Capturing the best moments at a concert is a seriously important job. Photographers are the people at shows who capture those great moments and let people remember what they experienced or missed that night. One of our favorite photographers is a woman named Ashly Nicole. Girls Behind The Rock Show had the opportunity to interview her about all the things an aspiring photographer would want to know for our very first Photographer Friday feature!
Ashly began shooting concerts in early 2012 after she received a point and shoot camera for her birthday. She went to her second concert ever and just decided to take some pictures with her new camera. The photos turned out to be really good and a lightbulb suddenly went off in her head. After that she decided that photographing music was what she wanted to do. Looking up to other industry photographers, such as Adam Elmakias, Ashley Osborn, Maysa Askar and a few others inspired her to save her money to get a DSLR camera.
Knowing pretty much nothing about the settings on her new camera she went to shoot her first Warped Tour. The two most memorable shots she has from that Warped Tour are pictures of Tay Jardine from We Are The In Crowd/Sainte and Ben Barlow from Neck Deep. In that picture of Ben Barlow she could see every detail of him. Ashly also saw the intensity and the passion he had for the music he was singing. That day at Warped Tour helped her figure out that she wanted to convey that passion that bands had for the music they were creating through her photos.
Looking up to other photographers photo styles can help you a lot when it comes to determining your style. “It’s so cliché to say, but originality is dead. All photography styles are influenced by other photographers,” she says. Ashly goes onto explain that it’s okay to be influenced by other photographers, but it’s important to develop your own style based upon what you learn from others. Ashly makes her photos stick out by adding effects to her photos. While sticking out is important – her colored hair makes her a very nice looking sore thumb in any photo pit – but it’s her professionalism and need for things like business cards that truly set her apart.
Ashly has photographed some pretty big shows, but to her, two stand out the most. The first one being Melanie Martinez, where she got to be the only photographer in the sold out show’s pit. Because she looks up to Melanie so much, being able to photograph her meant a lot to Ashly. The next show Ashly mentions is The Used. Originally, she didn’t even have a photo pass for the show, her luck changed when she met a man named Jeff Funk. He gave her an all access pass and she had the opportunity to take photos from anywhere she wanted in the venue. While she was shooting sidestage and backstage, she met Bert McCracken (lead singer of The Used) and took his photo and spoke to him for a while. The opportunity really opened up her eyes and The Used even used (pun totally intended) some of her photos!
All music fans have that one band or artist that they look up to and love their music so much. For Ashly, that artist is Canadian electro-pop artist Lights. Ashly has taken photos of Lights performing and has gotten to know her over the past few years. While Ashly
Being a woman in the music industry comes with some challenges. Ashly has been told before by some bands that she won’t be taken on tour because she is a woman, and that there are complications with that. “It shouldn’t matter what’s between my legs, it should matter on my skill set,” she confidently states. She believes that you gender shouldn’t affect how your work is valued, and she’s not shy about making that statement.
For aspiring music photographers that want to get their photos out there, here are some of Ashly’s tips. “Get out and go to local shows and take pictures of the bands. Then once you build up a portfolio try and send in your photos to some publications. If they wont take your photos, try and write for the publication first and then try sending in your photos,” she says. She stresses the importance of having business cards and passing them out to people. Fitting in with the bands image is very important. You have to be able to find the style of the band and understand them while being able to incorporate your personal style.
Perhaps out of all the advice Ashly graciously shared with us, the most important is “Do this because it’s something your actually genuinely passionate about.” It’s her belief that working in music is something you have to be committed to in order to do your job right.