Keith Griner Talks Shooting His First Family Photo To Now in iEDM Exclusive Interview
Keith Griner may not be a name you recognize right away, however you have probably seen his photos, Phierce Photography. His shots have been used to powerfully market major festivals and events like Okeechobee, Hulaween, North Coast, Summer Camp, to name a few. His style captures the moment, captures the crowd, and captures the production.
Shooting a music festival can be a difficult task because there is so much to capture. Keith Griner has perfected his craft by creating his own style. He has mastered those wide angle shots that embrace the massiveness of a stage while capturing that perfect moment of lighting and visuals.
“My go-to are the wide shots, the production shots, the crowd shots. I've tried to make a very dynamic style that's still clean but pops and catches peoples' eyes,” Keith told iEDM.
Here is a photo of Keith shooting his first-ever family photo:
Photo Credit: Jason Kaczorowski Photography
Here is a photo of his Hulaween family photo:
His style didn’t happen overnight, however in only 6 years, he has become a sought after festival photographer who has toured with some of his favorite bands and stays busy in the summer with major music festivals.
There are always those career highlights, and in the electronic music festival world, being asked to take a Bassnectar family photo is definitely one of them.
During Keith’s first year shooting Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois, he was asked to the shoot the family photo.
“That was my first time really being up in front of 15,000+ people,” Keith said. “They had me standing stage right and I was so nervous that I don't remember anything about doing the actual photo and I guess I kind of pumped up the crowd a little bit, as if I even needed to do that during a Bassnectar family photo. I was on complete autopilot and when I got off the stage, the festival, my bosses were standing there and I remember having a little tremble to my hand.”
From that first major festival moment, to today, Keith now has years of experience under his lens and no longer has that tremble.
“Fast forward years later to most recently at this past Hulaween, I did the family photo again and the difference is the fact that I wasn't nervous at all, it’s just another photo.”
Photo Credit: Patrick Hughes Photography
Keith dipped into shooting live music after taking a point and shoot digital camera with him to an Umphrey’s McGee show in 2012. Giving credit to their lighting designer, Jefferson Waful, Keith was inspired by their production and loved capturing the moment.
“I was standing in the crowd just taking the most awful pictures ever with my point and shoot. Luckily, the lighting show was pretty badass. I still have some of those photos hanging right above my desk in my office to remind me where I started.”
Today, Keith has shot Umphrey’s McGee professionally more than any other band and has traveled for their tour dates all over the country.
“If I'm side stage during an Umphrey's McGee show and Jake Cinninger sees me, then he'll turn towards me and do kind of a rock-god pose and start jamming out for me to capture.”
He has build relationships with many bands and artists like Kid Rock, Alan Jackson, The Main Squeeze, Spafford, Lettuce, Manic Focus, Liquid Stranger, Pretty Lights, Papadosio, to name a few.
“Once you start to build a rapport with the acts, that just lends an advantage to your photography,” he said. “Like The Main Squeeze, during a couple of songs, they've got some jams to where Max and Ben go out dead center and Ben's got his keytar and they're jamming and things like that is I know where to be when those are about to happen.”
Raised on class rock, Keith’s passion began with music and even after many years and events spent behind a lens, he still loves to capture the vibe of a live show. His dedication and passion has grown, and music has and always will be a big part of his life.
“I love what I do. I love when someone comes up to me and they're like, ‘Oh my god, I love your work. I relive the moment through your photography and it just takes me back to that moment I was there.’ Or there's the other direction of, ‘I wasn't able to be there and I was able to look at your images and it just made me feel like I was there and I was able to experience it through that.’"
In 2013, the first year he got the opportunity to shoot Summer Camp, he accepted it as an unpaid gig, and then the following year, he was offered a contract to be one of their official photographers.
“I would say be willing to take some jobs, just like I took that job at Summer Camp. That first year that I worked for them, it was not a paying job, but it was a job that I saw was an opportunity. Don't be afraid to take something that's an opportunity and try to make more out of it.”
His goal for upcoming years are to shoot more events in genres like EDM and more mainstream events, such as EDC, as well as to continue to work with artists and tours all over the country.
“Photography was one of those things that started a little bit later in life, so never count yourself out on where life might take you and what your capabilities are. If you have a passion, just pursue the passion and get yourself outside of your comfort zone and try new things.”
Thanks for talking with us Keith! We love your photos and have used them on iEDM many times.