Trudi Knight // bandsonstage: Blog en-us (C) Trudi Knight. All rights reserved. NO reproduction without permission. [email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) Wed, 25 Oct 2023 11:43:00 GMT Wed, 25 Oct 2023 11:43:00 GMT Trudi Knight // bandsonstage: Blog 119 120 Finding your voice (First published in 2014)

I have had some great questions on my Facebook page over the years, but this remains one of my favourites.

'All your photos are recognisably yours - even if they had no watermark. Is this intentional?'

My burning-the-midnight-oil answer was: ‘My editing process is almost identical whatever the circumstances, so it's partially that I know what I want, and part gut feel - I wouldn't know where to start on making them not look like mine! I'm not using state of the art gear, not overly fussed with the technical side, and probably a hell of a lot sloppier in that respect than a lot of people. If it feels right then it stays.’

Apparently I wasn’t entirely happy with this answer and my brain was mulling it over more in my sleep, because the next day I woke up with more to say.

I don’t have, and never have had, a favourite music photographer or a specific influence. I honestly don’t pay that much attention - I can’t, it would drive me absolutely nuts. I have seen many, many great concert photos (which I’m sure my brain has taken note of and filed away to an extent), but an early self-preservation thing when I picked up a camera was to try to avoid getting too drawn in to what other people are doing/have done. Why? Because I know myself well enough to know how easily I fall into the trap of comparing, getting negative, hitting self-destruct. ‘Not good enough’ are words that rattle around my head constantly if I let my guard down. I became a lot more content with what I was doing once I forced myself to confront my hangups about how things ‘should’ be, stopped looking for ‘good examples’, and just started to feed my desire to do something I loved in a way that felt right to me. I stopped being afraid of not being perfect, and decided to trust that I am technically competent enough to not screw up too horribly on a regular basis. After all, it's supposed to be fun, not a form of torture! I still want to bin everything on at least an annual basis, but something has always happened to drag me back in before I've reached a tipping point.

Essentially I want my photos to look like my memories (which are warm, rich, colourful and occasionally fuzzy). I love to see exchanges of emotion. I like the silly stuff, the moments of joy, the messy truth. I want to soak up and retain as much of the feeling of a gig as possible. I want to be able to point to a picture and say ‘that’s what it felt like’. That's what I want the people IN the photos to come away with too. Sometimes, SOMETIMES - I get it right, and that's probably the main reason I haven't packed it all in - I know that the next significant moment could be just around the corner.

I usually favour colour over black and white. I also don't 'clean' pictures - stage furniture is messy. Microphones and leads get in the way. If there's none of that in a gallery it's not going to be a true impression of how things were. Also I overshare. Common advice (and common sense) is to limit the number of photos you publish, but that's never been how I roll.

Don’t take photos for other people. Do what you care about. Be present. Immerse yourself. Make something that’s yours, that feels right to you. If you believe in it, chances are that feeling will be communicated to others. Nothing is ever as satisfying or as motivating or as authentic as doing your own thing. I think that’s the key to your work becoming recognisably yours. 


[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) authenticity emotion identity influence motivation Mon, 23 Oct 2023 06:25:00 GMT
Keeping it fresh (first published in 2016)

A couple of weeks ago I was scrounging a ride between gigs, when the question was posed "how do you not tire of shooting the same thing again and again?". At the time I (hope that I) managed to explain myself *reasonably* adequately, but the question was clearly filed away by the brain cell for further rumination, because I woke up thinking about it a while later.

Answer - no two gigs are ever the same. Photographing a wide variety of bands is great, but there’s something I enjoy about spending time with the same people that’s very different to photographing a band as a one-off. Different venues, stages, lighting conditions, lenses, viewpoints...the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) changes in the way people interact from gig to gig...each night is is self-contained and unique. Some days bring challenges, others can be serendipitous in nature (and that’s all without mentioning having the time and space to build a level of trust, which should never be taken for granted).

I guess it’s my equivalent of changing up the set or changing an arrangement, finding a different groove, going off-road, or bringing up different guests for different songs.  Essentially it comes down to colours and shapes and expressions, and where the mood and my gut take me. If things were the same night after night after night I’m sure there's a chance that I’d eventually run out of steam...but that hasn't happened yet.

