Molly Lewis’ Graduation Concert


On the 24th of June, I was asked to document an important night for entertainer Molly Lewis. She had recently graduated college and had decided to throw a celebratory concert, inviting some of her friends and fellow performers to share the stage with her at Seattle’s awesome venue, The Triple Door. There is nothing I love more than documenting an event like this, and I was extremely excited to be asked.

Shooting a concert like this one, is akin to shooting a wedding. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, hugely important to the client, and there is definitely a pressure to deliver some memorable results. There is no do-over if you fail, but if you deliver good work, the client will be forever thankful. I brought an extra camera, so I could go back and forth between my favorite lenses without having to waste time switching. Missing some fantastic moment is easy when there are so many talented people together in one spot. Granted, most of the gold happens on stage, but there are always a few hidden diamonds behind the scenes as well. Those are the shots I live for!

Audience participation as Marian Call gets everyone to do the shark week! Click to see an animated gif version!
I arrived at the venue around 3.30pm, so I could cover all the last minute prep that goes into something like this. The band hastily rehearsing a few songs, harmonies being perfected, monitors being adjusted, jokes being made. Lots of ideas are still being thrown around at this point, and during downtime artists are candidly discussing their work and dreams – or passing time playing a game. The four and half hours between my arrival and official show start went by fast.

It was after 11pm when I left the venue, happy and exhausted, knowing I had at least another 10 hours of solid work, sorting and post-processing the images. I walked out on the streets of Seattle, caught a cab home and collapsed on the couch.

Below is a gallery of photos I took at the event. Of the 1,100 frames I shot before sorting away all the misfires, and frames badly out of focus (which happens a lot in such low light, and with people moving around), a grand total of 444 images survived the culling, were post-processed and sent off to a hopefully happy Molly Lewis.

I urge you to check out the performers present at the concert:

Photo Gallery

The NERDprov Shoot


The images presented with this post are from a recent photo shoot, featuring local improv comedy group – NERDprov. As you might guess, these guys focus their material around topics like Harry Potter, Superheroes and video games. They needed shots for their new site and promo material, and I was honored to come take them.

The photos were shot on location at The Market Theater, home of Unexpected Productions, right behind the gum wall by Seattle’s Pike Place Market. We used the main stage for group shots, and a smaller stage out front for solo portraits. I had a ton of fun. A bunch of comedians is not what you’d call a boring client, plus it’s not every day I get to take pictures of people in costume.

If you get the chance, you should go see NERDprov do their thing (check their site for upcoming shows). Also, if you’re the organizer of a con or other such nerdy event, NERDprov may be just the entertainment you’re looking for. Find more NERDprov on Facebook and Twitter.

More and more, I find myself photographing performers and artists. I have three more shoots lined up this week, and I couldn’t be happier for it. Not only is it fun, it’s also immensely inspiring to be around and watch other artists do their thing. The only downside, if you can call it that, is that they always leave me wanting to try what they’re doing at least once. Though I don’t know if I have the balls to do improv!

If you like my work, I am available for hire.

Too Many Artists are (Still) Not Promoting Themselves

This post was inspired by a post about a video series I worked on. For that project, I promoted six local poets and was shocked to see how few of them had any kind of online presence to go with the videos.

Unfortunately, artists of all types have a real problem promoting their own work. I talk to a lot of different artist as part of my work with Another Passion, but even as a kid, I saw the same pattern with my dad and some of his artist pals. There seems to be a mental block, preventing many creatives from promoting their work, or thinking of it as a product to sell.

With all the tools available online, there really is no excuse for not using at least one of them to get more eyeballs on your work.

Some turn up their noses at self promotion, claiming that a real artist won’t need to sell themselves because quality work will attract attention automagically. Nothing could be more wrong. No one is going to “discover” you, unless you put yourself out there to be discovered.

Then there are those who are simply overwhelmed, not knowing where to begin. That I can at least understand. The options are many and you can spend all your time fiddling here and there, not really accomplishing anything. Or you can lose yourself reading books, posts and articles, trying to figure out whether it’s better to take up tweeting or blogging, videos or podcasting, Google+ or Facebook — if you even get that far.

The answer is simple: pick something that suits your personality, stop procrastinating and use it! The thing is, they are all good tools if you use them consistently and well.

Choosing the right tools is a personal matter more than anything else. If you hate being in front of a camera, YouTube is not for you. If you are dyslexic, perhaps talking is better than writing. The point is, there are options for everyone.

Being overwhelmed by the choices is a matter of eliminating the ones you don’t like and making an executive decision. With a day of research, anyone can learn the differences between the available tools and decide on one or two to go with. Learn the ins and out of your chosen tools, the basics first, the details can come as you go. With someone guiding you, you can get started within a day.

You have to see self-promotion as part of the creation process, just like putting the milk back in the fridge is part of eating a bowl of corn flakes. It’s not the most fun part, but it’s necessary. It should never be an afterthought, or something you’ll do when you get around to it, maybe next weekend or when the kids are asleep. If you leave the milk out all day, chances are you’ll be eating dry cereal tomorrow morning.

It pains me to see so much wasted talent, so I have started taking on artists who need a helping hand. Right now, I’m helping my neighbor who’s a working musician with a degree, massive skills and a great personality. He is not computer illiterate either, just overwhelmed and somewhat easily distracted. I’m giving him weekly assignments along with encouragement to explore further. You can follow his efforts here.

I very much enjoy coaching artists, helping them build confidence, aim higher and get a wider reach. If you’re an artist struggling with self promotion, you are welcome to contact me.