Liz Thomas is one third of Melbourne art-punk outfit Ouch My Face. I first saw them supporting Regurgitator in 2015, and they blew me away so I made sure to catch them as part of the Milk! Records show case tour in early 2016. They have fast become one of my favourite live bands, and definitely a favourite to shoot. 

Do you personally have a say as to whether or not photographers are provided access to shoot your gigs? If so, why do you chose to allow/disallow them?

Unfortunately no. When we’ve done larger scale gigs, its all be down to the promoter/label. I requested access for a friend of mine when we played at Sleater Kinney (in Melbourne) and it was turned down, the promoter saying that the allocation was ‘full’. Suffice to say it was really disappointing when no photographs surfaced from that show and we don’t have a record of one of our most treasured supports! 

Do you know if there is currently a contract that photographers must sign before shooting your gigs? If so, did you have any say on the terms and conditions of the contract? Do you know what the terms and conditions in your contract are?

No, other than the ‘3 song’ rule – but that’s not something we police – just the security guards

What are your thoughts on having photographers at your gigs? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Self conscious? Do you enjoy it? Are you glad when they leave? Do you feel it impacts the performance or the experience of the fans?

I love seeing photographers in the pit – that may be as i have a passion for the medium myself, but it adds to the excitement, i think for both the band and the audience. I’ve never had a photographer be invasive and have always found them to be respectful of both the audience and the band.

Do you value the end product that is provided by these photographers and the promotion that it provides you/your band when galleries are posted to online publications? Would you rather have no photographers, or just use crowd sourced images? 

Without a doubt, I prefer a photographer there. The promotion that it provides is invaluable, and having professional images helps mould the image of your band. It also helps you reach new audiences and fans that you would not be able to access if you were just relying on fan photographs. 

“if you are using their work to promote your band then they absolutely should be credited.

Do you make an effort to credit photographers when sharing live music photos from your gigs online? Why is this your position?

Absolutely. For the same reasons that I would credit any other persons art or work – they own the copyright and if you are using their work to promote your band then they absolutely should be credited.  

Have you paid to have a photographer to shoot a show/tour before? What impacted your decision to pay to have a photographer shoot your show/tour? Did you feel there was a benefit to this arrangement and if so how did this differ to having photographers shooting for free?

No, but if money allowed, I definitely would. To have one person tour with you and get to know the band and individuals would undoubtedly result in a great documentary of your tour.

Please share any other thoughts you have about the pro’s and con’s of live music photographers, the ownership of copyright on images, crediting when using/sharing images, contract terms and conditions etc.

The only area i feel a bit torn over, is photographers granting us the right to use their photographs. For example, we contacted someone who has taken many photos of our band over the years, and sold copies at exhibitions, about using a couple of the images for our website, with full credit and a link back to their site. This particular person refused, which left us a bit baffled. If they are making a profit from selling our images, surely we should be able to use them on our website?!