Photo credit: Adam Elmakias

Photo credit: Adam Elmakias

[All photo credit: Adam Elmakias]

Growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, Adam Elmakias spent most of his time at local gigs. Then he picked up a camera and decided to bring it along “just for fun.”

Fast-forward a few years, and Elmakias has toured with the likes of A Day to Remember and All Time Low, creating a career as a music photographer by simply doing what he loves.

Drake Mag: Let’s take it back to the beginning. How did you get your start as a music photographer? 

Adam Elmakias: I would go to a lot of indie shows and the more “scene” shows in the Madison area, and I was also friends with the guy who booked the hardcore metal shows. From there, I was able to grow my network to go to The Rave or the House of Blues Chicago, but it all started at smaller local shows.

DM: What’s your favorite part about shooting at these smaller, more intimate venues versus larger stages? 

AE: I’d rather shoot at a hardcore show since kids are there because they really love the music. I also like when there’s not a barrier between the stage and the crowd. A Day to Remember played a few small shows in the past few years, and that’s where you can really see them connect with their fans.

DM: Now, when you’re traveling on larger scale tours, you take thousands of photos every night. How do you pick your favorites? 

AE: A good live photo puts you in the moment. That was pretty cliché to say, but I think a live photo bounces off your eye, kind of like a firework. You see it for a second, and that’s long enough for you to really enjoy it. There’s a lot going on at a concert, and to control somebody’s eye and show them exactly what you’re seeing, that’s what I think it’s all about.

DM: Speaking of favorites—have you had any standout artists to work with? 

AE: Well, my favorites are more who I’ve worked with the longest, just because I’m the closest with them. So, All Time Low, A Day to Remember, and Pierce The Veil are my favorites ... But I really enjoy working with Lindsey Stirling, and I’ve only worked with her for a little bit. She’s an awesome violinist, a really nice person, and I enjoy her lifestyle.

DM: These are just a few of the artists featured in your “Your Music Photographer” magazine. What made you decide to put something like this together in the first place? 

AE: The magazine was something I just wanted to do for fun, and it went over really well. The main goal was to make something that I could hand out to all the people I work with to say, “Hey, this is something I’m proud of.” It’s a publication where I can publish all the photos I want to publish, not just what the magazines think will sell well.

DM: What was your thought process putting this magazine together, and what’s the response been like? 

AE: I wanted to put the crowd on the front and make it more about the photographs and the stories that go with them. It was a way for me to prove to myself that people aren’t just interested in who they [the photographs] are of, and it’s more the photographs themselves. I’m happy people love it so much. I’m working on my second one, and it’s going to come out in May.

DM: When you started out, you learned photography on your own. How does it feel knowing your work is helping people who are starting out the same way you did? 

AE: It’s a good feeling. I’m writing my first online workshop, “Anyone Can Be a Photographer,” and I’m basically starting at the beginning. I think it’s a good way to give back, and I hope that people start with me and learn. I’d love to see their photography and hopefully meet up with them later in their lives. We’ll see how this pans out.

DM: It’s cliché to ask, but we’ll do it anyway: What’s your favorite part about your job? 

AE: This changes every time I get the question, but [I think it’s] going to new places with new people. I love touring with the bands I’m friends with, but I’m excited to be touring with other artists and seeing where I can go with them.

DM: What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

AE: I’ve got two more magazines coming out this year, I have a YouTube series, plus I have tours, but I can’t really announce them yet. Other than that, I look forward to spending time doing my own personal stuff. Sometimes, because life is so crazy on the road, doing normal things at home becomes the most exciting thing ever. I look forward to the next time I get to go grocery shopping.

Maggie Dickmanprofile