[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) diversity inspiration photography variety Sun, 22 Oct 2023 20:25:00 GMT
Publishing and sharing (First published in 2013)

I publish a lot of band photos on social media. I like my photos to be seen, not to gather virtual dust on a hard drive. I like being able to get instant feedback (and dopamine, not gonna lie). I love the potential of the knock-on effect of publishing live concert photos - someone might feel inspired to go to a gig, or listen to a band they haven’t heard before. It’s great being able to promote the shows of bands I love to the communities that I am part of. I love it when sharing images starts a chain reaction of conversation that results in tickets or merch sales or the growth of a fanbase. 

I have met and photographed some fantastic people and had some priceless experiences because of connections I’ve made online through sharing my photography, and some of the relationships that have built are very dear to me. A lot of my friends are musicians, or the friends and families of musicians - the support network, the people who can’t necessarily go to the gigs because they are holding the fort at home. I often share so that they get to feel part of it too.  

But damn, it can be tricky to navigate. Music photography can be bloody expensive and time consuming. Exposure on social media is NOT a fast-track way to paid work (I can count on one hand the number of times that's happened in all the years I've been doing this). But as anyone in a creative role will have experienced, people are just accustomed to consuming media for free.

The thousands spent on equipment, time invested in learning, improving, developing a style, seeking accreditation, travelling, photographing, countless hours of sorting and editing...none of that is really visible. 

There's so much more to be said, but the subject was supposed to be image use on social media and I'm already off-roading! 

In my enthusiasm to share content I'm beyond terrible at remembering to have this conversation - which I should always, always have upfront (and regret when I don't). Bottom line - if you like it enough to want to share it, please respect the wishes of the person who made it

  1. No screenshotting, cropping or editing. I upload images how I want them to be presented. NO GODDAMN FILTERS. Please. Especially not that cartoony crap. And the watermark is there for a reason.
  2. Share using the share button, use my name (it's written on every photo!) and tag @bandsonstage if you're reposting. This way I have a fighting chance of keeping track of where a photo is shared, and people can trace it back to me. 
  3. For any potential use elsewhere, contact me and we can talk fees.

I watermark images I put on social media with the copyright symbol, my name, and website address. Now, technically I don’t have to do this - copyright is automatic and exists as soon as the shutter is pressed. But there are still a lot of misunderstandings, so I do this to:

  • Identify myself as the photographer.
  • Make it easy for people to trace the source of the photo 
  • Prevent the photo being claimed by someone else as their work 
  • Prevent the photo from becoming an ‘orphaned work’

Is watermarking foolproof? Absolutely not. Photos still get used in all sorts of ways that haven't been agreed, and honestly it just drains the energy right out of me. Most people don't want to do wrong by you, and although this is no excuse, most problems arise from people not realising that there are dos and don'ts when it comes to using pictures that you find on the internet.

As aesthetically annoying as it is, adding my copyright watermark to each image removes ambiguity about where the photo has come from, makes a discussion with someone about the way a photo has been used a whole lot simpler. Also, if someone wants to commission me, license a photo for commercial use, buy a print...or, ya know, even just say thanks - they know how to find me!









[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) copyright facebook image theft sharing social media use Sun, 22 Oct 2023 18:25:00 GMT
In colour and in black and white (first published in 2015)

Have you ever read the assertion that 'the only solution' when faced with a wash of red lights is to turn images black and white? This is one of those trigger phrases that can send me in to full-on rant mode!

Maybe its a stubbornness thing, but when someone declares that something is 'the only solution', it needs to be challenged.

Black and white to me is a matter of personal taste, not a default 'fix'. What I'm questioning is not artistic choice, but the seemingly growing number of people who appear to be saying 'don't waste your time, black and white is the only way to go' when what they mean is that it's the least challenging, least labour-intensive way to go. My approach is 'shoot what happens and present it in the most authentic to memory way that you can'. I don't see in black and white (or filters), so 99% of the time I'll deliver colour. Which means handling the lighting in the best way I can. Challenges are good for us, they help us to learn!



[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) black and white challenge choice lighting red light Sun, 22 Oct 2023 18:15:00 GMT
Music photography tips: jump shots (First published in 2014)

I’m a big fan of jump shots, and it’s one of the aspects of band photography I get the most questions about. Nailing the elusive jump shot is a mixture of planning, good judgement and luck.

