Adam Elmakias is living many people’s dreams; traveling the world, photographing and touring with diverse groups of musicians. His journey as a music photographer began in middle school as a simple love for music. When Adam entered high school, he borrowed a camera from his school’s yearbook club and things flew from there. He recalls bringing his camera to concerts throughout his teenage years; a hobby that eventually became exceedingly difficult to fund. Local promoters began letting Adam into the concerts in exchange for the photos that he would take there. This not only allowed him to connect with local bands that he had grown up with but also kick-started what eventually become his future career.
Since then, Adam has spent a great deal of time on the road with a wide range of talented musicians. His day goes a little something like this:
band wakes up
stalk band/ hang out with band until soundcheck
hang out some more with band, eat food
eat more food
try not to get in too much trouble
go to bed
do it over again.
Obviously taking photos the whole time. “
Adam said that the biggest challenge he faces as a self-employed music photographer is balance. “Figuring out how much I want to work and how much I don’t want to work, what work I want to do and things like that get pretty hard. It’s great in some ways, being my own boss, but can definitely get difficult at the same time.”
Band to travel with: Adam spends a lot of time traveling with rock band, A Day to Remember, and claims that the work he does with them are some of his favorites. “They’re like my best friends. I’ve been taking pictures of them for years now and know them super well. It makes the work a lot of fun.” He started with A Day to Remember in 2007, when he attended a concert of theirs in Milwaukee. Through a friend he was able to take a photoshoot of the band after the show, and they absolutely loved his shots. After that came lots of “professional stalking” and forcing himself into situations they were in, in hopes of getting their attention. Eventually, Adam was successful. He joined them on tour for 2 days and traveled to Europe with them in ’09. This was not only the start of a successful professional relationship but a personal one as well. Check out some of Adam’s A Day to Remember shots here.
Tour/Experience: Another one of Adam’s favorite gigs was done recently with Major Lazer. He said that he “loved having the go go go mentality and getting a piece of their crazy lifestyle.”
Place to travel: “Australia? South America? The coolest places aren’t necessarily the same as what people know as the best places. Russia was really cool. It’s pretty special having the opportunity to travel somewhere that I really would never vacation.”
Relationship with Sigma
Favorite lens? “The Sigma 50mm art. I love that guy.” Though Adam isn’t a very technical guy, he acknowledges that when using Sigma lenses, his shots are “consistently pretty.” The lens focuses beautifully and he is always amazed with how smooth and clear his photos come out. Adam also admires the solid build and reliability of Sigma lenses. He claims that his lenses “are put through some pretty rough conditions and the fact that they’re so sturdy is really awesome.”
Advice for Aspiring Music Photographers
“Start small. Start local. A lot of people don’t know how to get into this field because there isn’t a rule book but that’s an amazing thing. There’s a lot of freedom to make your own choices. Go to as many concerts as possible and talk to as many people as possible. The more you do that, the more likely it is that you’ll land something great.”
Where does he see himself in 10 years? “Hanging out with Eminem while he fires me for eating his catering.”
This is what I do with small local bands. It is the best career. Now I have a 5 man video team. We just started shooting live music video and YouTube videos. I use Sigma lenses a lot the Sigma 18-35 on my d500 and the Sigma 50mm Art .