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I'm a huge NEEDTOBREATHE fan. Their album "The Outsiders" was the soundtrack to my early college years. In fact, on long road trips I would listen straight through their entire catalogue.

And with the announcement that NTB would be rolling into town to help christen the new ACU Wildcat Stadium, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I would be there belting every song at the top of my lungs.

Their presence also presented a unique challenge as a photographer. I had no "All Access" privilege. No photography pass. And because because of stadium rules, no "professional" photography equipment was to be used during the show.

But I was standing in the 3rd row, and I did have my iPhone 6+.


As someone who feels comfortable behind a DSLR, the thought of taking a few photos of a live show with my old iPhone made me cringe. I wouldn't have a 22.3 MP full frame sensor. I'd be without the sharpness of my trusty 70-200mm or 24-70mm lenses. And shallow depth of field was now a laughing matter.

But I've always been a firm believer that a $3,000 camera body, a $1,500 lens, and expensive photography gizmos and gadgets doesn't make a photographer a photographer. It's in the eye, the timing, the willingness to take risks, and the ability to compose an image. 

And so I shook off the crutch of needing expensive gear, pulled out my iPhone, and standing on the 3rd row of a NEEDTOBREATHE concert, I challenged myself to capture a story.

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Often in the life of a photographer, the conditions aren't always right. You don't have the equipment you want. The subject isn't cooperating as you'd like. Perhaps the lighting is less than ideal. Or maybe you don't have a photography pass to an incredible concert. We've all been there.

But it's in those moments you dig deep and see what you're made of. How can you make the most of it? How can you learn and grow from each opportunity? How can you get better?


I learned a lot from shooting a few photos at a concert in one standing position with an iPhone. (First and foremost, I don't recommend it.) But I learned to be thoughtful. To wait for certain colors. To work with shadows. To frame, and then reframe – compose and recompose.

These weren't my ideal circumstances. But as the saying goes: The best camera is the one you have with you.

Make the most of it.

- Braden

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