My Favorite Gig Photos of the Year // GingerSnaps Scotland

My Favorite Gig Photos of the Year // GingerSnaps Scotland

I’m a photographer in so much as I have a camera and people are lucky enough to let me take photos of them and I often get something in return for my work. For my money, that’s the definition of success as a photographer.

That said, 2015 brought me a bit more than I had before: it let me shoot a music festival and tour for the first time ever. I literally got to use a hobby that’s become a ferociously burning passion to travel the country. That’s ludicrous. And so awesome I don’t even have the words.

So here’s a selection of some of my favorite photographs I’ve taken this year a little bit about them, for photo geeks and non-geeks alike.

I’d also like to take this time to thank everyone who’s supported me in anyway, or given me any opportunity, to take photographs in 2015. You’ve been instrumental in what I’m calling “my success.” If you’d like to help me do the same in the coming year I’ll probably buy you a drink or something.

If you’re so inclined you can follow me on social:

Facebook: /GingerSnapsScotland

Instagram: @gingersnapsscotland

Twitter: @CalumMcMillan2 

The Colour Pink is Gay // photograph by Calum McMillan
The Colour Pink is Gay // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/160 1600 w/Flash tokina 11-16mm 2.8

This picture is from the farewell show for the incredible The Colour Pink is Gay.That band were incredible and I feel really privileged that they let me not only shoot their show, but also shoot it AAA, which is a real sign of trust to me.

Swallows // photograph by Calum McMillan
Swallows // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/200 1600 W/flash tokina 11-166mm 2.8

I went on a brief weekend with Swallows this year and I loved every second of it. Being asked to document something like a tour is incredible, and getting to shoot these guys every night never got old. Here’s a favorite of mine from the final night in Edinburgh.

Devin Townsend // photograph by Calum McMillan
Devin Townsend // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/200 1600 Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

I got to shoot one of my favorite artists of all time playing an intimate acoustic “an evening with” set in a truly incredible venue. Enough said about this photo. That I’m allowed to photography anyone as influential as Devin Townsend blows my tiny fan boy mind.

Bear Arms // photograph by Calum McMillan
Bear Arms // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/125 3200 Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

Bear Arms are a really cool band. They don’t sound like a black metal band but this shot makes me think black metal so I love it. Corpse Paint is cool right? Right? I think this was the first show I ever shot in 2015.

Arcane Roots // photograph by Calum McMillan
Arcane Roots // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f3.5 1/400 800 Canon 50mm 1.8

I got to shoot my first music festival ever this year:the excellent Hevy fest. It was a HUGE learning curve and really forced me to work the limitations of my meager gear to the full. Which resulted in shots like this, so I felt both humbled and smug by the end of the weekend.

Thrice // photograph by Calum McMillan
Thrice // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/160 1500 Canon 50mm 1.8

Speaking of Hevy…when I was there I got to photograph one of my favourite bands of all time: Thrice. Not only that, but it was their exclusive UK reunion show. Too cool for words.

sleepmakeswaves // photograph by Calum McMillan
sleepmakeswaves // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f1.8 1/125 1600 Canon 50mm 1.8

sleepmakeswaves were my surprise discovery of 2015. One of the best bands I saw all year, they delivered a remarkably intense performance and played incredibly beautiful music. I’m so happy I turned up early enough to shoot them.

Conspiring by Candlelight in Sound Shape Studios // photograph by Calum McMillan
Conspiring by Candlelight in Sound Shape Studios // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon650D f2.8 1/125 1600 w/flash Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

I got invited into the studio to document the recording process a few times this year, which was awesome. Watching talented people be creative is something I find endlessly fascinating. This shot is from the drum recording session for the debut Conspiring by Candlelight album.

Fat Suit // photograph by Calum McMillan
Fat Suit // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f1.8 1/100 1600 Canon 50mm 1.8

I got to shoot a jazz show this year! I love jazz. Fat Suit are an incredible jazz fusion band and it was great fun to shoot a huge ensemble band full of instruments I’m not used to shooting in a totally different atmosphere of what I’m used to and I this picture just summed up the whole thing for me.

Rolo Tomassi // photograph by Calum McMillan
Rolo Tomassi // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f1.8 1/200 1600 w/flash Canon 50mm 1.8

I love Rolo Tomassi and their recent Glasgow show was easily the most chaotic show I shot in 2015 but I love this brief moment of calm I captured at what I guess you could call the eye of the storm if you’re into lame weather metaphors.

36 Crazyfists // photograph by Calum McMillan
36 Crazyfists // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D  f2.8 1/100 3200 Canon 50mm 1.8

Mind how 2015 started with me getting to photograph one of my favourite bands of all time? No? Well I do. I’m never going to forget that I got the chance to shoot a band who’ve always meant a huge deal to me. Here’s to 36 Crazyfists!

