Littlek Interview - Addicted & Utterly In Love

After finding out Littlek agreed to be interviewed I have to admit I did fan boy a little! Hailing from Perth, Australia, Chels AKA Littlek is one of the leading music photographers in Australia! Littlek is behind some of the iconic shots of JOY, Alison Wonderland, Allday, and many more musicians! Meet the master behind the lens, and gain insight to the world of music photography!

Futuremag: Tell me about your role in the industry?

Littlek: My role in the music industry is as a live music photographer and creative. I work with record labels and managements and provide them with photographs, both on stage and off stage of their clients.

When I was around 15 or 16 years old I went to my first ever festival with some mates, and I manage to smuggle in my small DSLR. I wanted to bring my DSLR, purely so I could take photos of my friends. This was something I had been doing for awhile. I was always the photo friend in the group. Overall, I wasn’t enjoying the festival much. I just felt like there was something missing, like I didn’t have a purpose to be there. But I smiled and pretended I liked it, because well, I didn’t know any better. However, as I followed my mates into the middle of the mosh I had this over whelming connection to the energy that was coming from the stage. It felt as if, I just needed to get as close as possible to the stage. There was something quite magical about it. It sounds lame af but I’ll never forget that feeling, as it’s a feeling I still get when I shoot musicians today. So little 5’3 me, was feeling this weird feeling, and I couldn’t see anything as everyone towered above me in the mosh, blocking any chance of a view. So, up went my camera, hands stretched straight up. I started snapping photos and that was it, hook, line and sinker. I was addicted and I fell totally and utterly in love with capturing musicians.

After attending my first festival, I decided that this is what I was going to do. I started researching other photographers and my dreams started getting bigger and bigger. While in High School, I volunteered at underage festivals and pretty much anywhere that would let me in with my camera. After I turned 18, it started to get serious because I could actually get into clubs and proper events. I was, and kind of still am relentless about finding my opportunities. I knew that nothing would ever just fall into my lap and that I had to work my butt off for it if I wanted it. I would send out hundreds of emails to everyone and anyone, trying to get accreditation and/or permission to shoot. It was slow to start with however slowly but surely I started to gain trust and respect by festivals and events and I started shooting regularly. Entering the industry was not easy at all. I was knocked back many, many times before people started to even consider giving me a chance. Luckily, not sure if it was due to my persistent emails or luck, the ball did start rolling. I’ve been so bloody fortunate to have been given opportunities by people who could have easily said no to me.   

Futuremag: What is in your equipment bag?

Littlek: I usually change what’s in my bag according to what event I’m shooting but here’s a full list!  

·      Canon 650D w/ 18mm-200mm lens and speedlite flash

·      Canon 6D w/ 50mm 1.8f lens

·      Canon 7D w/ 10-20mm lens

·      Fuijifilm mini instant camera

·      Fujifilm wide instant camera

·      Fujifilm film in both mini and wide size

·      Lens wipes

·      Extra batteries

·      Extra SD cards

·      Chargers for all my equipment

·      Iphone cord and portable charger

·      Spare lanyard strap

·      Lipbalm

·      Gum

·      Pain killers

·      Band aids

Futuremag: Do you have a favourite piece of equipment? 

Littlek: Ever since I brought my 50mm 1.8f, I have been obsessed with it. There is a very, very good reason why they call it a nifty fifty. It is my favourite lens by far, I know there are many other good lens’s on the market, however as a uni student, my 50mm does the job just fine for now. I also LOVE my instant cameras. It’s really nice to give photos in instant form to people, it’s something that people really cherish and it just makes me feel good to give a little something back to the people who put faith in me.

Futuremag: What aspects/factors do you look for and/or create to capture the ideal music photo?

Littlek: For me, my favourite moment to capture is that moment when an artist pauses, lowers their microphone and just smiles that the crowd. That’s really special, because I know how much hard work, blood, sweat and tears go into making your dreams a reality. I always, without fail try to get this moment because it’s just so special to the person I’m shooting for. The other thing I love to capture is movement, whether it’s an artist jumping or flicking their hair, it’s just so awesome to be able to stop time in a photo. I feel as if movement makes a photo so much more than a 2D image, and it makes you feel like you’re right there.

Futuremag: Do you use any editing programs to enhance your photos?

Littlek: Yes! I use and love Adobe Lightroom, it organises your photos and is relatively simple to use and edit with. Ultimately, I try to photograph as accurately as I can so I don’t have to edit too much, however with this said I like to be able to give my photos a personal touch.

Futuremag: What is your most favourite shoot so far?

Littlek: I always get asked this question, and I always try to think really hard and pick one but then end up rattling off everything I’ve ever done! I can’t pin point one shoot in particular because everything and everyone I’ve worked for is so completely different to each other. I’ll always have huge love for Alison Wonderland and her team for being the first people to ever really believe in me. And I’ll always have big love for Allday and his team for being another artist who has seen me, and given me the chance to grow into the photographer I am now. And I’ll always be forever grateful for the team at Cattleyard Promotions, who saw more in me than I saw in myself and gave me the opportunity to tour with Groovin’ the Moo earlier this year. I have so many people who have been so bloody good to me, so I don’t think I would ever be able to pick a favourite.

Futuremag: Short term, how do you see the next 12 months panning out?

Littlek: In the next 12 months, I’ll be (fingers crossed I don’t get distracted and go travelling again) half way through my last semester of university. At the moment, I’m in full on nerd mode, working hard to complete my Bachelor of Arts, so that I can then do my Masters in Teaching and be ready and completed with my education. This is so important to me. Photography wise, I don’t set myself really specific goals. As long as I’m doing a little better than the previous year, I know I’m on the right track.

Futuremag: Long term, where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Littlek: I’ll be 31 in ten years and who knows what I’ll be doing. I very much doubt I’ll ever up somewhere that isn’t creative. I would love to be a High School Visual Arts teacher one day, that’s why I’m working so hard at university to make sure this is a possibility one day for me. But I would also like to be travelling with the world, with my camera and an awesome, talented and deserving artist. Or maybe I’ll have kids, or not. Who knows, everything changes so quickly. I’m just happy to be in moment and doing what I love right now.

Futuremag: What are your passions outside of photography?

Littlek: I love to teach. During the week, I work as a Swimming Instructor and I teach little kids how to swim and be water safe. I’ve done this for three years and it’s a great job to have in between my photo jobs. The kids I teach with are amazing, and I never finish a shift in a bad mood because they’re just such happy kids which such a desire to learn, well most of them! The swim school I work at, The Swim Factory are really supportive of my photography and for that I’m so lucky. I also equally love to draw, I don’t draw as much as I did in High School but when I do get a chance it’s one of my favourite things to do.

Futuremag: Could you see yourself exiting photography and moving into another field?

Littlek: Nah, photography will always be with me. It’s in my blood and it’s in my heart. My camera is like an extra arm to me. I still have so much to learn, and I doubt I’ll ever fall out of love with capturing moments. I will probably end up as a high school teacher one day. 

Futuremag: What tips, and wisdom would you recommend to those wanting to enter the music industry, especially in photography?

Littlek:

·      If people say no, find people that will say yes.

·      Trust in yourself, believe in what you want to achieve and don’t stop at anything.

·      Never think you know it all, there is ALWAYS something you can learn.

·      Listen when people talk to you.

·      Always choose what you heart desires, even if it means missing out on something else. It won’t feel like you’re missing out when you’re finally living your dreams as your reality.

·      Be kind to others.

·      And lastly but not least… always wear black.