Former Naracoorte teacher Deb Kloeden's journey into 'the pit'

SNAP: Naracoorte Camera Club member and freelance photographer Deb Kloeden capturing the drum stick toss at SAFIA's show. Photo: Deb Kloeden
SNAP: Naracoorte Camera Club member and freelance photographer Deb Kloeden capturing the drum stick toss at SAFIA's show. Photo: Deb Kloeden

After being a teacher for 38 years, Deb Kloeden decided in 2014 to leave Naracoorte High School and dive headfirst into the world of concert photography.

Using her extensive background in teaching art, photography and graphic design, Deb combined two of her passions - music and photography.

"As much as I loved [teaching], I just really wanted to follow a photography career and music is a passion for me," Deb said.

"I just knew I wanted to get into that pit and be a concert photographer."

At music venues, 'the pit' is the area closest to the stage where select photographers are given the best access to live performances.

Deb's journey from hobby to professional freelance concert photographer started quite innocuously, with a simple Google search.

"I just did an internet Google search on 'how to become a concert photographer' or something like that and a little e-book popped up from a guy in Austria called Matthias Hombauer."

From there, she met and joined an online community of concert photographers called 'How To Become A Concert Photographer'.

Deb Kloeden's advice for aspiring concert photographers is to get out and shoot as many shows as they can. Photo: Supplied

Deb Kloeden's advice for aspiring concert photographers is to get out and shoot as many shows as they can. Photo: Supplied

Deb said a challenge for aspiring photographers is building up their portfolio.

"The Byron Bay Bluesfest is one place that does allow you to take professional cameras just into the crowd," she said.

"I started building a portfolio of work from going to Bluesfest and I also started approaching The Gov in Adelaide where I go to a lot of gigs."

After regularly travelling from Naracoorte to Adelaide or Melbourne for concerts, she was approached by a music magazine.

"That gave me that step I needed to get into the pit."

Deb now works as a freelancer for a number of publications and has photographed some of her favourite artists - listing Roger Waters as a highlight.

"I used to be a huge Pink Floyd fan so I guess this is the closest I'll ever come to shooting Pink Floyd because they're not performing anymore," she laughed.

"I've been lucky to shoot some of my favourite acts and some really big names and I just love it."

Deb's advice to any aspiring concert photographer is to build their portfolio, any way they can.

"In the world of concert photography i would suggest that if they do go to a lot of gigs and so on to try and take any sort of camera if they can, smuggle one in if they have to!" she said.

"I've also got a little compact camera that i've always got with me and it's a great go-to camera and if I really need to I use that."

"I love the excitement of shooting a show."

"I'm always excited to see my photos when I get home.

"I often stay up till two or later in the morning after I shoot a gig just downloading my photos and marking the ones that I think are worth working with."

Deb Kloeden is one of the founding members of the Naracoorte Camera Club.