February 19, 2018

Zoe Rain behind the lens: Capturing the musicians you know and love

By Team Ventev Topic: Lifestyle

Zoe Rain toured the world as the official tour photographer for Macklemore before she was 21. She landed a photo on the cover of Rolling Stone before she was 25.

Those are amazing feats. What’s even more amazing is that her interest in photography started with a chance meeting in a high school photography class that she wasn’t doing well in.

These days, she is based in Chicago, and continues her work as a photographer with an expanded portfolio that includes live music, weddings, fashion, commercial photography, and more.  

In our interview, she talked about how she got her start, that time she snuck into the Grammys, the apps she uses in her day to day, and how she stays charged on tour.

Macklemore Concert 2016 #zoerain

A post shared by ZOE RAIN (@zoerainphoto) on

You’ve photographed several big-name music artists – what drew you to this specific segment of photography?

I got my start in professional photography with my mentor Jason Koenig, who brought me to my first Macklemore show and lent me a camera I could hardly lift, let alone afford. Starting out with an artist who was just breaking out of their shell was such a metaphor of where I wanted to take my art, so I became very drawn to musicians and the trajectory of their careers. Within the music industry, both locally and beyond that, there is a huge community with other artists. So once I started working with Macklemore, I was introduced to numerous others, including Ed Sheeran, Chance the Rapper, G-Eazy, and Galantis. Originally, I didn’t plan to get into live music work, but over the years it’s snowballed into one of my favorite subjects.

Do you ever use your phone to shoot while on tour or an assignment? What do you like about smartphone photography?

I have used my phone occasionally, both at shows where I didn’t bring my camera, as well as when I needed photos fast and don’t have time to grab a camera, upload the photos, and send them to someone. I snuck into the Grammys one time and wasn’t allowed to have a camera, so I shot part of a Rolling Stone story using only an iPhone. Technology is pretty cool.

How is your phone incorporated into your day-to-day responsibilities as a photographer?

I use my phone for a ton of photo-oriented things, including checking weather, sunset time, direction and tracking of the sun, light metering, and of course taking photos and editing. I also am constantly attached to my email, social channels, and blogs. I’m always connected, or trying to stay connected, with artists and brands alike.

Being shot today by @lowresstudio for @redbull 30/30 Chicago. (📸 @nathanmichael)

A post shared by ZOE RAIN (@zoerainphoto) on

Traveling on tour with artists requires you to be constantly on the go. What is the coolest place you’ve traveled to while on the job?

Being on tour, especially in a foreign country, is extremely strange. You sleep in a pitch-black cubby on a moving bus, and when you wake up, you are in an entirely new place than you were the day before. I have woken up, looked at the clock, and not known if it was 3 p.m. or 3 a.m. But, the moment you leave the tour bus and see the Eiffel Tower, that moment is pure magic.

Some of my favorite memories are when I walked off a tour bus into the Staples Center, where Miley Cyrus was sound checking as I ate breakfast, and the pre-Grammy show where I talked to Lorde backstage in her dressing room.

What’s your strategy to stay charged while traveling on the road?

On the road I am constantly in need of a charge for my phone (especially with all those foreign plugs). I use a handful of Ventev chargers and cords to stay above red on my phone!

Taking the small jet home.

A post shared by ZOE RAIN (@zoerainphoto) on

Read more of our Q&As with travelers, fashionistas, and other influencers.

















Become A Reseller

Let us help you carry Ventev in your store.

Learn More