If you want to improve your chances of success, here are a few tips:

  • Research your band. Try to watch some live footage to find out how lively they are on stage. 
  • Listen  – sometimes, even with a song you’ve never heard before, you can predict where a jump might occur (If you’re familiar with the music, this is much easier).   

  • Learn to shoot with both eyes open – looking through the viewfinder is all well and good, but sometimes you get extra cues from your peripheral vision

  • Watch out for body language and stage positioning. Standing on the drum riser or a monitor can be a dead giveaway, as can looking at a bit of the stage a few feet away (or the ceiling!), or someone steadying themselves and bending their knees slightly.

  • Use the fastest shutter speed you can get away with, and if you need to use a slower speed due to bad lighting, try to pan with the jump to stand a better chance of getting a sharp shot.

  • Don’t be reluctant to use continuous shooting to increase your chances of success if you’re following a jump.

Good luck!





[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) band photography jumping music photographer Sun, 22 Oct 2023 18:00:00 GMT
Amateur Photographer Magazine - gig photography article Recently I was approached to contribute to an article in Amateur Photographer on getting the most out of photographing bands in small venues. It was a privilege to be asked, and they had some great questions! The interview took the form of an email Q&A which was then shaped into an article, with contributions from myself and Shona Cutt. The print version was in the issue dated September 16th, and you can read the article online here:


[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) advice band photography interview Tue, 03 Oct 2017 14:08:57 GMT
The Red Wristband Special Thinks rarely go quite according to plan, do they? 

In Dan's words:

"Long post warning-
Gang, I gotta take a leave of absence for the rest of the year. It's a medical thing. CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Knew i had it and it was coming but I thought it was a couple of years off. Not so. Older folks blood condition that wants to eat up you body and red blood cells as well as leave junked white blood cells like wrecked cars all over the blood stream. Inherited. Treatable. But debilitating in the short term when it picks up a head of steam, like now. 
Dern tootin I'ma gonna give it a fight. I got a good piece of stubborn in me, might as well put it to a decent use. 
The bad news is The Yayhoos shows, and the 2 weeks in the states and a month in Europe and England of db & HMS shows this year that I can no longer do. Sorry. 
I'll find a way to get stronger. Skip the damn crying emoji, please. It makes me feel like a death sentence. It ain't. One of the most addressable blood disorders. 
Besides, I'm the luckiest fucker any y'all ever even heard of, and I know it. 
Mick Brown has me set up in a nice English hospital right now, and am being treated to be well enough to fly home and start the real work. Great staff here at the hospital and this wacky idea that you shouldn't have to pay for it. Oh those crazy socialists! 
Shout out to Pete Mason for calling "its time, get his ass to the hospital ". 
Warner Hodges, Mauro Magellan and Micke Björk are doing the last 3 HMS shows as a 3 piece. Throwing it together to honor the dates in the back of the van rolling to the gig. Gentleman, you are truly what the good shit is made of. Certified dudes.
Now, if you don't put the top hat on the mic stand and play a huggy kissie/Freebird medley at least once I'll never forgive you. 

There ya have it. Dan will be off the road for the remainder of 2017 due to concentrating on kicking leukaemia's arse. On Dan's personal invitation Bluefields and Royal Court of China frontman, Joe Blanton is stepping-up to the plate to front Homemade Sin for the rest of the year.  In order to ensure that the autumn tour goes ahead as planned, the band are rush releasing a new CD as a 'tour support crowd funder'.

The Red Wristband Special features both sets from Dan Baird & Homemade Sin's recent show at Bootleggers in Kendal, UK, recorded on July 26, 2017. The CD also features four bonus studio tracks, plus a new demo from Dan. The CD will ship late August. 

Help us keep Homemade Sin on the road and order The Red Wristband Special. 26 tracks. Minimum price £15.

[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) cll crowdfunding dan baird and homemade sin double cd tour Wed, 23 Aug 2017 21:34:39 GMT
Road trip resources Disclaimer: this was published when the economy was a little less shitty (and obviously pre-pandemic). Most of this is still valid, but the waters are a bit more difficult to navigate now and there are fewer bargains to be had - but it can still be viable!

