Contributor Feature: Alyssa Howell’s Favorite Live Shots Of 2015

Contributor Alyssa Howell’s Favorite Live Shots of 2015

Well that’s a wrap… 2015 was such an unbelievable year.  9,750 photos, endless hours of editing, endless miles to venues, some near and some far. All I can say is only being a year and a half into being a concert photographer; I have photographed bands and artists I never thought I would be able to say I’ve actually photographed for, such as Ed Sheeran & Taylor Swift as well as Legendary rock bands Van Halen & Motley Crue.  It was tough to narrow down my favorite shots into just 15 of my top favorites. So enjoy and I thank everyone who has supported my dreams and a huge thank you to my editor, Nicole for giving me the oppurtunites as well as the publicists/management etc.

Not in any particular order.


Ed Sheeran, North American Tour  at The Verizon Center in Washington DC: Lets just say that shooting Ed Sheeran was everything I would have hoped it to be. Last tour for Ed,  (according to colleagues) it was rare that Ed/Ed’s Management were approving outlets unless you were a “major publication”. Being approved to photograph Ed was probably one of my favorite shoots of the year, although his stage setup was a bit weird since it was a stage on top of a stage. Regardless of the stage situation, shooting Ed Sheeran was one of my top favorite shoots. Ed has such incredible voice live its unbelievable.


Nick Jonas at The Fillmore Silver Spring: Ahhh Nick Jonas. Being that I was somewhat a big Jo’Bro fan back in the day really made this shoot bring back memories of when I was a little bit over the moon for them. Surprisingly, being that this particular venue is hit or miss when it comes to lighting, was taken at The Fillmore in Silver Spring when Nick toured recently in the fall (in smaller venues).


GO:OD AM Tour Featuring Mac Miller at The Fillmore Silver Spring: Shooting for Mac Miller was considered one of my “bucket list” artists I wanted to photograph because I listened to him through-out my middle school/high school years. Despite the whole venue was full of smoke/fumes and getting somewhat dizzy from the Mary Jane that filled the room it was a hell of a great shoot. The lighting was great, the energy was great and overall his stage presence definitely changed, he seemed like he was actually enjoying performing on stage then he did the last time he was in town. My favorite thing about this photo is that he is somewhat looking into the lens and making some sort of contact with me, which was great!


5 Seconds of Summer, Rock Out With Your Socks Out Tour at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow VA: As this particular band seems to be growing and growing, it’s nice to say that I’ve actually got to photograph them, being that they are somewhat popular in the “Pop-punk scene” as well as the “Pop Scene”. Although shooting them required earplugs not because of the music, the screeching fan girls out in the audience. Michael Clifford was definitely the most energetic one on stage as well as very photogenic so that’s why I chose this picture as one of my top 15 because he was singing back to the crowd in this picture, always nice to see artist-to-fan interaction at shows!


 The Weeknd, Beauty Behind The Madness Tour, Verizon Center in Washington DC: The Weeknd is one of my absolute favorite artists. Not only to listen to but seeing him live was absolutely amazing, his voice is outstanding. He’s overall a great performer. My favorite thing about shooting him was the pyros during song #3. It was definitely challenging to shoot him as well because he moved around A LOT.


Fall Out Boy, Elliot in the Morning Holiday Show, Fairfax VA: Now if you really knew me, Fall Out Boy is one of my all time favorite Rock bands, and they have incredible lighting. This was the second time shooting them this year (Shot them on the Boys of Zummer Tour). This was at the Elliot in the Morning Holiday show in Fairfax VA. Although getting to this venue took about 3 hours because I was stuck in DMV Traffic I still got to photograph them and it was an absolute blast! Sometimes Patrick is tricky to shoot considering he is always is behind the microphone; this was one of my favorite shots of the night during Fall Out Boys set.


Motley Crue The Final Tour at The Giant Center in Hershey, PA: The different genres of music I listen to are very well spread out all over the place consisting of many different genres. Now after being denied the first time around, I was quite bummed out but the day before I got an email from the Marketing Coordinator at the Giant Center saying I was actually approved to shoot Motley Crue’s last ever show. I was completely taken back by the approval because come on…it’s Motley Crue. The first two bands were a great shoot. Alice cooper is a nice man and gave us a good 5 songs, and he’s super photogenic, which was absolutely amazing for us photographers. The only thing that was quite the downer was Motely Crue’s photo rules were 1 song only and from the soundboard. It was quite a hassle considering the song was “girls, girls, girls” and the whole song was nothing but a dark burnt orange color and a lot of smoke. This was one of the greatest photos I took that night of Motley Crue’s last show at the Giant Center.


Neon Trees, Sold Out at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC: Photographing Neon Trees was definitely a great shoot. The opening bands, The Fictionists and Coin, were fantastic. I’ve never seen Neon Trees before, so I wasn’t so sure of what to expect during their set. Friends who have shot them before said Tyler (Front man) was very energetic and would always stand on his tiptoes during specific parts of a song. Which I did manage to get one of those shots but this shot in particular is one of my favorites because it really captures him belting out the notes of the song and its perfectly in focus. Neon Trees are definitely one of those bands that are super fun to photograph.


