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Smart & Lilly

Photography is everything to me. I can’t say it always has been but it certainly is now.

A couple of years ago I had just finished my journalism degree and I had decided that my chosen field was to be music related. I got to travel far and wide putting pieces together of famous artists including Sam Smith, Beverley Knight and pretty much anyone in the dance music scene. Each time I had to submit a piece it was requested that I also attached a photograph.

Without being able to afford to hire a professional photographer for every music performance I attended I decided that I need to learn to take half decent photos myself. I read a little online but nothing really taught me specifically how to capture good photos in that environment. This is where my journey with Smart begin…

Tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Lilly and I am a music journalist and gig photographer.

I spend the majority of my time in the UK but have spent the last couple of years traveling covering a number of different music events. Of course, photographer brain and camera in tow.

Tell us a little about your photography style..

Oooh that’s a good question. I am not exactly sure how to define my specific style however I can tell you how I approach each shot I take...

For me it’s all about portraying the emotion of an event. I use my camera to capture moments that I feel best represent that specific performance.

I can’t say I use the same style for every event because every gig is so different. It’s my job to find the best way to photograph that unique event.

When and why did you join Smart?

I joined Smart a couple of years ago. I knew a few of the founders already and they said they had been working on a new way of teaching the skills they had learnt during their time as photographers. You could say I was their guinae pig but I was certainly one lucky guinea pig.

The Smart course did so much more than just teach me photo fundamentals. It opened me up to a whole new world of inspiration.

When did you decide you wanted to learn photography?

It started with a need to take photos. I couldnt hire a professional and needed to learn my own skills so I could quickly pull out my camera and take a decent photo capable of succesfully accompanying my interviews. It was at this point that I started on my photography journey and I am now fascinated by all kinds of photography not just music photography.

What did you like most about the platform?

Tough question because there was so many parts of the course that really helped me.

I am going to say that the course itself was the best thing about the platform. It’s detailed, in depth and easy to follow. It took me through the different parts of a camera to learning specific skills for different areas of photography. Without this I wouldnt be where I am now with my photographic ability.

What course feature did you use the most?

Mentoring. I am pretty sure everyone says that but for me, if I didnt understand a specific point or wanted to relate it to music photography I just pulled up the support page, sent me question and received a response very quickly. This made the process a little easier as I was able to grasp different photography concepts quicker than I would be able to without the support.

Do you think Smart helped improve your photography ability?

Without doubt. My photography ability was very very limited before Smart however now I can confidently pull out my camera and take photos that I am personally proud of. I get a lot of feedback from artists saying how much they love my shots.

I can say I am now the proud owner of several high profile, profile pictures haha. Getting to see such well esteemed artists using my images really is awesome. I am not ashamed to say I love it haha.

Would you recommend Smart to other budding photographers?

Without question. Smart is a brilliant platform for beginner photographers right through to professionals. When I joined I literally knew nothing about photography but today I can say that I love the images I am able to take. Whether you want to take photos of your vacation, capture friends and family having fun or are more serious trying to start your own career Smart is definitely the best place to start!

Where do you find your photography inspiration?

I find my photography inspiration in the people I photograph. Every one of my subjects has a different story and they inspire me to keep doing what I now love. Photographing their emotions.

I traditionally start taking photos around the 3rd song of the performance, its at this point that I start to real feel the artist and in my opinion, its when I get the best photos. When I come to edit the image, Smart was also able to help me here by the way, this is when I really feel inspired. Getting to see the raw emotion of my shots really drives me forward, inspiring me each and every time.

If you had one tip for beginner photographers what would it be?

Learn. Well more importantly never stop learning. Without Smart I wouldnt be where I am. I set out to learn photography because I needed to but now I see that you should never stop learning and never stop pushing yourself. Learning new skills is fun and will help push you further, empowering you.

Where do you see your photography career taking you?

I am pretty happy where I am really. I love the travel and getting to watch music all week long. Taking photos of the shows is just the cherry on the top.

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