True Life: I’m a Music Head.
This pandemic has been hard on us all, but seeing some of my favorite music artists finding ways to connect with us online has been ultimately refreshing.
Becoming closer to icons in music and entertainment thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook Live has been nothing but brilliant. While it never replaces the experience of a live show, there’s a uniquely intimate connection to an artist can still be made through online concerts and DJ sets. Local and national DJs have saved many from going further into disarray. T-Pain vs. Lil’ Jon took me back to the soundtrack of my high school and college years (the Crunk Era >). RZA vs. DJ Premier was a heavyweight battle of two of the most legendary producers in music. Same with Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, the originators of Verzuz.
So, if you were like me on Saturday evening, your eyes were probably glued to Instagram live for the much-anticipated battle with Teddy Riley and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Two of R&B’s best and most innovative songwriters/producers/singers going at it dropping
all-time baby-making anthems hit after hit after hit.
Instead, we got … well, a
dragging by Black Twitter postponed battle because of one too many technical difficulties on Teddy Riley’s end.
I glad that I didn’t get dolled up at home for this, because the results were enough to make Toni Braxton cry seven whole days on Twitter.
While embarrassing for both artists, that session was the most I’ve laughed on social media in a while largely because of the commentary from celebrities and non-celebs alike.
However, I would be lying if I didn’t have flashbacks of me screwing up big time before or during a gig in the past … or watch another artist go through the same struggle.
There’s a few lessons that can be learned from the music battle in regards to photography. Several, actually. The biggest lessons learned?
Practice: Practice? Practice? … Yes, we’re talking about practice today, man.
And by practice, I mean testing your stuff.
Test your camera before the show (or the shoot) goes on. Test the other equipment that you’ll be bringing with you. Take the time to test things before your shoot, and even practice the shot that you want to get. Plan and prepare how you will light a subject. Get to know your client(s) and what may work best for them and the vision you’re going for in your images. Know what locations and settings work best and what doesn’t. Do test images before you really get into the groove of shooting.
No matter how good you are, practice and testing until you get it as close to “good” as possible keeps you one step ahead of the game. Just ask Kobe.
Know The Craft: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “your top-of-the-line gear is useless if you don’t know how to use it.”
Well, it’s true. Having the best tool in the world doesn’t always make you the best creator with it if you’re not familiar with the basics of how to produce a good-to-great experience through an art form.
In this case, we’re replacing music with photography.
Oh, make sure your equipment is consistently updated, because babyyyy, if not, you’re in trouble.
Keep It Simple: “Doing the most delivers the least.”
We always had or currently have that one big grandiose idea that winds up being overly complicated to execute or understand.
Extra theatrics are fun. Simplicity is even better.
Having fancy equipment to impress is cool. Knowing how to use them is even better.
When all else fails, go back to the basics, which is probably far more impactful at the end of the day. If you already have a quality product that ain’t broke, why add on too much?
I respect Teddy for trying to put on a show, but Babyface’s minimalistic studio set-up felt far more impactful, especially after the fact.
Check Your Circle: Yes, sure, you have a bunch of friends and assistants in your corner that’ll gas you up every time.
But: if you don’t have that one assistant with you that is of big help during your shoot or that one friend that can help you grow in some aspect of your life (not just with technology), then you may want to evaluate that.
Don’t Lose It: Nothing will ever be perfect.
But when life gives you lemons, you have to learn how to make lemonade quickly. All while being
unbothered as calm as possible.
Easier said, than done, right?
When things go awry, like Teddy, you gotta breathe, pick yourself up, and eventually try again. Not having a semblance of being solutions-oriented makes everything harder.
Also, please don’t throw in the tile too quickly.