Welcome to a new episode of the OpenFrame podcast! Our guest is Michelle Grace Hunder, a music photographer who works closely with some of the most famous artists in the industry. She’s been touring with Ruel, also known as the “Australian Justin Bieber', since the beginning of his career.
Michelle, and our host Oli Sansom, talk about the importance of leaving your ego aside when working with clients, and practicing a collaborative approach. She also highlights the power of building genuine relationships that often translate into new clients.
Michelle does not have the classic story where she picked up a camera at five, learned photography from someone in her family, and always knew what she would do creatively. She started doing photography at 31, touring with big musical artists that taught her plenty of valuable lessons. The wisdom she shares in this episode goes beyond her niche and brings value no matter the kind of photography you do.
Listen to the entire episode with Michelle Grace Hunder, but here are a few highlights that make this conversation so invaluable:
- Many photographs are all about the vision of those who take them. When working with musicians, this kind of ego is useless. Everything is about the artist and the creative team that works for them. Therefore, their purpose is what matters most.
- You need to break down the pattern and embrace thoughtful collaboration. This implies leaving your style aside, and focusing on delivering and executing on a clear brief.
- Get familiar with the unknown. Especially in the music photography field, things can change in the blink of an eye. You need to be flexible, adjust, and move on. These skills are some of the most important that make clients turn back to you.
- Be open about your clients' ideas. Even if they seem off the rails, don't shy away from at least trying and experimenting. Good energy translates into incredible images, and you might be surprised by the results.
- Fostering authentic relationships is what makes people hire you. Learn how to put yourself out there to build valuable bonds. It’s an efficient way to get closer to those with similar values and interests.
- Beginnings come with an underlying expectation. Often, this means giving your time, energy, and skill for (almost) free. When people start coming to you instead of you asking for work — that’s the moment when you can start charging more.
You must learn to get out of your bubble and leave pride and ego aside. Find meaningful ways to connect with other photographers and grow together. Michelle has been learning a lot by working with international artists and bands, and one of the core takeaways is that it feels amazing to be part of something bigger. In the end, creativity lies in the point where ideas, skills and experience intersect.
Thank you to Michelle Grace Hunder for sharing her story and experience with us. We hope you found this episode helpful and insightful. You can follow Michelle on Instagram and see her full body of work on michellegracehunder.com. Also, check out her masterclass on how to become a professional music photographer.
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