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Meet Nicolette Cunningham of Concert Updater in West LA (Brentwood)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicolette Cunningham.

Nicolette, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As a budding, young photographer straight out of film school I wanted to cover live events. However, with most things, the big questions was “how?” I reached out to a few publications and all were uninterested in working with a new photographer with zero live event coverage… After hearing quite a few no’s I decided to create my own yes. In September 2015, Concert Updater was born as an online publication for photographers to publish their work. As we’ve grown throughout the years so has our talented group of photographers/artists (I’m more of a publicist/editor now) and I help budding and experienced photographers around the country and some in the UK!

Now we have over 40+ photographers in multiple cities and states (many of them being in Los Angeles and San Diego). My main goal is to always give someone a chance. I try to help everyone even if they haven’t covered a show before, they’ve got to start somewhere. I love watching my photographers and grow and become better artists and understanding the industry they’re in. I also act a “back up” for my photographers, should they ever need anything with management, contracts, selling prints, etc., I am here for them as much as possible.

Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely not. The first two years were really rough, finding photographers willing to work with a publication with only my own personal work was difficult, but luckily I made friends with photographers at events and it started to work from there. I have five “lead photographers” who have been with me the longest and/or contribute and cover events the most consistently so having them is very helpful.

It’s the hardest right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, because (obviously) everything is closed. And concerts/events are sure to be the last to “return to normal.”

Concert Updater mainly covers live events. I do have a few writers (one in CA and another in TN) that cover some shows and/or review singles/albums, but that’s rare. We do a few interviews here and there but photographers aren’t always writers and I don’t want to limit their creativity with photos so I let my photographers do what they feel comfortable with. That being said, there isn’t a lot we can do to cover new singles, albums, interviews, etc. during this pandemic to provide content… so we’re sort of just waiting…

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I started off as the lead photographer but now I’m the “PR liaison” and editor for the company. I secure the photo passes/tickets for events and publish/edit the galleries. I am the main point of contact for all PR reps.

As a company, I’m proud that we are accepting of everyone from everywhere and all levels of experience. There’s nothing worse than trying to do something you love and having people ignore you. I want to help people, I have experience working in this industry and I want to share it. We grow together. Concert Updater isn’t selective.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Definitely but also, no at the same time! LA is very difficult because everyone and their iPhones are photographers, so it’s a bit hard to weed through especially when applying for press credentials. LA is very much who know, not what you know. BUT we don’t let that stop us, we are a smaller publication but we’ve still covered some awesome events and I’m always proud of the content we create.

And yes, if you’re just starting out I’d/we’d love to help. We’re a great community of creatives. I feel like LA (and many other cities) needs to be more open-minded to other talents. Just because someone is incredibly gifted, it does not take away from the talent you possess. We can co-exist and co-create.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All concert images are taken by me when I covered events for Concert Updater (past three-four years).

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