We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicolita Bradley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicolita, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Balancing work and life in the creative realm of the music industry is really difficult. Personally, I’ve found the more available you are the more likely you’ll be reached out to for gigs. This becomes extremely taxing very quickly because you somehow end up working a lot and don’t learn how to navigate saying no. When I first started out, my work life balance was non-existent. I poured every ounce of free time into shooting shows. While I don’t recommend this at all, it helped me get to the place I’m at now in my career. At a certain point the time/energy exchange stops being worth it. Once the adrenaline and excitement of shooting shows started to dim a bit I knew it was time to make adjustments. Now I pour energy into gigs that I’m stoked on. Shooting shows and festivals brings me an overwhelming amount of joy. I’m incredibly protective of that energy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started shooting shows in October of 2017. After listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos 3x over I knew it was my time to email for a photo pass. I would send off a pdf of my portrait work, which looking back just showed how inexperienced I truly was. Surprisingly teams gave me a shot and I ended up shooting for four different artists (Billie Eilish, RL Grime, LEON, Bad Suns) four nights in a row. I was hooked halfway into the first show. I used those photos to pitch myself to publications so I could build up my portfolio more. It’s way easier to get into shows/festivals when you have a publication backing you. After that I worked assignments for publications and built up connections through the access I was granted. Other creatives in the music industry helped me learn a lot while I was still starting out. They taught me how to finesse during festivals, which led to opportunities working for artists who didn’t have a photographer with them at the time. I think I’m most proud of the risks I take when trying to get gigs or festival passes. It’s against my nature but I push through anyways because of how passionate I am about photographing performances. I try to set myself apart from others in my industry by how I present my work. I geek out when somebody tells me my work has a specific style that they recognize.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I live in Seattle so if I got to spend a whole day with my best friend the first thing we would have to do is pick up some coffee. Once we have that we can truly start our day. First stop would be to take a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel. It’s fairly new and I haven’t been on it yet. Next we would take a stroll through Pike Place Market. There are a lot of yummy fruit stands and cute trinket shops. After that we would take a walk to see the gum wall and add to the art, of course. Since it’s close by I’d love to visit the Seattle Art Museum and see whichever exhibit is up at the moment. A classic quick late night dinner at Dick’s, desert at Molly Moon’s, and catch a laser light show at the Pacific Science Center to wrap everything up. There’s a lot to do in Seattle!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I 100% would not be where I’m at in this industry if it wasn’t for the incredible women that paved an easier path for me. My dear friend Beth (@baeth) gave me an opportunity that really pushed my career to the next level. Besides being a badass, she constantly inspires me by adapting to new challenges and soaring beyond expectations.