been shooting bands and concerts for 6 years, and I have to side with Mr.Ham on this one. Not all what he says is gold, but he’s got a good point. (though his “CREATE this and that speech was dumb, real dumb.”

  • MoGadon

    So.. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Three Days Grace… Really? These small time “bands” should feel privileged that these photographers/people actually even know they exist. I know of only one song from the former and had to Google the latter to even remember which one hit wonder they were responsible for.

  • Eric

    It’s problematic to consider music and photography as the same, though. You don’t experience a photo of a band being used as a profile picture on facebook the same way you experience an album or a song.

  • PJ

    … and the rest of the world for that matter. Someone should send him the link to the Berne Convention.

  • Dave Wilson

    For the record, copyright law is pretty standard around the world right now. The USA is what is called a Berne Convention Country which is quoted in the Canadian copyright act as ““Berne Convention country” means a country
    that is a party to the Convention for the Protection
    of Literary and Artistic Works concluded
    at Berne on September 9, 1886, or any one of
    its revisions, including the Paris Act of 1971″

    According to these laws, a photographer retains ALL rights to their images, regardless of who may appear in the images or who may have hired the photographer. Certain situations may give a photographer an opportunity to give up their rights, such as when working as staff photographer at a media agency, but photographers are not obligated to do so.

  • JoanieGranola

    And this is the main reason why contracts between the photographer and subject are so necessary. People don’t realize that the photographer is the owner of all images he takes, regardless of payment (unless there’s special circumstances which aren’t relevant in this particular instance). It’s the license that really matters. The photographer can grant a license for others to use his photos as he sees fit. If the band doesn’t agree with the license terms, they can opt to not pay for the license and thus doesn’t get to use the photos. As for the photographer using the photos that he took, that’s another issue depending on the circumstance (publication needing model releases and such). It’s infuriating that people think that photographers should be thankful for exposure without payment. I’d like to give a builder exposure by building my dream house without payment; I’d be more than happy to give him great exposure telling all my family, friends and neighbors (hell, maybe even posting a sign in my front yard) that he did such a great job and should be hired to build [your] house. Or I can hire a solar company to put panels on my house for free and I can give them free exposure by allowing them to use my property at no charge (this comment is based on a Craigslist story posted by PetaPixel recently). It sounds ridiculous when put in the context of other professions, doesn’t it?

  • Sid Ceaser

    “Band Managers” and “Tour Managers” should be required to attend classes and learn things like how copyright works. Especially any kind of copyright related to their field or profession. So that they don’t do or say the kinds of things that are being said in the article.

    There is a rift the size of the Grand Canyon that has been created between photographers and those in the music industry. It’s so sad to see.

    I provide photography for bands and musicians for PR, Press Kit, Promotion, Album artwork, etc, and sometimes some of the demands they request, or the statements they make in regards to copyright, or the simple lack of respect they have for photography is numbing.