Vans Warped Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia MD: Warped tour is one of my absolute festivals to photograph because A) its outside and there’s a lot of natural and bright lighting and B) because there are so many different bands/artists to shoot on that tour you get a great variety of shots! Now this year at Warped wasn’t as fun because it was raining, they delayed doors/set times by at least an hour and a half and for some reason the stages were all in the woods where it was nothing but mud. It was a very hectic day but at least they pulled it off and it turned into a fantastic day!  Catching Blessthefall was probably the highlight of my day. This shot in particular is one of my favorite shots out of a lot of others. Blessthefall was such a great band to photograph live, even though Beau Bokan was all over the place. I’m not usually a fan of close ups but for some reason this shot is my favorite close up I have ever shot. I definitely can’t wait for Warped Tour this year!


Van Halen: Live on Tour at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA: Shooting Van Halen was also another shoot I got lucky enough to be able to photograph. I originally was suppose to photograph them in Hershey, PA but as I drove up there like half way I got an email from the Media Representative saying that the show was cancelled two hours before doors. I was slightly annoyed because I live two hours away from the venue and it was somewhat a big shoot for me. Long story short, I emailed their publicist and asked if I could photograph the Virginia date, which was just a week away, and she said I could which made up for the show being cancelled. We got 6 songs of Van Halen’s set and lets just say it was phenomenal. Yes, they’re slightly older then they used to be but they still got it.  This was one of my favorites of David Lee Roth checking out the crowd at Jiffy Lube Live!


Rise Against, SOLD OUT the Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD:  I got to photograph Rise Against last year at the Shindig Festival in Baltimore; not very experienced I got some decent shots. But lucky enough for me, despite the publicist telling me 30 minutes before doors that I was approved to photograph Rise Against, I got to re-photograph them! Now usually the Fillmore is hit or miss lighting. Rise Against had the best lighting I’ve ever seen at the Fillmore and I was super excited with how most of them came out! I couldn’t pick one but this was my absolute favorite. Tim McIlrath is such an amazing vocalist/guitarist. Definitely a great band to see live, whether you’re photographing them or just a fan in the crowd!


Wiz Khalifa performing on The Boys of Zummer Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD: As mentioned the Boys of Zummer Tour on my FOB photo, Wiz Khalifa was also on the bill on this tour. Yes, it was odd that two totally different musicians were on the bill it was still such a great show overall. Whoever the lighting tech was for this tour deserves a big round of applause. The lighting was absolutely incredible.


All Time Low on The Future Hearts Tour, Sold Out Hometown show at the Pier 6 Pavilion in Baltimore: This was the first time I have ever shot All Time Low. From seeing them from the crowd on their previous tours, Jack seemed really hard to actually get a great in focus picture of him.  Surprisingly I actually nailed only a couple great shots of him, including this one. All Time Low hometown shows are insane and to sell out the Pavilion is pretty insane. It was such a great night to sit back and relax and see them perform at the pavilion. What really made that night was the end of tour prank the opening bands (Tonight Alive, State Champs and Issues) pulled at the end of the set. The opening bands came out singing the YMCA. It was hilarious. Back to photographing the show, it was incredible to photograph because the first 3 opening acts had all natural lighting which made it super easy to get great shots of them and All Time Low always has great lighting which made it easy as well. Overall a great band to shoot/see live!


Trans Siberian Orchestra on The Ghost of Christmas Eve Tour at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA: I ended the year with photographing the Trans Siberian Orchestra and can I just say I was the happiest person ever when I found out I was approved. Why I love TSO so much is because ever since I was maybe 13? My grandfather and I made it a tradition to see them when they came around the area. We never missed a show. When I saw that they were coming to Hershey, I decided to give it a try and request them, even though from what I heard they hardly ever approved photographers. I didn’t give up, so I sent a request to their PR and it turned out it was a PR that I have worked with in the past and she ended up giving me two dead center, 11th row from the stage tickets for the show and a photo-pass. I was so excited to take my grandfather so he can see me do what I love as well as enjoy tradition we have built up together. Now shooting the show was quite tough because the first 3 were very dark and not like their usual light show, but I did end up getting some good shots from my seat, which one was this one. I love this one in black and white. I really hope I can photograph them again because even though it may seem boring, they put on one hell of a light show that you can easily get great shots from!


Taylor Swift on the 1989 World Tour at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC: Last but not least, my absolute favorite shoot of the year. I still don’t know what I did to deserve to be able to have gotten approved for this show, but wow. After being denied at least 5 times for different dates such as Washington DC, Philly, New Jersey and Raleigh, NC. I was at work when I received an email from Taylors PR Assistant (around 10 p.m.) asking me if I was still going to be able to shoot the show (which was the next day). I was taken back and didn’t know what to do or say, I actually cried because I was so excited. Long story short, I called my mom after that and told her and she didn’t hesitate to say yes. So I drove down the next morning all the way down to Greensboro, North Carolina to photograph the Queen of pop, Ms. Taylor Swift. I never thought I would have been able to photograph her. Ever. It was a pit shoot, which made me even happier! The lighting was absolutely beautiful. The production of the show was absolutely phenomenal. If you ever have seen a Taylor Swift show then you know what I’m talking about.  I will never forget that night, and the morning after when I had to drive all the way back to DC for the New Found Glory/Yellowcard show.

See all of Alyssa’s work here.