Posting Photo Passes On Social Media is a Security Risk

Social media dominates our world. This particularly true in the music industry at large and music photography in particular. For music photographers, we trade in visual media, from sharing our images to sharing our lifestyles.

If you're a newer music photographer or just someone working in live events, it's exciting to receive credentials. Whether it's a photo pass or a tour laminate or a festival credential, it's probably a natural impulse to share photos of the achievement on social media. Here's why you shouldn't.

Event credentials are a security measure

Passes are a security measure. They are intended to ensure that only authorized people are allowed in restricted areas. This includes not just sensitive areas like dressing rooms and backstage areas, but the events as a whole as well.

Passes are not just given to authorized people, they are intended to be known primarily by security and event organizers. This siloed information is to ensure safety for event staff and also attendees.

People are actively trying to forge passes

The reason you should never post photos of photo passes, tour laminates and other event credentials is that people are actively trying to forge these credentials to gain access to events.

A TikToker made headlines in 2021 when he faked a pass for a Kanye Donda event. He's seen bragging on camera about getting a better view of the show than Kanye's own family. He found a post on social media of the passes, he recreated a rough facsimile and swaggered his way in past security.

There are whole Reddits dedicated to faking passes and wannabe influencers who fake passes to concerts and other events for clout.

Forged passes make it harder for all of us

Practically every photographer has had experiences where they were told one thing from an authority and security had other ideas. Limiting access, time, and more, despite given rules to the contrary.

When people forge passes it makes it more difficult for everyone. Whenever there are security risks, security is heightened and scrutiny of everyone increases.

Photographers – particularly women — are already harassed. Sharing photo passes on social media only exacerbates this issue by making security more critical.

Posting photo passes is a security risk

The more sober reality is that we have seen countless mass shootings and other horrific acts of violence at concerts, clubs and festivals in recent years.

Credentials allow for access into secure areas and it goes without saying that only people who should be there should be in those areas.

The very worst case scenario of posting credentials online is one I do not even want to detail. Please, keep the music industry safe. Keep your peers, the fans and artists safe.

Do not post photos of your music credentials online. Not your photo passes, not your tour laminates, not your festival badges.

When is it safe to post passes?

So, when is it safe to post photos of passes? The best time would be the tour is over. Credentials are changed from tour year to tour year for the very reason of safety. When one tour is over, the next tour from the same artist will have entirely new sets of credentials that look distinct.

If you do choose to post a pass online, please wait until the tour is completed or the festival is over.

Best practices for sharing photos from events and tour

If you do want to share photos of your photo pass or when you're working, it's best practice is not to show it at all. Take it off, put it in your pocket, whatever. Next best is to make sure the pass isn't readily identifiable or turn it over to a blank side if possible.

You can paste emojis over the photo. You can draw over the photo pass or put a GIF or sticker on it. Literally anything is better than showing a pass.

My and my friend Jenn Devereax strapped down with gear and hiding our photo passes.


To summarize why you shouldn't post photo passes online:

  • Passes are a security measure
  • People are actively trying to forge passes
  • Fake passes and attempts to gain entry make it harder for everyone
  • Fake passes are a massive security risk
  • If you do post passes, wait until the event or tour is over
  • Hide passes in photos, or cover them up before posting

If you are new to music photography, welcome. We are happy to have you. Share your photos – just not your photo passes.