Swallows in the The Old Mill Studios // photograph by Calum McMillan
Swallows in the The Old Mill Studios // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D 1.8 1/100 1600 Canon 50mm 1.8

One of the coolest things I did this year was document Swallows working on their sick new EP at the incredible Old Mill Studios. I’ve been really lucky to have a band like them let me inside their inner workings and photograph their shows, recordings and tours. I love this wee moment of down time from recording.

Life On Standby in 45 A Side Recordings // photograph by Calum McMillan
Life On Standby in 45 A Side Recordings // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f1.8 1/100 800 Canon 50mm 1.8

Speaking of being in the studio, I also got to film and photograph my bestest buds in Life on Standby while they worked in 45 A Side Recordings on their latest single which was awesome. Again though, its the wee intimate moment of down time that stands out to me more than any of the “working shots”. Weird.

Karnivool // photograph by Calum McMillan
Karnivool // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f1.8 1/160 1600 Canon 50mm 1.8

Not much to say about this except that shooting on the barrier is hard, but rewarding and check that bokeh! Success snapped from the jaws of defeat at Karnivool in March.

Life on Standby photo shoot // photograph by Calum McMillan
Life on Standby photo shoot // photograph by Calum McMillan

I made the plunge into doing more promo work in 2015, which isn’t my fortay but I’m getting there, so here’s a wee out take from my shoot with Life On Standby for their EP which comes out next year. Clearly I wasn’t cutting it at this point…

The Colour Pink Is Gay // photograph by Calum McMillan
The Colour Pink Is Gay // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/125 800 w/flash Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

Not much to say about this is there? It’s just an incredible moment to capture. I thought it looked kinda like an advert in a guitar mag. Even tried to pimp the image to Ibanez…but they didn’t seem interested. Their loss.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes // photograph by Calum McMillan
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f1.8 1/200 3200 Canon 50mm 1.8

I was lucky enough to shoot Frank Carter both times he played Glasgow this year and both shows were incredible. This shot I like because it’s sums up the intensity of the shows really well, and I somehow got it this sharp being off to the side stage on a no barrier show. God knows how.

Swallows on tour promo Dundee // photograph by Calum McMillan
Swallows on tour promo Dundee // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f8.0 1/160 200 Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

Another wee impromtu promo from the tour with Swallows on the shore at Dundee. I’ve had worse Monday Mornings. God, that weekend was fun.

Life on Standby // photograph by Calum McMillan
Life on Standby // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f1.8 1/200 3200 w/flash Canon 50mm 1.8

I love this shot because a) it’s cool and b) it breaks all the rules as my remote flash is in shot. You’re not the boss of me! I don’t need your rules!

Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan
Transcension // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f1.8 1/160 1600 w/flash Canon 50mm 1.8

Rock pose 24:the finger point. That’s why I love this. It’s both really cool and makes me giggle.

Shining // photograph by Calum McMillan
Shining // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/200 3200 Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

I love two things that begin with s: saxophones and silhouettes. They’re the best. Shining were so much fun to shoot and their strobe based show made it a really good challenge as well.

Heck // photograph by Calum McMillan
Heck // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/200 1600 Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

Heck are all sorts of fun to photograph, and I caught them all over the place at this show, but something about this silhouette just really grabs me. It doesn’t capture how chaotic their set is, but it sums up how menacing it can be.

Swallows // photograph By Calum McMillan
Swallows // photograph By Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/250 1600 Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

I did a lot of black and white stuff on the weekender with Swallows because I wanted to get much better at my editing with it because I think so far it’s been kinda rubbish. Except for this. I love this. Perfect capture of a moment in time. Poor example of how to play guitar.

Life on Standby // photograph by Calum McMillan
Life on Standby // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/160 1600 w/flash Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

I don’t get to photograph drummers often enough for my liking. I love shooting them. They have the best moves and pull the best faces so when venues like Broadcast let you get this kind of access I can’t help but shoot a hundred shots to get one good one. This was it.

Guerilla Radio // photograph by Calum McMillan
Guerilla Radio // photograph by Calum McMillan // Canon 650D f2.8 1/125 3200 Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

I don’t often get full band live shots because of the limitations of my gear in the kind of venues I tend to be in but I love this one. Gives a sense of momentum and power to the performance that I really like. Also decent lights, which is always a plus.

So that’s my favorites. Have a look at other blog posts on here for more if you want. Or don’t. Or whatever.

And if you need someone with a camera to do some stuff for you in 2016 please, please think of me and get in touch. I’d love that.

If you’re so inclined you can follow me on social:

Facebook: /GingerSnapsScotland

Instagram: @gingersnapsscotland

Twitter: @CalumMcMillan2

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