What is your official job title?
I am a photographer.
What projects are you currently working on?
I have a bunch of shows that I am shooting this month that are all listed on the calendar section of my website. Aside from that I have an enormous trip coming up this summer that I’m in the process of planning and getting all squared away so I can’t talk about it yet, but it’s all starting to come together and I will be releasing details about that as I find appropriate.
How did you become involved in the music industry, particularly with photography?
I moved down to Florida 9 years ago and almost right away was kidnapped by a band called Unsung Zeros (Eulogy Recordings). I spent about 3 years touring on and off with them and it sparked an interest in photography to capture everything I was seeing. I toured with a few other bands and I just loved the rush of shooting photos. Also, through the years I have just become friends with so many people in the industry that I began to have the opportunity to get to shoot some incredible bands and then the internet and boom. Here I am.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about photography?
As far as music photography goes, I hear people in the front rows saying negative things to me and saying ‘oh, give me that fancy camera and I can get good photos, too!’. That bugs me because it is difficult to work with the low light we are left with at most clubs. Also, I’m not just firing away… I lock my lens on a member and they become my target. I study them with my lens and wait for the exact moment when true emotion will show and I chase it. It’s a lot more than just clicking a button, basically.
What is one thing you wish people would have warned you about the music industry before you became involved?
Oh man. So many things. I guess the main thing is I wish I would have been told how much it completely takes over your life. From shooting to editing, to networking, to booking photoshoots, talking to magazines, managers, etc, it’s non stop. It’s a great time, but it’s also extremely stressful.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and how have you applied it to your career?
It’s kind of basic but: No fan boying/girling. This is very difficult for a lot of people to understand. As photographers, we all have artists that we want to work with for whatever reasons, and having the opportunity to work with them is incredible. But you need to put your business face on and not freak out over them. They deal with fans freaking out and drooling over them every second of the day, so when they’re doing work related things they want it to be as professional and relaxed as possible. I have 1 artist that I am a total fanboy of and I don’t know if I’d even work with her if the opportunity presented itself because I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself. If you have ever been on my tumblr it’s very easy to figure out.
What has been the best experience in your career so far?
This whole ride is an incredible experience, but if I had to pick one I’d have to say shooting Blink 182. That band played a huge role in my life and to be as close to them as I was and to have Mark Hoppus stare at me for a portrait was just mind blowing. Mark Hoppus looked at me.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
The whole ‘starving artist’ thing is true. When the work is coming in, it’s awesome, but when there’s no work to be found you are broke and being kicked out of your 2nd apartment in 3 months.
Was there ever an incident where you felt you or someone else was treated unfairly in the music industry because of your/their gender?
Well, I’m a dude, so fortunately for me, I am a part of the majority in this business, but also, I have not seen this happen directly, but I have certainly heard of it happening. It sucks and is definitely unfortunate, but there are a few ladies out there that are killing it in their respective occupations and making a positive impact for females in the industry that excites me. We need a new revolution…
What artists are you currently listening to?
As I am typing this Of Mice & Men is on my shuffle. I listen to a lot of The Story So Far, The Gaslight Anthem, City & Colour, Mayday Parade, Go Radio, Secret Lives of the Freemasons, Adele and a bunch more. That Adele record gets played more consistently than most others. (I kid you not as I was answering the next question Adele came on shuffle.)
What advice would you give to those who are trying to break into the music industry, particularly with photography, but are unsure how/where to begin?
If you’re looking to be rich, look elsewhere! You’ll make some of the best friends in the world and meet some incredible people, but with the exception of the really big names, there isn’t much money in this game. Be prepared to have your power shut off or not be able to pay rent. It happens way more often than you would think.