Requesting a photo pass is a simple task, and one thing every music photographer should know how to do. And lucky for you, there are really only three things a publicist or manager wants to know when making the decision.
The Photo Pass
Under most circumstances, the photo pass is a credential that is intended for photographers providing editorial coverage of a concert. For more info on the photo pass, please see that intro article here.
If the publication you're shooting for has an assignments editor, you probably don't have to make requests for credentials yourself. For everyone else, this article is for you. Personally, I prefer to make requests myself even when I do have an editor, as it's simply a more direct line of communication.
Top 3 Things Publicists Want To Know For A Photo Pass
Who are you shooting for?
What concert do you want to photograph?
What's your name?
Almost without exception, who or what you're shooting for is the single most important factor in whether or not you will get a photo pass. Publicists want to know who you're shooting for because this allows them to easily gauge the worth of the coverage and the images that result.
When making a request, include all the necessary event info so the person setting up credentials knows exactly which event you'd like to cover.
Your name is probably the least important piece of information out of the three, though of course they'll need it to put you down for the correct credentials.
And really, that's about it.
The above pieces of information are really the only things a publicists wants to know in most cases. If more info is needed, you'll be asked for it.
This article could easily be titled, “Assignments: The Secret to Getting Photo Passes.” If you're on assignment for a relevant publication, getting photo passes should be a piece of cake.
If your publication is small or you haven't worked with a particular publicist or label before, a short introduction about your media outlet might be in order, but it's not necessary.
Be Polite: I have only one other suggestion about photo passes, and that's to be polite. You are not entitled to receive a photo pass and publicists are busy people. Politeness and general courtesy can go a long, long way in building relationships with the media gatekeepers.
But I'm not shooting for a publication!
If you're not shooting for a publication or other use that will do meaningful work for a publicist, there is no reason for them to arrange credentials for you. I know; it's a hard-knock life.
This isn't to say that it's not possible to get passes for shows when you're not on assignment, but simply that giving out passes in such cases doesn't really help publicize bands in a meaningful and reliable way in most instances.
I know there are a lot of people out there who are probably interested in this last bit about what to do when you are not shooting for a publication, but that's a separate article.
In the meantime, please feel free to discuss the merits of what you think publicists need to know and how you approach the act of requesting a photo pass.