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Meet Jeff Lovin of 130Down Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Lovin.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I got into photography because I am a scuba diver. I wanted to capture what I was seeing underwater, so I learned how to shoot underwater. I started with a simple point and shoot camera in a small housing. Then I kept upgrading my equipment to where I felt I could take photos that I was proud of. Years later, my friend’s band was playing at a local venue and I asked if I could shoot his set. After that night, I was hooked, I instantly knew I loved shooting live music. Which lead me to shoot band promo shots, other live events (like Jiu Jitsu tournaments), family portraits and I’ve shot a few weddings as well. But live music is where my true passion is.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has been long. There was a huge learning curve to shoot underwater and once I got that down, I moved to live music which was another huge learning curving. But I believe all the years shooting underwater trained me to shoot live music. There is a lot going on all around you and you can’t control it, Nothing sits still. The lighting is usually really bad and the musicians, like the fish, are unpredictable. You never know what they are going to do next or when they are going to do it. You just have to be ready and use your instincts on what you think will be a good shot. The hardest part of the road to Concert Photography was shooting for free at 12am on a Wednesday night, then driving an hour home and having to work my day job the next day. But I loved it and I did it as much as I could. I would sometimes be in Hollywood/LA area 2 or 3 nights a week every week. Just to get in my reps, practice and find out what works and what doesn’t. And making contacts and becoming friends with the bands as much as I could.

130Down Photography – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I would say I specialize in capturing candid moments. Even though I do shoot posed headshots and family portraits, I am happiest and most in my element when I am just shooting what is happening around me, and representing the best I can of the mood of the moment. The biggest compliment I get from any band is when they tell me that I captured their emotion and energy on the stage perfectly. My main goal is to best represent what these local musicians have worked so hard at. They are out there pouring their hears into their music. I just want to do them justice the best I can.

I would say I am most proud of the diversity of what I shoot and the different styles I use. Everything from street photography in Kathmandu Nepal, to Great Whites at Guadeloupe Island Mexico, to Jane’s Addiction at KAABOO Music Festival.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me, is when a client tells me I perfectly captured what they were feeling at that exact moment. I do not care about “likes” or “followers”, if my photos spark an emotion and take you to a place that you were not before, then that is a successful photograph. To me, a photograph should tell you a story, it may be just a part of a story or the whole story all in one shot. If you can recall the detail and emotion in a photograph, hours or days later after seeing it, then that is the biggest success to me.

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