Shinedown Tour Photographer Sanjay Parikh’s Favorite Pyro Photos + Best Tips
My name is Sanjay Parikh, I’m 33 years old and I’ve been a touring photographer/videographer for about five years. I’ve been with my family in Shinedown for the past three years. One of my favorite parts about shooting a show is capturing the all of the fire and other pyrotechnic effects. We'll get to my 11 Favorite Shinedown Pyro Photos in a moment (you'll want to see these!), but first I wanted to share a bit about me and offer some tips on not only getting great pyro photos, but finding your way as a tour photographer, as well.
I started off playing guitar in bands and touring the United States. After playing our set, I would put down my guitar and pick up my camera to shoot the other bands. Being a known musician in Arizona allowed me to network with people in other bands, local radio stations, etc. I would do everything I could to get photo passes to shoot big shows in town — anything to get my foot in the door.
I would get the occasional “no” but the “yeses” allowed me to really push myself to get better at my craft, improve my content, and develop my own style over time.
After a few years of shooting for Arizona’s rock station, 98KUPD, and touring with some bands, I found myself with the amazing guys in Asking Alexandria. I was with them for a few years. For me, I don’t think it would have turned out the way that it did without having had experience as a musician myself.
The industry can be tough, but you have to learn to network and swim with the sharks. I can’t say enough about how fortunate I am to be a part of the Shinedown family.
How I Got to Know Shinedown
The first time I met Shinedown was actually back in 2015, when I covered one of their shows for 98KUPD, and I would see them a few more times at different shows and festivals. Fast forward a few years, and we end up being on the same European summer festivals together. We would all hang out and talk in catering or meet up after shows.
The guys in Shinedown had seen the work that I was doing for Asking Alexandria at the time and appreciated it. A month later when I was off tour, Zach called and let me know they needed a fill in for media on the U.S. tour they were currently on. I packed up my gear, hopped on a flight and have been with Shinedown ever since. That was in 2018.
Advice on Shooting Pyro
While growing up my favorite thing to watch was band DVDs. Half the time I would end up watching the production of the show and be amazed by not just the music, but the pyro and stage show that went along with it.
Shooting pyro can very tricky, especially with timing. One thing that truly helps me is that I run in-ear monitors with Shinedown. I have Brent’s mix, along with the click track, so no matter where I am at in the building, I know exactly where we are and the timing for the pyro shots.
I absolutely love shooting pyro, especially with Shinedown — there is so much of it! Pyro gives a shot more character, texture and personality, not to mention it’s absolutely badass!
When shooting pyro my starting point is a fast shutter (1/800) and a low aperture (f/14) and then I adjust from there. I always want the pyro as the background for the person I’m shooting. The lighting that naturally illuminates from the pyro is the perfect backlight, contributing to the composition of the photograph.
Advice on Being a Touring Photographer
Being a touring photographer and videographer, it can be tough (at first) to find balance.
Fortunately my wife, family and I have touring down to a science now. It can be very difficult at times to be away from home, but we’ve learned to Facetime and keep up with one another daily.
My advice would be to make sure that you and your family make every effort to stay close and include each other in your daily lives as if you’re still in the same room. Touring isn’t for everyone. I happen to have a wife that has supported my dream since before it was reality.
Functionality wise, you’ve got to get the right hard cases for your gear to be hauled in and out of tour buses and planes. When in doubt, trust me and just spend the money on quality cases — you’ve got to keep your gear safe. That was an absolute must when I started out.
Additionally, you have to make sure you bring the right gear for what you are trying to achieve. At first, it was a struggle to figure out what gear to bring on tour. Now, it’s just second nature. Everything has to be super organized in its spot.
Now, I pretty much always know what gear I will be using on any given run.
I’m a little OCD when it comes to my gear. Always be prepared with batteries charged and lens cleaner. Especially with pyro, there is something called “pyro dust.”
My final piece of advice is to love your job and love the people you work with and all the rest will fall into place.
Sanjay Parikh's 11 Favorite Shinedown Pyro Photos
Thank you to Sanjay for sharing his tips and photos, follow him on Instagram to stay up to date on his journey.