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Rochester photographer captures musical moments

Kate Klaus uses photos to share the energy of musicians in their element.

Kate Klaus
Kate Klaus photographing the artists at Down by the Riverside on Sunday, July 24, 2022. Klaus is a Rochester-based music photographer.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Most pictures are worth a thousand words, but the photos Kate Klaus takes are worth a thousand melodies.

Born and raised in Rochester, she’s poured her soul into capturing musicians on film and has even had a photograph she took of the band Jefferson Starship published in Rolling Stone magazine.

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Her interest in photography was jump-started when her children were born.

“I was playing around taking photos for my son’s first birthday. I got a photo of his smiling face, and I just loved how it captured his personality so much,” she said. “I realized then that photos are so much more than just photos when you can capture the energy, love, or feelings associated with a moment in time.”

A pianist, violinist, saxophonist and clarinet player, Klaus said music has always been another one of her passions. Her passion for music and photography collided.

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“I love going to shows, and I started out just taking photos of my friend’s band, Waves Collide, up in the cities,” she said. Klaus loves capturing musicians in their element. “The energy at shows is powerful, and I love being able to capture that energy.”

Kate Klaus
Kate Klaus photographing the artists at Down by the Riverside on Sunday, July 24, 2022. Klaus is a Rochester-based music photographer.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

One of Klaus’s big breaks as a music photographer came when she started working for Rochester Civic Music capturing photos at their concerts.

“Working with them was really my first behind-the-scenes look at bigger shows, and I have learned so much working with such a great team,” she said.

This led to photography gigs on stage with Smash Mouth and a meet-and-greet with The Revolution.

“My favorite photos are always at Down by the Riverside when I can get a wide-angle shot of Mayo Park just full with people and lights. Seeing the city come together and fill the park with so many people all to share in that energy of a great show is beautiful,” she said.

Klaus’s music photography has taken her on the road with local band 9th Planet Out. She took photos of them in 2017 and 2018 and really enjoyed their style of music.

“After working with them and getting to know them they asked me to come out on tour when they’re on the road, and I was so excited to jump on the opportunity to get out on the road and see what touring is like, especially with such a fun and supportive band,” she said.

Now, besides taking photos of 9th Planet Out when they are on the road, Klaus said she’s also acted as “band mom,” social media manager and even tour manager for the band.

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This past June, Klaus hit the road with 9h Planet Out for a multi-state tour with bands Saliva and Otherwise that touched down in about 15 states.

“Every day was a full day of load in, sound checks, merch setup, playing, tearing down, meeting fans, and then driving, sometimes four to six hours plus, to the next show,” Klaus said. “It’s intense but just so cool to see all of their hard work pay off in getting to chase their dreams.”

Klaus also takes photos for a Minneapolis music review website called 1,013 Music Reviews. Recently, she took photos of Puscifer, with Maynard James Keenan, Billy Howerdel from A Perfect Circle, and the band Failure in a single week.

Kate Klaus
Kate Klaus photographing the artists at Down by the Riverside on Sunday, July 24, 2022. Klaus is a Rochester-based music photographer.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

While Klaus gets to shoot well-known nationally touring bands, she says she enjoys photographing local musicians the most. “Rochester has so many talented artists and it’s so much fun to see where their musical journeys take them and support them by capturing the magic and energy of what they do,” she said.

Klaus thinks her work as a music photographer is important because it helps share the “energy and life” of musicians that has the potential to bring them new fans and an awareness of their music.

Besides her work as a music photographer, Klaus also loves taking photos of planets, comets and other celestial bodies. When she’s not busy taking photos or spending time with her family, Klaus works as a Senior Research Technologist and supervisor in the Endocrine Research Unit at the Mayo Clinic.

“Every aspect of my life has different reasons that it’s exciting, from the science, to being a mom, to the rush of being on tour,” she says.

Klaus hopes her music photography brings people together.

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“Music heals and connects,” she says, “and capturing and sharing that hopefully helps to bring that energy to a wider audience.”

Kate Klaus' FAQ

  • What kind of camera gear does Kate Klaus prefer? Klaus shoots Sony cameras and has a99, a99II, and a 7RIII bodies. Her favorite lenses are 24-70mm f2.8 and 85mm f1.4. All of her lenses are low aperture since she shoots so frequently in low light.
  • What makes being a music photographer challenging? Klaus says it’s the intensity of capturing moments that will never exist again. “Music photographers get two to three songs or roughly 10 minutes to capture the whole energy of a show and there are no do-overs. It can be extremely nerve racking when you don’t know what the lighting will be like or how that 10 minutes is going to be.”
Related Topics: ROCHESTERMUSIC
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