Summary of Experience
My semester interning at Def Jam Recordings in Manhattan was an opportunity of a life time and an incredible learning experience. From learning about the music industry itself, to various methods of content creation and the process it takes from start to finish in a corporate setting.
I had many amazing opportunities to capture Def Jam artists in various formats. Though day-to-day I would be mostly editing video content, I often would be assigned to shoot photo at concerts and other events at night. My very first day in the office ended at nearly midnight at Chelsea Music Hall where a Def Jam showcase featured 2 emerging artists. Not only my technical knowledge of photo and video improved these past three months. Working in a corporate environment as a creator being directed at most times helped improve my communication skills. Everyday there was constant communication throughout the content team as well as with other departments. This created an emphasis on the importance of proper and effective communication over email, but more importantly, face to face.
My biggest significant accomplishment in my eyes was being trusted by not only my department, but by executives and other departments to represent the label and capture an array of Def Jam events and artists. My first week I was assigned to shoot for DaniLeigh. Being the only one from the label in the building, it was important to me that I represented them well. Barely a month into my internship I was trusted with being the main photographer at their “Night Market” 35th anniversary celebration. Being responsible to capture everything from brand installations by Puma, Heineken and others to the various VIP’s as well as a live performance was an honor. In terms of importance, it was my biggest gig to date. These and other high profile events forced me to be great. I achieved this goal by constantly putting myself out there and taking initiative. If I didn’t speak up and ask for access to the DaniLeigh show among others, I likely wouldn’t have been awarded the opportunity. Through this, I have a greater appreciation for speaking up for the things you want and not sitting back and hoping an opportunity comes your way.
My internship this semester certainly had an influence on my future goals and growth as a professional. What I didn’t realize walking in on the first day is that photographers don’t have a full-time place at a record label. Even videographers too. Though there is a content team, a lot of the professional work is contracted out, especially photo. If I decide to continue in the music industry full-time I think I could be capable of roles in digital, marketing, and even A&R or management. But if I want to continue to be a music photographer full-time, I’d try to do so either directly with an artist or a music specific media outlet. This working knowledge has given me a new sense of direction as a creator as well as the other areas I excel in.