The Event Photography Awards celebrate the photographers who capture some of the most magical moments in our lives, and they come in all shapes and sizes - of all levels and experiences, from amateur to professional. Every year we select Overall Winners, one of them being chosen from the best amateur entries in each category. Katie Frost was this year's Amateur Winner, a born and bred Londoner with an incredible talent and natural fervor for music photography.
Katie grew up in Morden but now lives in East London with her boyfriend. Whilst juggling a full-time job, she continues to develop and expand her impressive portfolio of work by shooting music gigs on evenings and weekends, and even exhibited her work for the first time earlier this summer.
We had the opportunity to speak with Katie to learn more about her background in photography, and to discuss her projects since winning at the EPAs 2018, as well as any advice she could offer to aspiring amateur music photographers...
So Katie, how did you get into photography?
I used to take photographs of scenery on family holidays as a teenager and ever since I first started going to gigs around 1999 I tried to capture the action with a little point-and-shoot camera. In January 2015 I received my very first DSLR as a birthday present and managed to get a few photo passes to shoot gigs around London. In the early days, I photographed in-store band signing events at PULP on Oxford Street and was also part of the House Photography team at MAMA & Co venues (including The Barfly, The Borderline and Kentish Town Forum).
In June 2015 I traveled to Norway to photograph Tons of Rock Festival as part of a workshop and I have returned every year since! I have been a contributing photographer for The Moshville Times since 2015, and for Stitched Sound since 2016. As well as music photography I have also dabbled in fashion photography for The Bias Cut, and in September 2016 I photographed my first wedding, which happened to be in the Netherlands!
As far as my background goes, I did not study photography at school or university and am not a “professional” photographer...yet. I still work full-time in an architectural practice in London and shoot gigs during my evenings and weekends. Over the last 3+ years, I have been constantly trying to improve as a photographer and make connections that may hopefully mean that I can do what I love for a living one day!
How did it feel to be part of the Event Photography Awards 2018?
When I entered the awards I wasn’t sure what to expect as “event photography” is a much wider category than the music photography world that I am most used to. I wasn’t expecting to make it onto the shortlist, let alone to win the Amateur category! All the entries in my category were so different from each other that I felt it was nearly impossible to pick a winner, but I was delighted when my entry was announced as the winner!
Speaking of winning shots, tell us more about 'Take my Hand'...
This shot was taken at The Underworld in Camden, which is a very small but atmospheric venue famous for rock and metal gigs. The band I was photographing are an American metalcore band called Blessthefall and their shows are always full of energy. There had been repeated crowd-surfers during their set but I was really pleased when I captured this shot of vocalist Beau Bokan reaching out to a crowd-surfing fan. I love that the image freezes a very personal moment in what was a very chaotic show, and also that the more you look at the image the more details you see; from the texture of the fan’s shoes to the droplets of sweat in the air.
So what have you been up to since the awards in May? And do you have any long-term ambitions in your photography career?
In August I exhibited my work publicly for the first time as part of Shout About It Live; a hybrid festival bringing live music and gig photography together. The event was organized by freelance photographer Georgia Flynn who set up Shout About It in 2017 with the aim to create a platform for photographers, creatives and musicians to showcase their work and build contacts across the industry. It was great to see my work on display and I felt very proud of the ten shots that I had chosen to display.
Apart from that, I have been continuing to photograph (and review) rock and metal shows for The Moshville Times and Stitched Sound, as well as doing a few photoshoots with London-based unsigned bands. Most of the work I do is still largely unpaid so I am aiming to improve further and gradually start making a name for myself in the music photography world and eventually make a living from my photography. Since I first started my music photography journey I have had a bucket list of bands who I would love to photograph, such as The Rolling Stones - photographing them would be absolutely amazing and definitely a career-high for me! At the moment I am tantalizingly close to 1000 like on my Facebook page so reaching that milestone would be a huge achievement for me too.
Do you have a piece of photography or a project that you're particularly proud of?
Winning the Amateur category of the Event Photography Awards was one of the proudest moments of my photography career so far, so that image is very special to me. Aside from that, exhibiting my work for the first time was fantastic. I would love to have my own photography exhibition in London one day!
What key advice would you give to amateur photographers starting out in music event photography?
My advice for anyone interested in getting into music photography would be to find your local small venue (which generally won’t have a photopit and therefore not require a photopass), get in touch and ask them if you can head along to have a go at taking some pictures at one of their shows. The venue and the band will probably be very grateful for the coverage. Once you get confident in your photography, contact local publications that might be looking for a photographer to join their team. 99% of these will not be able to pay you for your work, so that is worth bearing in mind, but shooting for a publication can enable you to gain access to larger shows and photograph bigger bands that you would struggle to get approved to shoot just as a freelancer.
You don’t need fancy expensive gear to be a great photographer; the key is to learn how to use the equipment that you have and to find your own personal style.
Katie in action.
Keep up with Katie's photography endeavors by checking out her Facebook page.
Entries for the Event Photography Awards 2019 are opening soon. Keep your eyes peeled...