We first met Nicolita at a Community Center session that we hosted with Possi. From that point, we’ve seen her work harder than anyone else and selflessly share what she’s learned with her community. Not only is Nicolita a community advocate, but her client list has been booming recently, from Interscope Records, Rolling Loud, Red Bull Music, and Atlantic Records, she’s continuing to inspire and give back to her community wherever she goes.
As artists become more successful, you always hear people saying “They’re so lucky!” without realizing how much work goes into each little success. In a field like concert photography, there’s a lot of other people vying for the same opportunities. How have you carved your own path?
I've found that being available and consistent goes a long way. I shot over 100 shows my first year which helped me grow relationships with artist's teams. As much as people hate to admit it, luck does play a small role. The first four shows I ever shot were because people took a chance on me. It's wild what happens when you ask for things you're clearly not qualified for. From the beginning I've been really cognizant to follow through above and beyond what I say I'll do. I think that part of my character has stood out and helped me get jobs today.
Speaking of success—you mentioned on Twitter that you send a ton (nearly 100) of emails per week. Do you have any tips for budding photographers or creatives about acquiring work?
Personally, I think it's smart to have a body of work showcasing that you're capable of creating quality work. If you want to work with footwear brands, then make work focusing on shoes. My jobs come from word of mouth, but my industry specific connections come from emailing. I don't ask for jobs right away. My goal is to introduce myself and make people aware of my work. Awareness is key in the music industry, especially since there are photographers that have been doing this for years and I'm newer to the scene.
What have been the biggest challenges along the way and how have you overcome them?
One major challenge I've come across quite often is my gender. I've had security not let me in places I have credentials to be in, but watch my male counterparts get in with ease. Sometimes I'm the only woman in the pit. Security at the Showbox is my favorite. I built a relationship with most of them and they treat me so well. My main goal is to tour and it's really difficult for women to book touring gigs as a photographer. Although, I do know some incredibly talented women photographers who tour quite often, the industry is dominated by men. There have been several instances where I'm not even up for consideration simply because I'm a woman. Many different factors come into play, and I'm determined to not allow my gender get in the way of my goals. It is possible, but you have to be mindful that the right artist and opportunity will come. I'd rather wait to work with an artist that wants to work with me than fill a role.
It's been inspiring to see you generously use your platform to show off other photographers’ work while also providing free resources (tutorials, advice threads, etc) to your community. What is the importance of community to you?
I'm so incredibly grateful for the community that has formed around things I say on the Internet. I share information because somebody did the same for me and it literally changed my life. I found something I'm completely obsessed with and now I get to do it full-time. I never thought I'd be this happy in my entire life. So many people reach out to me now that it's impossible to take on 1-on-1 conversations (which is a crazy place to be in). Creating resources to educate allows me to help and connect with my entire audience. The questions I ask stem from conversations with other creatives or something I'm trying to learn/work out on my own. I don't ask questions unless I care, so I'm always engaged in the responses. Community is everything to me.
What's next for you?
I don't know. It's terrifying and exciting all at once. I have two main goals - go on tour and shoot in-house at more festivals. Working in-house consistently for Rolling Loud has empowered me to pitch myself more effectively to other festival teams. I'm starting to work directly with artists, labels, and management teams which is super fun. Haven't really ventured into making content for brands, but it's on my to-do list.