Jon Gitchoff: Meet the Best Music Photographers in St. Louis

Categories: Best Of

Justin Bieber at Scottrade Center for RFT Contest.jpg
Photo by Jon Gitchoff

What's the strangest thing that has happened to you while photographing live music?

The strangest thing? I'd say getting drenched by freezing fake (at least I hope it was fake) blood covering GWAR last year at Pop's. My poor Loufest t-shirt never stood a chance. Luckily, my camera and I survived what turned out to be one of the best times I've ever had on assignment.

What makes a professional photographer as opposed to an amateur?

You can't define it simply by getting paid, but there's a lot more to it. Behavior in the pit is a big qualifier for me. A professional not only respects the rules of the bands, but also fellow photographers -- we all have a job to do -- and the fans that paid to be there, don't ruin their experience. I'm not doing my job correctly if I become a distraction that prevents them from getting their money's worth.

Matt & Kim at the Pageant for RFT Contest.jpg
Photo by Jon Gitchoff

Pick one of the photos you've submitted and tell us a little about it: Where was it shot, who is featured and (most importantly) how did you capture it? We'd love to hear logistical description or technical breakdowns or whatever else you want to tell us.

Well, for starters the photo was shot at the Pageant back in 2011. Having seen Matt & Kim before, I had a very specific goal to try and capture their incredible energy on stage. I knew at some point during the show she would climb on top of her drums -- my only hope was that I'd be lucky enough to snag that moment during the first three songs. To prepare, I spent a good chunk of the first song just testing my ISO settings and tinkering with shutter speeds. I kept my widest lens possible mounted on my camera -- their stage setup being near the edge of the stage also helped with that decision -- and favored sticking to stage left to make sure I'd be in a good shooting position for that moment just in case. Luckily, as the third song was nearing its end, I saw out of the corner of my eye that Kim was making her move and led the crowd with this incredible yell from atop her drum kit. As she hoisted her drum stick into the air, I knew I had my shot.

Deftones at the Pageant for RFT Contest.jpg
Photo by Jon Gitchoff

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