Weekend nights at Johnny’s West Sports Bar and Grill, local country band Ruby and the Gents is playing. Under the yellow lights and just off the small stage, senior Gabby Reed is snapping photos, a usual gig for her.
“I really love doing music,” Reed said. “I love taking pictures of people singing or playing instruments. It’s just so fun.”
Reed started in January, as a photographer for local bands and individual artists. Working as an independent photographer is the most recent development in her career. Since taking photojournalism her sophomore year she’s practiced her skills at festivals, hiking trails, and race tracks among other pet projects.
“Everybody starts small, it’s not a very cheap hobby so it’s okay if you don’t have the most incredible equipment right away, just make what you have work,” Reed said. “The biggest thing is believe in yourself and appreciate other people’s work but don’t let their incredible work make you feel like you’re not capable of producing work like that too.”
For Reed, photography started as a passionate hobby. One she pours all her time and effort into.
“I love going to shoot and having a vision in my head and then getting more than what I expected,” Reed said. “Then going home and staying up ‘til 3 a.m. going through all my photos and thinking ‘I’m in love with these’. It makes me proud of myself.”
She shares and promotes her work through social media, as well as on her website.
“It makes me really happy when I see [the pictures] knowing that’s my friend,” close friend and supporter junior Kailey Cripps said. “She takes it very seriously. I admire how she’s passionate, she takes her time and doesn’t half-way do it. She is 100 percent devoted to her work and very motivated.”
As a freelance photographer, Reed is able to take advantage of the lack of limits placed on her. Doing what she loves, she’s able to work independently.
“Because I’m doing my own work, on my own time it gives me the kind of freedom to play around with the tools I have and do whatever I want with my photos,” said Reed.
Client Ashley Haynes is the lead singer of Ruby and the Gents. She’s recommended Reed’s work to other performers in the area.
“I think she has excellent work ethic because she stays really focused on it and doesn’t get sidetracked with trying to party or hanging out with people,” Haynes said. “She’s really really dedicated to doing the job well. You can tell she has a natural talent for it and it gets better all the time.”
Reed hopes to expand her business by doing bigger shoots, building her website and continuing doing what she loves.
“I think it’s incredible,” Reed said. “I really do enjoy it and a lot of the photos I’ve taken I’m super duper proud of. Not a lot of people get the opportunities I’ve had, so I’m very fortunate.”