Rebecca Britt embodies almost everything that could fall under the designation “commercial photographer.” She’s one of the big names in EDM concert photography, she excels in studio headshot portraiture, tackles architecture and has even mastered environmental portraiture. “Technically I started shooting when I was in high school as a photographer on the yearbook staff back before digital cameras were used. Fast forward ten years later, I was a newly divorced stay-at-home Mom and had experienced some pretty rough years. I had moved from city to city and really never had any sort of stability, or sense of home. I really had no direction in my life at that point and was in a sort of limbo as you could say.” Rebecca needed something to ground her and give her a career with focus. She needed support, and found it in her partner and online.
“My boyfriend (William) was a hobbyist photographer/videographer and had a Canon 5D MKII and really pushed me to pick up photography again, since he knew it was a hobby of mine in high school. He steered me in the right direction on where to find online tutorials and articles. My learning curve at first was pretty normal, but as soon as I joined the Fstoppers Facebook Group, I noticed that the quality of my work had dramatically improved in a short amount of time. I believe that the constructive criticism and support I received really gave me the confidence I needed to push myself forward.”
Rebecca might be best known for her EDM concert photography, where she has grown her influence steadily over the past few years. “I was dragged to my first EDM concert in September of 2011 and was given the opportunity to shoot in the pit just for fun. The concert was with Paul Van Dyk and while I wasn’t a huge fan of his music (trance just isn’t my cup of tea), I really enjoyed shooting the fans and the production that the concert offered. I started to immerse myself into that general genre of music (EDM or electronic dance music) and eventually I was made staff photographer for the promoter that brought down the largest shows in my area.”
“The reason I love shooting EDM, other than enjoying the music, is the stark difference between shooting a DJ and a rock band. With rock shows you’re typically stuck in the photo pit, and with DJs there’s usually more access depending on who you are shooting for.”
Rebecca knows what she’s shooting and why she’s shooting it. Understanding why you pick up the camera every day is a major step to excelling at it. “I don’t consider my photography art, at least not fine art. I like my photos to represent something whether it be a brand, place or an artist. When I shoot for my portfolio I always keep this in mind: ‘Is this something that so-and-so brand would hire me for?’ It helps me refine my craft, for sure, but I have no self-illusions that what I do is anything that could be considered fine art.” Rebecca also understand that though it’s not art in the traditional sense, it’s still the best job in the world. “I also don’t really see it as work either. I’ve had a crazy amount of jobs before picking up photography, everything from being a waitress, a car salesman, a travel clerk and telemarketer. Now that’s work to me. I’m not saying that I don’t put in all my effort into what I do, but I’ve always associated the word “work” as a negative thing in your life that you do because you need to support yourself, not because you truly want to.”
Along that line, following her passion has led to her recent success for what she loves. “Just a year ago I had no clue where I wanted to take my photography. I had just been laid off at an ad agency (the agency shut down), and was a bit lost in trying to re-build my freelance business. I started a Facebook group for EDM photographers (nothing had been created before and it blew my mind that no one thought of it before me). It took off pretty fast. Within weeks we had the best of the best of the industry in the group. This group has opened up so many doors for me personally. People in the industry have started to take notice that we as concert photographers are uniting and supporting one another. In short we’re a family. I’m currently working with two very respected companies in the industry to help artists, promoters and management to connect with concert photographers that specialize in the genre. We’re hoping that this doesn’t just help the photographers, but the industry as a whole and raise awareness about how concert photography should be properly credited and compensated.”
Rebecca’s Favorite Gear
Impact wireless triggers
Various Stripboxes and softboxes.
Fstoppers Flash Disc
Rebecca’s Advice to Emerging Photographers
“Don’t be afraid of criticism from the right people. Know the proper way of asking for it. General criticism from other photographers is great, but try to get constructive criticism from people that you think is worthy to judge your work. Embrace it, even if it’s harsh. It will drastically change your work for the better if you can take what you learned from it and utilize the information. Don’t be discouraged if you reach out to someone you admire and they don’t write back. The majority of the time they’re probably drowning in questions from other aspiring photographers such as yourself and simply don’t have the time to respond. It’s not personal.”
“Practice, practice, practice… experience trumps all. You can buy every tutorial, read every article or take every workshop in the market, but if you don’t practice and use what you’ve learned in your workflow, then you’re just wasting your money and time. Also, you don’t need the best top of the line equipment to learn on or to create stunning images. The most important piece of equipment that you can own is the piece that you carry with you at all times, and for me that’s my Apple iPhone 5s.”
Author’s note: I’ve known Rebecca Britt for several years and have watched her blossom as a photographer. She mentions tough love and the right support, and I watched her work her way through the harshest criticism all the way through the greatest of praises. Every success story has a wonderful journey worth sharing, and Rebecca’s story is no different. Seeing her growth firsthand puts the happiest of feelings in me, knowing there are few souls who deserve it as much as she does. Rebecca not only proved she belongs in the photography community, but to me has shown she can be a true leader. I could not be prouder of where Rebecca has come in such short time, and I can only think of the greatness she has yet to achieve in the years to come.
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