From roadie to band photographer, the music photography of Scott Uchida

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Please tell us about your start. What got you interested in photography?
I actually got my first camera from my grandfather when I was 10 years old. My grandfather was a post WWII photographer in the Japanese community who photographed mainly portraits in traditional Japanese clothing. I used to go to my grandparents' home on the weekends and I would go out with him on his shoots. In the end, I really enjoyed watching him work and learning from him.

What led you to photographing professional musicians?
After high school, I was asked to be a guitar tech (roadie) for a friend of mine. I would take my camera out on the road with me to mainly take pictures of all the places I would travel. From there, I would take candid and live pictures of the band while out on the road. Then I just transitioned from being the guitar tech to the bands photographer.

Tell us about shooting with Slash from Guns N' Roses, how does he differ from other clients you have worked with?
Taking pictures of Slash is a challenge. Reason being that Slash has been photographed so much, that you have to come up with different idea’s to not copy someone else. I must say, that I do have a lot of access to him in many different situations. So I try to capture images people never see of him.

What do you enjoy photographing the most when you are not shooting a musician or concert?
I really enjoy taking landscape images all over the world of familiar places that some people don’t see all the time. I also just started flying a drone, and am spending time with that. Otherwise, I spend time with my two buddies Strati Hovartos (vidoegrapher/photographer) and Andrew Stuart road tripping and taking pictures.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other photographers who aspire to shoot music photography?
I got into the music business for my love of music and the scene it creates. There is nothing more that excites me when the house lights go off and you hear the roar of the crowd!!! I absolutely love capturing rad moments in a bands history. Or, being at EPIC festivals when there are 20K + people there. Nothing is more bothersome to me than when I hear that upcoming photographers are giving away their images for free. When you do that, you make it harder to be compensated in the future.

Based in Los Angeles, California, Scott Uchida spends his time shooting some of the biggest rock bands in the world. From the Iconic Slash and Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver), to Andy Biersack and the Black Veil Brides.
Scott is known for his no-nonsense approach to photography and for being particularly fast. His work has appeared in various artists’ record packaging, domestic and international print ads, and various magazine covers. See more of his work at his website:

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