Bryan Sutter: Meet the Best Music Photographers in St. Louis

Bryan Sutter: Meet the Best Music Photographers in St. Louis
Photo by Bryan Sutter.

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 Bryan Sutter -- former house photographer at the Firebird -- whose work can be viewed (and purchased) from his web site,

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

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

Bryan Sutter: Without giving it too much thought, at least 800. I shot almost every night for two years when I was working with The Firebird.

What makes a great concert photo?

I think a lot of people would say that capturing the moment makes a great concert photo, and they are largely correct. People can point out a great photo when they see it. However, for the photographer I feel that it is important to not have very strong preferences when shooting. Sometimes the lighting is just right where you can capture a certain detail or action in a way that is really pleasing and descriptive. Other times, a photo of the crowd from the back of the room, while nothing that is particularly exciting is happening on stage, can tell just as much.

Bryan Sutter: Meet the Best Music Photographers in St. Louis
Photo by Bryan Sutter.

What's the best thing about live music?

There are a lot of great things about live music. Sometimes it's a pretty simple affair, though. You go to the show, buy a drink, see the show, maybe buy a shirt or LP and then you go home and maybe one day you'll die. Sometimes a show can be more engaging affair, something closer to an idea exchange. Either you have a conversation with someone or there's a song that really clicks. Maybe there's some instrumentation that really inspires you. Or another person attending. Those are, perhaps, some of the more exciting and stimulating surprises you can have in the presence of live music.

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