Panic! at the Disco Asked Fan Photographer to Shoot Their Show

Panic! at the Disco Asked Fan Photographer to Shoot Their Show

One fan wasn't expecting to have the opportunity of a lifetime when she showed up to a Panic! At The Disco concert in Florida last week.

Photographer Stephanie Estrada was backstage at the Riptide Music Festival before Panic! At The Disco was set to perform when the band's road manager approached her. The band didn't have a photographer for the festival, so after noticing her camera Zack Cloud Hall asked to see her photos and approved. It was only 40 minutes before the start of the set, hall asked Estrada to be the photographer for the show. 

After the show ended, Estrada had to edit the images on her phone and send them off. When the photos were posted on social media, she received many messages from photographers and fans expressing how lucky and inspiring she was. Estrada is currently pursuing music photography. It's still a fairly male-dominated industry so it's great to see things happening like this to show that times are changing.

Estrada never expected she would have an opportunity like this, she felt very lucky and grateful.  It is heartwarming to see such an incredible opportunity and support given to the young female photographer, especially since she was only expecting to attend the show when she arrived.

Images used with permission of Stephanie Estrada

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28 Comments

Adam Lee's picture

My question is did she also get paid? If she was, it would make this story that much more inspiring.

What the article DOESN'T say is that she was backstage in a restricted area that her pass did NOT permit her to be in. Her blatant disregard for the security at the event has gotten around to all the promoters that matter and it won't be long before she has a much harder time getting any sort of credential.

It also did not pay.

I'll bite. Do you have any proof of that? Unless security for that show was so lax that anyone can get backstage, I doubt Stephanie just showed up with a camera. My experiences shooting concerts at major venues has shown me that getting access to the stage or photo pit requires a photo pass and a media representative that escorts you to and from the photo pit. This is to ensure that photographers only shoot the first three songs of each band.

The only thing I can think of in regards to her being backstage is that Stephanie had a pass to shoot specific bands and not Panic! at the Disco. When I shot Slayer as part of their last tour you had to get permission to shoot all five bands (Slayer, Anthrax, Behemoth, Testament and Lamb of God). There were photographers at the show who shot specific bands because they did not get access to all of them.

She herself actually posted proof. She posted many pics of her backstage in areas she was not allowed to be in (don't bother deleting them, they have all been saved and sent to appropriate parties). She could not resist the opportunity to stop musicians who are backstage and snap pics with them. Super professional!

Festivals have different types of passes (laminates or wristbands), each with their own level of access. In the case for this festival, she only had a PHOTO PASS which only allowed you SPECIFICALLY in designated areas. The one she kept sneaking into was ARTIST ALL ACCESS. For SECURITY reasons very few people are allowed to be there.

The worst part is that she is milking the "Female Photographer" angle on try and get traction. Lets be real here, that festival had just as many female photographers than males, only most of them followed the rules. Her actions will lead to the termination of many staffers for not keeping tabs on their approved photographers. Guess it was worth it for her 15 minutes of shame.

The only festivals I have ever shot was Maryland Death Fest (MDF) and Shadow Woods Metal Fest. Both were a lot more camera friendly, MDF allowed anyone with an advanced camera to shoot, you just didn't get pit access unless you had credentials. Shadow Woods I knew people and I was shooting for a publication I no longer work for.

I don't know the specifics of the level or levels of access for the festival, but going to Riptide Music Festival 's website they clearly state no cell phones are to be used for photography. In that regard Stephanie broke their rule.

Spy Black's picture

"She herself actually posted proof. She posted many pics of her backstage in areas she was not allowed to be in (don't bother deleting them, they have all been saved and sent to appropriate parties)."

So are you saying that YOU saved all the shots and have reported her to the "appropriate parties"? Overall you're sounding like a whole lot of sour grapes.

The "You are just jealous" themed argument is a nice try but doesn't apply here. I was one of the few who had a legitimate all access pass and did not have to sneak around and break rules to get it.

The appropriate parties already knew of her actions and requested proof so that when she gets banned from all further events she can't pull the "Bias against female photographer" card. They asked, I provided. Simple as that.

The issue here is that her selfish actions could possibly cause some to lose their jobs as well as making it much harder for other aspiring concert photographers from getting approvals in the future.

But if you want to go and think I am "a whole lot of sour grapes" then go right on ahead.

greg tennyson's picture

You sound like the type of kid who'd remind the teacher to assign homework.

Spy Black's picture

I can only upvote you once...

The article said she was only expecting to attend the show. Yet PITD spotted her backstage. How did she have a photo pass in the first place? How was she backstage at all?

Simon Patterson's picture

That's a great opportunity for her, well done to her for taking it!

"Who will I find for tomorrow's show in Tampa?"... seems like he has found a way to subsidize the photo budget. Grab someone with a good camera who has probably won't negotiate a fee or proper fee on the spot.

"Support female photographers. I see them in barricades working their asses off and getting less chances than guys with half their talent."

LMAO well, i smell cheap publicity stunts milking the SJW netizen and cheap employer that couldn't spend abit time in engaging qualified and decent skilled professional and taking advantage of desperate noobs looking for shortcut in the business

Ah, your post explains the clown nose - very fitting

Scott Wardwell's picture

I liked the story up until the point you couldn't control yourself and you rolled out the "male-dominated field" meme and sucked all the oxygen out of the room. You couldn't just be happy for her that she was offered this fabulous opportunity and she stepped up to the challenge. Are you a photographer or a SJW? Please pick one and stop conflating the two. That is the reason, ultimately; we can't keep nice things in our lives. Success should be determined by talent and not what's between your thighs.

Maybe Panic! at the Disco needs to play a show in Virginia Beach to see lots of women working the photo pit. When I shot Slayer there were five women in the pit. The talent part is up to individual interpretation.

Drew Peacock's picture

We won't pay you, but think about the exposure you'll get!

Rayann Elzein's picture

I don't understand at all what's interesting in this story, can someone explain? Back in the day when I was still working at concerts, I photographed this band half a dozen times and nobody made a big fuss about it! And I don't know about the USA, but here in Europe, there are tonnes of female photographers at concerts...

Marc DeGeorge's picture

Artists are much more controlling of their image these days, and can be very specific about what images they let out. Also, most artists employ a "1st three song" rule to photographers, because they feel we would affect or interrupt their performance if we were there the whole time.

Motley Crue's last tour photographers got one song. Ringo Starr had the photographers shoot from the sound board which at a particular venue was so far away, the photographer used a 500 mm lens. One country singer's PR wanted a contact sheet and they wanted full control of all photos.

The image thing is getting a little out of hand.

Marc DeGeorge's picture

Agreed. Just finished watching Mick Rock's self-documentary. The shots that he got came from a collaboration, or at least a connection with the artists. What kind of connection can you get with a 500mm lens?

Marc, tour comment about the 500 mm lens was funny!!! I told people if I have to shoot a performer like that, I'll go home.

Marc DeGeorge's picture

Thanks Robert, and apologies for the long time to reply. 500mm may work with wildlife, but I'd much rather be in the danger of getting hit by an instrument!

Yan Pekar's picture

The question is whether they paid her for the job. The article does not mention anything about the payment.

greg tennyson's picture

Nobody gets paid to photograph concerts.

There are some inconsistentcies here. If she was only "expecting to attend the show", how did she end up backstage? With her big camera?? A fantographer? Again, how did she get backstage? Obviously not the full story. So she didn't get paid. Did she sign a release? So who owns the images? Does she or PITD?