I made my break into paid event photography gigs during my first Comic Con experience. I had just moved away from home, experienced a few months living in San Diego, and only decided to go to Comic Con with my best friend many months after the tickets went on sale. We only purchased tickets for Friday’s festivities. So while this feature isn’t necessarily about a specific celebrity, this is certainly a tribute to how networking got me started.
Long story short, a photographer’s strongest asset should be their ability to network with others. There’s a misconception out there that photographers are introverts that hide behind their cameras, and that’s true depending on what your strengths and interests are as a photographer. That day a good friend of mine was able to connect me with Adult Swim’s marketing group, who then asked to view my photos–then invited me to come back for the rest of the weekend.
That’s when I got to meet Dana Snyder and Dave Willis, two of the voice actors behind Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Venture Brothers, Squidbillies, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and more. The entire experience was much more involved compared to the Sun God event that started me into music. I immediately knew this was the environment I thrived in.
Here I had more freedoms, more access, and a wider variety of decisions to make. I got to learn first hand how many variables one must consider when photographing events on the fly. It was essentially a crash course in ISO, shutter speed, aperture, distances, and lighting.
Many of the things I were tasked to focus on were the Adult Swim ice-cream trucks, the fans, and the talent. That weekend I took a couple thousand photos, I got to practice my candid techniques as well as pose people for portraits. I got to hang out of a moving vehicle for photos and had the “recognition” among fans to solicit them for great photos. I’m not the kind of person to take my camera with me everywhere, I know a lot of photographers love taking pictures of everything, everyday. A lot of my practice happens on the day of whatever I’m shooting.
My role that year ended after our outdoor-evening-dance-party-ice-cream-giveaway. DJ Kid Koala spun on the ice cream truck last minute while we were parked on the corner of a public parking lot. As fans were leaving the convention center for the evening, Adult Swim decided they’d gather up and dance while the fans got the rest of the free Ben & Jerrys stock we had. It was definitely memorable and only opened doors for me from that point on. I made great friends and took great photos.
Adult Swim ended up sending me a thank you gift a couple days later.