When I'm not photographing bands, I still spend a lot of time going to gigs. The bands I want to see don’t always play locally, so I often end up travelling. If they can't come to me, I will go to them if I can afford it. I love travelling, and have become reasonably competent at the planning side of things. This page is a summary of resources that I most commonly use. I know I'm probably missing a fair few tricks, but if anything here helps even one person who shares my stubborn mindset, that's my job done...

DISCLAIMER: This post won’t give you more money, or free time, or motivation, or find you a babysitter, or fix whatever other things stop you from getting to see bands…and it certainly won’t miraculously make them play in your home town… (for a really good read on the subject of why bands play where they play, I used to direct folks to Hayseed Dixie's Live Tour Primer but this is sadly now a dead link). I'm in the UK, so I've concentrated on 'local' resources but you can take these ideas and apply them anywhere.

When a band I really like announces a tour, I usually start out by looking at the state of my finances, laughing hysterically, plotting to sell anything left in the house that's not nailed down, and thinking about buying lottery tickets. Once all that is out of my system, I open up my calendar, make up a shortlist of dates that looks like it could be realistic (to start with that includes any dates on weekends, and if in the UK, anywhere that can be reached in a couple of hours, so that I can avoid using up too much annual leave in one hit). Then I start to figure out whether I can actually make travelling to any of them work. I like to set things in motion as far in advance as possible so that I can spread the costs out (and have a few months to figure out how to raise extra money if I really want to make something happen - eBay is more definitely a factor in a lot of my plans). It's not always possible to do things on a shoestring, but if you do the research, you can improve the odds dramatically.

Over the years it's become a game to see how far a limited budget and finite amount of annual leave can be stretched, and success often hinges on whether I care about getting a full night’s sleep (I've used overnight buses from Glasgow or Newcastle to London on a Sunday night and gone straight to work from the coach station on Monday).

UK travel

If driving isn't possible, or is prohibitively expensive, I use National Express  and subscribe to alerts on thetrainline in the hope of nabbing a cheap train ticket.

Going further afield

First I get the big picture: travel planning sites such as or are connected to a bunch of travel (airline, train, bus, coach, car hire) and accommodation sites, and will suggest routes and prices. Goeuro even allows you to specify any discount cards that you have for modes of travel that it suggests so that you get an accurate price reflected. Both sites will connect you to the site that handles bookings for your chosen mode of transport. It’s far from foolproof - some operators won’t timetable or book journeys that are too far in advance, and earlybirds may not always get the best price (depending on whether services have set schedules for releasing cheaper tickets), but it gives you a quick sense of what might be possible.

I use these sites to get a ballpark figure and get an idea of how much travel time & money is going to be needed, then go to the individual travel companies (or alternative ones) to price and possibly book each part of the journey individually.

It's ridiculous, but using budget airlines to get to venues in Europe and Scandinavia can be cheaper and faster than getting to many parts of England (the first time I did this was to go to a gig in Paris in 1994 when the artist wasn't coming to the UK or Ireland).

Google flightsKayak or Skyscanner are all useful to get initial info about airlines/price ranges for your potential destination and dates.


I always look up the venue, then go to , which is really useful when it comes to advance planning (with perks for frequent users). I use the map view to see what's closest, weigh up locations for convenience, and always look for deals that allow you to pay nothing upfront and change/cancel the booking free of charge until a day or two before the booking date. It can be a little more expensive than the pay upfront, non-refundable options, but I've had to make enough cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances over the years that I'll often err on the side of caution (it's sometimes possible to book a non-refundable, cheaper room closer to the day and then cancel the original booking, but that's not a given). and can be good budget options for some locations if know your plans are unlikely to change.

There have been occasions where the original intention has been to stay up overnight and get the earliest travel option the next day, but I always check on arrival for last-minute bargains. My favourite was booking a room in a 4* hotel for £28 while we were on the bus from Dublin airport, meaning that we could get a shower and sleep for a few hours before heading home. 

