New to tour life but certainly not unfamiliar with creating stunning photos and videos, Dan Newman recently hit the road with Underoath on their American Nightmare tour. We caught up with him during his post-tour travels.
S&S: As a fellow photographer, I have to start out with some “Tog Life” questions! How and when did you become a photographer/videographer? Did you go to school for it?
Dan: I started my career as a photographer/videographer in 2010. Kind of a gray area though – I guess I started when I decided to go to school for it. I went to Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA and studied Electronic Media with a focus in Fine Arts.
S&S: What gear do you use for shows?
Dan: I use the Sony Alpha systems primarily. Sony A7Sii and the Sony A7Rii along with a variety of Rokinon Cine lenses.
S&S: What’s your process like after a show? What equipment/software do you use for editing, and how quickly do you turn around photos/videos? I’d imagine you’re working as you’re rolling to the next town!
Dan: As soon as the set is over, I’m back on the bus ingesting all of my footage and photos to my tour hard drive. I begin editing almost immediately with the goal of having a final product for the band or artist within 12 hours of the show being over. I use your standard MacBook Pro outfitted with the Adobe Creative Suite.
S&S: As a photographer, I’m my own worst critic. Can you relate? If so, how do you combat feelings of not being “good enough” (even though you clearly are)? How do you avoid the comparison trap if you look at your peers’ work?
Dan: Always my own worst critic. If I’m not comparing myself to others, I’m comparing today’s work to yesterday’s work. How can I make it better? I use that as fuel to stay on top of my game and continually challenge myself. I know I will never be as good as the next guy, so I just constantly chase that.
S&S: On a similar note, but flipped – Are there any photographers/videographers you admire? What do you find in others’ work that inspires you?
Dan: A handful. One in particular is Carlos Navarro. That dude is at the top of his game and always chasing new heights when it comes to capturing some of the biggest moments at shows.
S&S: What bands have you worked with on the road?
Dan: Believe it or not, I’ve only been “touring” for the last seven or eight months. I’ve toured with Acceptance, Carrollhood, Loose Talk, and Underoath.
S&S: How did you get hooked up with Underoath for their American Nightmare tour?
Dan: Invested some time and energy to do some work for free for a related band which put me in a position to get hired to work for Underoath on a full-length US Tour.
S&S: How do you keep a fresh perspective while shooting the same show/band every night?
Dan: Just continually telling myself, “Last night wasn’t good enough. You can always do better.”
S&S: Your “behind the scenes” videos backstage and between shows are wonderful and hilarious! What are some of your favorite or funniest stories from the road?
Dan: Oh man…There were a lot. I don’t know if I could nail down any specific moments worth noting though.
S&S: Many people (myself included, actually) glamorize touring in our minds. What are some of the less glamourous things you have to deal with?
Dan: I find it hard to complain about anything at all really, but if I had to say anything at all…the less glamorous would be limited access to showers and laundry facilities? Most of the time we had showers on site at each of the venues, and I always missed the boat on when we could send our laundry out to get done.
S&S: I’m sure being in close quarters with the same people for weeks on end can be both amazing and challenging. Have you formed any special relationships with band members or tour mates? On the flip side, how do you deal with cranky moments?
Dan: After living with these guys for a little over a month, I’d say we all became pretty close. When on the road with bands, I’d consider myself the closest extension of the band without being in the band. I’m there creating content out of the moments that the general public usually doesn’t get to see. I am usually there during ALL of the moments, and as a documentarian, I just learn to sit back and capture. I have to live my life as a fly on the wall when it comes to touring.
S&S: How do you like to spend downtime?
Dan: When I’m on tour, I spend my downtime sleeping or finding the best coffee within proximity to the venue.
S&S: What are some life lessons you’ve learned on the road?
Dan: I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing in life.
S&S: What do you do when you’re not on the road? Do you have another job at home?
Dan: I’m a freelance director of photography, editor, and photographer working for brands, bands, and everyone in between.
S&S: What tours do you have coming up (bands/dates)?
Dan: No tours on the books for now.
S&S: What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a tour photographer/videographer?
Dan: Touring is equally exhausting and rewarding. Be careful which you choose to focus on. If you’re out there on the road, surviving and making a living and living your dream, you’re off to a good start.
Tour Life is a new Stars and Scars featured section where we interview the “behind the scenes” rock stars on tour with bands – managers, security, instrument technicians, drivers, photographers, videographers, light and sound technicians, merchandisers, etc. Know someone who would be a great fit for Tour Life? Email firstname.lastname@example.org