Meet Nadia Achilles | LADIES WITH LANYARDS

Ladies with Lanyards is a blog post I published a while ago that put a spotlight on some of the most talented music photographers in Australia. That blog post had such a good response so I decided I wanted to dive deeper into this and interview these creatives! So, I'd like you to meet fellow music photographer, Nadia Achilles...

My name is: Nadia Achilles aka NJAPhotography
I am based in: Gold Coast/Brisbane

I started shooting live music because:
I was hooked on the feeling of seeing live music since my very first concert at age 14. I loved being on the barrier and just the energy between the band and the punters. I started buying music mags and started noticing all the by lines on the photographs and thought oh my god, people actually do this for a job! That was it, from age 15 I wanted to be a live music photographer. 

My favourite gig I’ve ever photographed was:
I looooove shooting Big Sound. I try and get to as many bands as I can each night and I love discovering new acts I love, it’s also really exciting to see their careers take off over the next couple of years. The other aspect of big sound is there are just artists everywhere walking around causally and it’s a really nice chill vibe. It’s also really challenging as all the different venues have different set ups i.e. lighting and access so you have to be on your game. 

The hardest / worst gig I’ve ever photographed was:
 I shot Holy Holy at a small dark venue on the Gold Coast not long after their first album came out. The venue is known as the place for the kids to hang out so I don’t think many were there for the band explicitly. I got there before the support act started and spoke to a few punters there but I could tell they were on substances. There was no stage or pit just a roped off section. The roof was really low and the lighting was non existent so I was waiting at the rope for the band to come out and I’d been there for a while so I didn’t have to squeeze past anyone to get my spot. As it got closer to the start more and more people were building behind me. By the time the band started it was packed but the punters were really rude and disrespectful, I was the only photog there, they were putting their hands in front of my camera and bumping me and pushing me. At some point I bumped my f stop up to 3.2 without noticing so my photos were almost unusable after all that too. Needless to say I won’t be going back there again. 

My photography style can be described in the following 3 words:
Sharp, colourful, frozen

My advice to young women looking to join the music industry as a live music photographer is: 
If it's your dream then get it! Don't undervalue yourself. Your time is worth as much as the next person. Be nice and courteous to others. Keep learning. 

If I could tell my younger self anything it would be: 
You CAN do it! The best advice I’ve ever been given is: I was at my second or third ever gig and I met Steph Siipola who was also shooting. She basically told me the magic three settings I should be using and that was it for me, ever since then I’ve been learning and practicing and more confident with every shoot. Basically gave me the confidence to have control over my camera and know what the outcome was going to be. Thanks Steph! 

The hardest thing about being a live music photographer is:
Having to have a day job to support your live music photography and hence having to choose between going to gigs and editing til 2 in the morning and sleep!

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt as a music photographer is:
I was so nervous and anxious at the beginning - it was my dream and I was so afraid of getting it. So I am currently learning to just go for it. Just do it. You’ll never be worse off than having done nothing. 

My favourite live music photographers are:
Peter Dovgan, Tao Jones oh it’s so hard to choose! All the lovely ladies... and all the togs I follow in general, there’s probably something I have learnt from all of their photos. 

My goals as a live music photographer are: 
Nail it! Hehe just have fun, enjoy the music and try different things. 

I also:
I am actually an electrician, but have studied over the years and now do project management - I actually think it’s fun, sometimes! Other hobbies are growing food, making food, eating food, beer and wine, nature, landscape photography and I’ve just discovered a love for sports photography. 

Excluding camera equipment, in my camera bag you will also find: 
Earplugs, some business cards, depending if I’m at a gig or a festival; at festivals, there’ll be lip balm, sunnies and a hat somewhere attached 

I shoot with: Nikon D750 

Until next time,
Chels x

Instagram- @littlek
Twitter- @littleksnap


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