Creator Spotlight: Photographer Gina Joy

Creator Spotlight: Photographer Gina Joy

10 minute read

Time for the April edition of our Creator Spotlight and this time we're showcasing Vegas-based photographer Gina Joy. Read more about her story and how she got started below!

For those that don’t know you, how would you describe yourself? 

I am a Las Vegas based photographer and videographer who specializes in events, concerts, and festivals. As of recently, I have also started to delve into production and creative direction. I do a little bit of everything but I think, in short, I would describe myself as a music photographer. 

Talk to us about the beginnings of your career and how you got started. 

After college, I worked for a social media company where we offered live event coverage and photography for our clients. I was doing account management at the time but had received a DSLR camera as a Christmas gift and wanted to learn how to use it to do more creative work. I went to school for business marketing and had never taken a photography or film class before, so I was a bit nervous at the start of my photography journey. But I am so thankful for the internet and was able to learn a lot online. Once I started learning how to use my camera, I became really passionate about it and started taking photos of just about everything I could; portraits of my friends, buildings, casinos, club events, local bands and DJs in Vegas. The hobby slowly started turning into a career as I began getting my own clients. I went freelance and started working with a lot of music venues, nightclubs, and businesses in town which then led to me to working with artists and festival teams around the country. It all kind of snowballed from there!

Can you tell us about your earliest influences, and some of the people that inspire you today?

I have had so many influences growing up but since my photo/video career stemmed from watching tutorials online, some of the earliest influences when I started were Youtube creators like Casey Neistat, Peter McKinnon, and Sam Kolder. As someone who never went to film school, back in those days I looked up to them somewhat as my teachers. Their videos always inspired me to keep learning and creating.

Cache Bunny is one of my favorite video creators and a huge inspiration to me, not only through her incredible visual pieces but also her work with the creative community around the world. I have so many- but Blair B Brown, Get Tiny, and Jackie Lee Young are some of my biggest music photographer inspirations today. The way they can illustrate an artist, details, and emotion through a still photo makes me feel like I was there with them at the show. I feel very lucky to have met and call some of my biggest inspirations today my friends.

How has technology affected your career? Does anything in particular excite you about where technology's going right now?

The biggest change in technology I’ve seen is social media and smartphones. Being around to see the start and rise of all the different platforms has affected my work so much, especially in the event and festival scene. Since festivals are usually looking for the most content they can in the most real-time as possible, different media roles and demands have evolved so quickly. I’ve even had a handful of gigs in the last few years where I’ve been asked to create videos for events solely using just my phone.

Since festival creators like me are usually shooting and editing as quickly as we can while the event is still happening, I think the advancements in AI have been super helpful especially with the workflow of the editing process. The more I’ve been using these tools (like generative fill and audio enhancement) the more I am impressed. It can be a little intimidating at times but I am also excited to see what else comes out in the future. 

Can you tell us about a time having a data storage strategy prevented you from losing important work?

Last year, I was unfortunately one of the many victims of a failed 4TB SSD drive from another company who shall not be named. I used to live life on the edge and didn’t back up my drives until recently- DON’T BE LIKE ME! Now I have a system of backing up my SSD drives after every gig to an external hard drive that I keep at home. 

Can you tell us about how you utilize Glyph products in your workflow? (if applicable)

After my unfortunate experience with a previous drive, I purchased the 8TB Glyph Atom Pro SSD. I wanted the most storage with the smallest drive I could get and I believe at the time, it was the only 8TB SSD on the market. It has been amazing and I still use the same one! I love using it especially for my travel gigs because it is so fast and compact. After every completed gig, I back up everything to my drives at home to clean up my storage- that’s how I still use the same one to this day.

Can you walk us through a typical day of work?

During a typical work day for a festival gig, the media team usually has a call time early in the morning. We do a site walk, get our assignments, talk over deliverables with the marketing team, and grab breakfast. We then get our gear ready and head out to doors or when the festival opens and the attendees start coming in. I am then shooting and editing throughout the day until the festival ends; finding time in between the assigned sets to go back to the HQ and edit photos or videos that are priority for the festival to post in real-time. These kinds of music festivals are usually 2-3 days and after it ends, we usually have a week to edit and send over all of the content that we weren’t able to edit on site- this is one of the things I work on during the week when I am not shooting an event.

During a typical non-shoot work day, I am going down a list of to do’s. Since I run my business alone, I am usually emailing and scheduling gigs, sending and following up on invoices, planning and pitching ideas, working on logistics for my business (LLC, website, insurance), and editing. Every project and every week is different but that is something I love about being freelance.

How do you stay inspired and motivated creatively?

One of my favorite things to do, even before I was a music photographer, is to go to concerts. Hearing the songs you listen to in your room for hours being performed live in front of you with production and visuals is such a sublime experience. I always get so inspired to try to portray what I am hearing and feeling, visually.

I also love to watch movies and tv shows. And as of lately, a lot of music videos, animation, and foreign films. It’s so eye-opening to see what creators make all around the world.

Can you touch on some of your more recent career highlights?  What were some of the most gratifying moments of your career?

As a music photographer, I have a bucket list of clients and artists that I want to shoot in my lifetime. I was honored to be asked to shoot Coachella for the in-house team the last two years. This past year was especially memorable to me because I was able to shoot one of my dream artists for one of my dream clients. Another recent career highlight was exploring creative roles outside of photography. The last two years I was able to work with one of the best resorts in my city, Wynn Las Vegas, as a creative director and producer. I was able to build teams and work on projects with some of my closest creator friends to make pieces that were really new and unique to the casino industry.

One gratifying moment I look back on a lot is Electric Daisy Carnival 2018. The first music festival I attended was EDC back in 2009. I watched an artist named Kaskade for the first time from the crowd and was in complete awe of the show. After that set, he became my favorite DJ and I attended so many more of his shows for years, even before I got into photography. In 2018, 9 years later, I was asked by his team to shoot his headlining set on the main stage of the same exact festival. It was very special to me.

Can you tell us about a project that was particularly challenging? How did you overcome those obstacles?

One of the biggest projects I worked on was helping direct and produce a 30-person media team for a huge car show at Wynn called Concours d'Elegance. It was a massive media task including real-time photography, videography, livestream, drone, models, and interviews. It was overwhelming to see what had to be done in such a short amount of time but projects like these always remind me that being organized, designating tasks, and asking for help when you need it are all factors that help with success. Being a team player in any collaborative project is so incredibly important. 

What are three products you couldn’t work without?

My camera, laptop, and phone!

If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice when you were first starting out your career, what would you say?

Don’t be afraid. There were so many times when I first started my career where I was scared to create and put out work that I thought wasn’t good enough or too shy to introduce myself to people at gigs. It honestly probably put me behind a few years. People won’t know your work or know you even exist until you show them that you do. It wasn’t until I started posting my work and talking to my peers when things started happening for me. I started to book gigs straight from social media and also found a huge creative community where I met some of my closest friends.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Looking forward to seeing what you do next!

Go give Gina a follow on Instagram to follow her story, and stay tuned for more Creator Spotlight posts each month.

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