If you're reading this post, I hope these tips help you grow as a freelance photographer, filmmaker, or whatever cool shit you do. This week my guest is Ashly Nicole. Ashly was the 2017 Vans Warped Tour Pit Reporter, which is when I met her.
In this episode of the Project Freelance podcast Ashly and I delve into photo pit etiquette, how to plan out your rates, studying your competition's skills, and researching what local businesses are around you.
The first show she shot was Lights in 2012 and she was instantly hooked. Shortly after that night,
Ashly asked a publication if she could shoot at Vans Warped Tour for them and they made it happen.
I think a lot of photographers dream of shooting Warped Tour, and this was no different for Ashly. Shooting Warped Tour was her icing on the cake.
Ashly didn't know anything about show etiquette, which threw her for a spin until she found her...tripod? Here are some of the simple rules of shooting in a photo pit:
Pay attention to the veteran photographers. they live in pits and know what they’re doing. Watch and respect them. Trust me. It will get you a long way
You get to shoot the first three songs. After the third song, get the fuck out of the pit.
Do not lean on, or put your gear on the stage.
Stay out of the way. You are capturing the show, not performing in it.
STAY OFF THE STAGE (unless you have express permission from the band, TM, and venue).
Introduce yourself to the security guards and other photographers in the photo pit. They will be occupying the same space as you, so be polite.
Pay attention to what's going on around you.
Be as creative as you want without being a distraction.
Don't bring your iphone in the photo pit.
If you get hired by someone and take advantage of the position you are in, whether it be getting friends backstage without express permission from the head TM, your TM, and the band. If you follow the tour and claim to be on the tour, or a part of the tour, you are putting liability on the tour. NEVER TAKE A PHOTO OF YOUR LAMINATE! Someone WILL make a fake pass and could jeopardize the safety of the entire crew. Don't ever let anyone see you type the code for your bus, because..well..obvious reasons. Safety is important.
Ashly is a self taught photographer who had a strong creative support system behind her. She had some amazing photographers to look up to and some talented creators in her friend circle. She went to the Art Institute, but didn't gain much out of taking their online course. She recommends that you look into studying on a campus rather than trying to learn online at home.
Ashly made the move to Los Angeles after meeting her future roommate at a festival across the country. One piece of advice for you Hollywood dreamers out there: BRING MONEY WHEN YOU MOVE HERE! If you do move to LA be prepared for mad traffic, all the time, and high prices. If Ashly hadn't moved to LA she never would have been able to land the opportunities she's had. If you want to get into the photography scene start going to local shows. Ashly shot the band Waterparks before anyone outside of Texas knew who they were. Look at where they're at now! It starts with one photo. That photo could change your entire life.
The best part of freelancing is getting to be your own boss. Ashly likes that she gets to create different types of content, from photos to videos to editing, etc. etc. etc. She's had a lot of experience working "real jobs," and she definitely prefers not having a traditional 9-5 job. Getting to work for yourself means you get to BE yourself.
On a day off, I swindled Ashly and my friend Jake Langley, owner of seventeen merch companies and member of eighty-two bands, into going into an abandoned boys prison.
Enjoy this episode of Project Freelance and let me know what you think of the podcast by leaving a review and (5 star) rating.
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