Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inspiring Nights: Part 1

Sometimes you get what you ask for, sometimes you don't. Other times you get more, even though it may be different from what you expected.

I had been in kind of a slump for a while now. Lots of "things" have been getting in my way and my day-to-day was getting unbearably frustrating. I continued doing what I had to do but it was really starting to wear me down. Then one day a couple of weeks ago, I was posting to my Twitter account via HootSuite when I noticed a search column I had set up a while back had something interesting in it. HootSuite is my third-party program of choice for managing my social networking updates, and one of the great features is that you can have permanent search results in their own column that refresh constantly. I had set up a search for the terms "need" and "photographer" about 6 or 7 months ago when I first found out about the site/program. All along, the only thing I'd ever found were people looking for photographers, but with no budget to actually pay for services. The few times anything even halfway promising would appear, it would always fall through at some point.

This time, though, it was different. I had no idea at first, but the person looking for a photographer was an employee at In De Goot Entertainment. I only found that out after they responded with their email address so we could talk over details of what they needed. In De Goot manages a bunch of bands that I really love, but most importantly, Shinedown. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a HUGE Shinedown fan;, their music really has meant a lot to me over the years. Needless to say, I was more than happy to help with whatever they needed.

Two days later, I found myself at a private rooftop party for In De Goot, surrounded by dozens of very important people in the music industry. There were reps from HBO, MTV, VH1, Myspace Music, the list goes on. I even got to grab a photo of Brent Smith of Shinedown with his lady, since he was attending the party as well. The party was to celebrate In De Goot's band American Fangs, who just started up a major North American tour.

I was just there as a photographer, grabbing candids of people drinking, eating, chatting, having a fun time; I was also one of 3 photographers that were snapping portraits of people in front of the step-and-repeat wall. I stopped to look around and really take it in every few moments, and realized that this is what could have been if Paragon Magazine had really taken off. It really gave me the boost of inspiration I needed to pull myself up by my bootstraps and go back at it with full-force. The site is going to be redesigned, we're going after content with more vigor, and we're going to try to get it back up to and beyond where it used to be.

After the party, I made sure to get my photos out to my contact immediately. I knew stuff like this would be time-sensitive. The next morning, I got over 200 hits to my web gallery because the link went out to everyone that was invited, as well as posted and re-posted all over Facebook and Twitter. Lots of great comments on the photos, and Brent Smith of Shinedown even posted that he attended the party and the photo he used of himself was one that I shot, and had my watermark on it. Talk about social media and viral marketing!

Will it get me a ton of new jobs? Maybe, maybe not, but I'm happy that I got as much exposure as I did, and of course I'm delighted that my client enjoyed the photos enough to share them immediately the next day.

Sometimes you just have to stick things out and hope for the best. I had already given up on the idea that Twitter would ever find me anything redeeming, but when I least expected it, a great opportunity came my way. This one chance that I was given made up for the hundreds of tweets that went unnoticed and all the people that ignored me even when I was sometimes the only photographer to respond to their posts.

Oh and on top of that, I got to photograph American Fangs performing that night. The shots came out pretty cool, the band liked them, and now we stay in touch via Twitter. I'll be shooting them again when they play NYC or NJ again down the road

If you want to see some of the photos, you can check them out in this gallery.

This is part one, I've already got a part two for this post. But most importantly, I want to know what inspires you? Is it photography? Videos? Painting? Nature? Music? Struggle? Maybe you're inspired by colors around you, or certain sounds? Do your pets seem to telepathically lead you towards different moods or thoughts? Sounds like crazy talk, but I've noticed over the course of the last year that inspiration can come from lots of different places. We all think we can put our finger on the big influences, and most of them would be correct, but sometimes it hits you clear out of nowhere. So what does it for you? Let's make a discussion out of this.

More soon.

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