Other thoughts:

  • Asking friends, family and connections on social networks for help/recommendations is always a good bet. I've been a part of some great fan communities on the internet for many years now.  These can be great places to find gig buddies and transport buddies. People often post up alerts when they see cheap tickets going on sale, or if they have last minute spares, train tickets they can no longer use, extra seats in their cars, etc. Obviously you need to exercise a bit of caution, but J and I have met up with countless people over the years to facilitate getting to and from gigs, hosted people and been hosted in return, and made lifelong friends.
  • Research your destination online - if I'm going somewhere I'm not familiar with, I always look up the venue and accommodation on Google Street view so I'm not flailing around figuring out what to do when I arrive, and check walking distances and alternative travel options between key points.
  • Look up food shops, cafes and restaurants in the area - in Madrid thanks to a bit of research we found a great Mexican restaurant behind the venue we were going to which was open 'til 2am, great for post-gig snacks and cheep beers for those that wanted them.

  • Look for accommodation without breakfast, and pack some instant porridge, or shop locally for picnic food. Alternatively if you're heading somewhere that food and drink is comparatively expensive, an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast option can be worth more than double what you pay for it.

  • Travel as light as possible so that you can comfortably walk around your destination without needing to stop by your accommodation first.

  • Find out whether airport bus tickets can be bought cheaper online in advance.

  • If you need airport parking, try to book it more than a month in advance if you can - there's a massive price hike the closer you get to your departure date

  • Are you going to a city with bus passes/travelcards/multi-trip savers available?

  • Join membership/rewards schemes for hotel chains etc - perks may include things like include 10% off for direct booking, occasional free room upgrades, free wifi, early check-in or late checkout. Also sometimes cheaper than comparison sites.

  • If you're travelling in a group and don't mind room-sharing, many hostels (such as Danhostels in Denmark) have private rooms that will sleep 4-6 adults comfortably.

  • Hiring a car can sometimes work out cheaper than public transport for two or more people, depending on your destination and travel dates (approach this one with caution).

  • Check cashback offers provided by your bank! This month I got 10% cashback on airport parking by booking with my debit card and earned Avios at the same time by adding my reward number to the booking.

I will add more to this as I think of it, but spending a few extra hours planning can really pay off in the long run.

[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) adventure budget creativity gigs resources road trip travel Wed, 24 May 2017 09:53:56 GMT
Stolen gear Not a fun update, this one.

My camera bag was stolen at a bus stop in Manchester on Saturday October 31st 2015 just after 4pm. The police have been informed, as have local camera shops and second hand shops. The bag and contents are as follows:

  • Tamrac 5584 Expedition 4X Backpack
  • Sandisk Cruzer Glide 128gb USB flash drive 
  • Nikon D600 camera body Barcode on box # HC1301011154 (HK import) - not sure if this is correct for serial # but is in the right place on the box.
  • Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro lens Serial # 3021819 
  • Nikon 14‐24mm 1:2.8G ED NIKKOR lens Serial # 299679
  • Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR lens Serial # 705162
  • 3xEN-EL15 Lithium-ion Batteries
  • 1x EN-EL15 battery charger
  • 3x SanDisk 32Gb SDHC memory cards
  • 1x mini usb cable
  • 8x AA batteries
  • 1x blue 2Gb ipod shuffle 4th generation (engraved with my name and mobile number in the back)
  • 1x black Sennheiser earbuds
  • 1x Apple iPad mains charger

The bag had a business card with all my contact details in the front top left pocket.

I got off the bus with a suitcase, camera bag and two other bags. The handle of one of my bags had broken so, thinking I was alone at the bus stop, I put everything down by my feet while I fixed the broken handle with gaffer tape, which took my attention for less than a minute. I picked everything up to cross the road to my hotel, and realised that I was a bag short. There was nobody in sight.


I found out later that contrary to the signs on the bus stop, there was no CCTV covering the exact area, so there's no way of identifying the thief. Also, because I had reported honestly exactly what happened, my insurance did not cover me as I was not technically mugged.

My heartfelt thanks go out to the music communities of which I am a part, who helped me to keep working; the friends who called to check up on me and those that looked after me for the rest of the day, and over the period that followed. It may have been a shitty event, but I learned a lot about how great people can be.

[email protected] (Trudi Knight // bandsonstage) band photography crime police serial numbers stolen camera stolen lenses theft Tue, 03 Nov 2015 15:43:04 GMT