JEA Digital Media Concert Project

What do you want from a JEA Digital Media Concert site?

At the 2011 JEA/NSPA Spring National Journalism Convention, Ina Herlihy and I challenged our audience to consider the future of high school concert photography.  We continue the discussion now.

Ina helped me start this project before she had been selected as the 2010 National Student Journalist of the Year. Now she is mentoring younger students. At the Fall National Convention, I presented with Ina’s sister Emma in Kansas City.  During both presentations, the audience was excited about using our network to expand our opportunities.

Are you satisfied with the front row?

Front Row at the 2010 Vans Warped Tour

Or do you want to be in FRONT of the front row?

The 2010 Vans Warped Tour


Do you want to get close to the action?

The Dillinger Escape Plan at the 2010 Vans Warped Tour


Do you want to get really close?

The Main Stage; The Warped Tour


Do you want to go behind the scenes?

Backstage at Vans Warped Tour


Do you want to interview the band?

Ina Herlihy interviews The Pretty Reckless at the 2010 Vans Warped Tour

Today, two teachers posted a message on the JEA Listserv that their schools qualified for the $50,000 Vans Custom Culture contest. Would a JEA Digital Photography Concert Project help student journalists promote the story?  The final results are not announced until the beginning of June. The 2011 Vans Warped Tour does not begin until a few weeks later.  If one of our partner schools wanted to promote the tour and/or the shoe contest, how could we help each other?  How can we become stronger?

Would a larger network lead to better access for some students photographers?

What do you want?

Bryan Farley

Bryan Farley is a visual art educator from California. Primarily a photographer, Bryan also studies and teaches how to use new media to communicate personal stories about people he considers invisible.

Bryan Farley has 13 posts and counting. See all posts by Bryan Farley

14 thoughts on “JEA Digital Media Concert Project

  • April 29, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Hi Mr. Farley,

    I’m a student photographer at Palo Alto High School–Mr. Kandell is my advisor–and I’m interested in photographing concerts with you this summer. This sounds like a great opportunity!

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

  • April 29, 2011 at 11:44 am


    Great to hear from you. We will set something up soon. Last year when I went with students, I also contacted the students parent before, but we can do that later.

    Do you have a website yet? Do you want to create one?

    Any preferences about which shows? We do not always get what we want, but almost every show is interesting.

  • May 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm


    I don’t have a website yet but I do want to creat one. I have to get my photos organized. A photographer friend told me that he organizes all his photos online through a website called smugmug which sounded easy. But I looked at Ina Herlihy’s website and it looks more professional and more interesting.

    As of now, I don’t have any preferences about which shows–anything sounds great!


  • May 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm


    There are many sites that work, especially for students. I have started a SmugMug site and soon I am going to begin customizing it (SmugMug will have someone do it.) I also use a LiveBooksedu site which I also think is great for beginners. Photoshelter has just started an education site. I have used Photoshelter since 2006.

    I have also explored Zenfolio, Wix, Weebly and a few other sites. Some sites have a free option. Others are fairly inexpensive and allow you to share and sell. You could even use something like Shutterfly or Adorma which have really simple user interfaces and allow for photo printing.

    Ina’s site looks professional because she shot for years and then edited and organized extensively. If you shoot a hundred thousand photos and then find your best 30, I bet you will be able to look professional.

    just a note: shooting one hundred thousand photos is not easy. editing down to 30 is not easy. doing both is almost impossible. But I bet you could do it. Ask Ina how she did it.


  • May 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Hey Mr. Farley-
    I was wondering what extra advice you have on different lenses to use with my camera and knowing when to use what.


  • May 4, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I have a couple favorites, and I can share my favorites.

    I can also give you advice.

    So, my favorite is usally my 24-70 L Series

    I like shooting wide angle, even though I include some distracting elements. this is part of the challenge.
    I also like being able to zoom in a little tighter at 70mm. I have a zoomier lens too, I just don’t use it often. It isn’t my style any more, but it was at one point.

    I also like the 50MM 1.2 . I love being able to shoot in low light and having blurry backgrounds. This lens, at 1.2, requires perfect focus, which can be tough with moving targets, but again, it is part of the challenge.

    You will notice that both of my lenses are more than 1,000 dollars. You can shoot with lesser lenses, but then you have different challenges. I have seen some people with expensive cameras but cheap lenses. That doesn’t make sense to me. Get expensive lens. Cheap camera, if you must make a decision.

    As for other advice, practice shooting in different light, becuase the light changes constantly, especially at outdoor venues. Read some of our other posts, such as

  • May 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Hey Mr. Farley,
    My name is Cathy R and I am a freshman at Palo Alto High School, taking photo. This sounds like an amazing opportunity, a great way to spend the summer! Do you need any previous extensive experience for this opportunity?

  • May 7, 2011 at 10:55 am


    Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Many people I have met at concerts to not have extensive experience, although some are seasoned professionals. It helps if you know how to use a camera, and it helps if you know how to research. Much can be done easily that could not be done when I was in high school; however, when I was in high school, we had this place we called a record store, and the people who worked at the record store often knew a lot about music.

    Now, you can go to websites and listen to music and learn about bands before the show. You can see how to take certain shots before going. And you can practice.

    And, even in practicing how to get into shows will help you with the industry. If you have a chance at school to shoot any music performances, do it. This will help more than you realize. Shoot, shoot, shoot.

  • May 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind! My school is having a few music performances, and I’ll be sure to attend those. I also looked at the related posts, and the photos are really cool. I know almost all of the artists and I liked the way the photos showed each artists’ personality.

  • May 12, 2011 at 11:28 am

    thanks Cathy… Some of the best opportunities, especially for beginners, are those that other people do not take. Look for small venues, battle of the bands, benefit concerts… street performers. Anything! Well, anything that is safe. And then afterward, look at your photos and notice what worked and what “almost worked.”

  • May 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm


    I just realized I have not responded here to your post… Thank you for putting yourself out there for everyone to see your work. This takes courage, especially for such a young shooter. Congratulations! This is needed for someone who will be next to cheering fans.

    I can tell that you are experimenting with different light and shape. This is very important for a concert photographer, especially with summer concert festivals. Light changes so fast. I also like seeing how you show proportion. When I see small objects, I can see there relative size. This is also important with concerts. You will notice this more when you show audiences.

    You frame your objects. You may need to learn how to do this quickly. I love frames and tend to think about them obsessively. I try to find several frames in each photo. You might have that eye.

    Also, consider a different format in the future for storing your photos, but keep Flickr too.

    I hope to see you this summer. It is almost here.

  • June 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    This sounds awesome! And thank you for helping out Oakland students.

    Thank you.

  • June 16, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Glad I visited Ms. Shaffer’s Media Academy program. Your school is only 1.0 miles away from my house. I could have visited more often this year, but I have been teaching about one hour away. Strange how that works.

    There are many great shows in the Bay Area. Some are at huge venues and some shows are at tiny places… and everywhere in between.

    Looking forward to having Oakland voices as part of our project.

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