Jarred Gastreich: Meet the Best Music Photographers in St. Louis

Categories: Best Of

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Photo by Jarred Gastreich
Earlier, we introduced you to our ten favorite concert photographers in St. Louis. We got well over fifty nominations, and our judges narrowed the field to these ten folks. Over the coming week-plus, we'll be introducing you to each of the finalists in turn by having them share with you five of their favorite concert photos and answering a few questions about their process and passion. Up next is Jarred Gastreich. If you would like to view more of his work or get to know him, he can be contacted at jarred.gastreich@gmail.com. He would also like to note that he enjoys meeting new people over coffee.

See also:
-The Ten Best Music Photographers in St. Louis: Meet the Finalists
-Finalist Profile: Bryan Sutter
-Finalist profile: Corey Woodruff
-Finalist profile: Nate Burrell
-Finalist Profile: Jason Stoff
-Finalist Profile: Ben Fournier

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Photo by Jarred Gastreich

RFT Music: If you had to guess at the ballpark number, how many concerts would you say you've photographed?

I'd like to say I've shot around 314 shows, but that can't be true. I started just about two years ago. I've probably only shot about #41 (I'm a big Dave Matthews fan).

What makes a great concert photo?

The recipe to a great concert photo goes something like this: four gallons of great composition, three cups of an exceptional moment, two big tablespoons of knowledge of your equipment, and one teaspoon of post-work (editing). Composition is what will separate your shot from all the other photographers in the photo pit going after the same moment.

It's not about what equipment you have. If I can get portfolio-worthy photos from a film camera loaded with 400 asa film and/or a point-and-shoot from the very back of the Pageant then I don't want to hear that your entry level DSLR won't cut it.

I recommend not being that geek who loves the label "straight from the camera," as if the camera records absolute pureness and is just like the human eye. A great concert photo has some post work done to it. Alter the contrast, exposure, perhaps you want to bring down the power of the magenta lights, or perhaps you want to highlight the individual you caught in the front row picking his nose, etc.

What's the best thing about live music?

The best thing about going to see a live show is seeing the musicians veer from their studio recordings. Combine that with an intimate experience and it's equivalent to a rain dance that summons water in your eyes. For example: the Damien Jurado performance at the Firebird last month. I wasn't expecting him to be playing solo -- without a band -- and between the very first and very last strum of his guitar that night, the Firebird was so quiet that I was thankful I didn't have Mexican food for dinner.


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