Photo Pit Etiquette: YouTuber Ben Brown Edition

with No Comments

It’s much more helpful when the only credentialed photographers in the pit are those taking the ten minutes seriously. I was watching a vlog (as you do) from UK YouTuber Ben Brown when I noticed some behavior that deeply annoyed me as a concert photographer. In exactly what is 54 seconds in a nearly 12-minute video, I first noticed that Ben Brown and Co. are at an outdoor music festival, undoubtedly meaning that the photo pit will be packed to the brim with photographers. In any concert setting, there are two types of photographers: the proper well-seasoned concert photogs and people like Ben Brown. In festival situations like these where the spot you’re standing in the photo pit will most likely be where you’ll remain for the allotted ten minutes of shooting time, it’s much more helpful when the only credentialed photographers in the pit are those taking the ten minutes seriously.

It’s no surprise that what I deem as inappropriate behavior in a photo pit came from people who are not well-versed in proper photo pit etiquette. This group of five very influential content creators and social media pros are all well respected in their own fields. Ben Brown, the vlogger of this video, is an accomplished kayaker and YouTuber. His mate Steve Booker is a London fashion blogger. Rounding out the group are notable Instagrammers Tyson Wheatley, Timothy McGurr, and Rishad Daroo. While I’m not questioning their abilities to capture beautiful photographs in a concert setting, I do question some of their ability to assess a situation and behave appropriately.

I just wish they realized that because no other photographers in the pit seem to be dancing to Big Boi and André 3000, perhaps they shouldn’t either.

At 8:35 in the video, the set hasn’t even started and yet the photo pit is packed, albeit less packed than the actual fans behind the barricade. I don’t mind Mr. Brown vlogging at this moment. Nothing has started yet, no harm done. It’s at 9:17 that my issue comes into play. Tyson (left) and Steve (right) are seen dancing merrily to OutKast (and why wouldn’t they? It’s freaking OutKast!) but behind them, are a plethora of photographers not daring to look away from the stage because a concert photographer is only allowed so many songs to shoot — three to be exact. I’m then further annoyed when Mr. Brown turns the camera on himself and is also dancing merrily along.

We only see less than a minute of their experience in the pit so I don’t know how they acted for the remaining time. I get it. Trust me I do. Vlogging is Ben Brown’s job and he needs to record these moments as well as record himself in these moments. And with this being a sponsored trip from Canadian Tourism Commission, these guys need to look like they’re having a bloody awesome time and they need to get content to share through their own social media feeds. I just wish they realized that because no other photographers in the pit seem to be dancing to Big Boi and André 3000, perhaps they shouldn’t either. And you know what? Maybe I’m completely wrong! We only see less than a minute of their experience in the pit so I don’t know how they acted for the remaining time. I’ll never know if they focused on getting their shots and stayed out of other photographer’s ways. Perhaps I’m a little insane and too hyperaware of minute distractions that probably don’t bother other people as much?

What I do know however is that this behavior is not what I like to see in a photo pit as a photographer myself. And if I were a fan who had queued up for hours to get a front row spot? I would be pissed! And I know that because I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been surrounded by unprofessional photographers and I’ve had my view blocked by far reaching cameras on either side of the barricade.

So maybe next time any of you find yourselves lucky enough to be credentialed and given access to a festival photo pit, take into consideration those around you.

Follow Nancy Hoang:

Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (Basically, she's a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

Latest posts from