We had the good fortune of connecting with Charla Harvey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charla, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I decided to be a professional photographer because I have always loved photography and people! I realized this was a great way to combine these two loves. Being a photographer, I’ve met so many amazing people that I might not have been able to meet otherwise! I do not have the artistic talent to paint or draw, but I like to think the way I see people is an art, and I’m grateful to be able to capture that vision. I absolutely love doing self-love shoots for people, too. I get to co-create photos that allow clients to love themselves and their own beauty. Photography has also combined my love of music! I’m able to photograph shows while also getting to see to some of my favorite bands and discover new favorites. Photography has always been a hobby/passion of mine, so I turned it into a career!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Charla Harvey Photography is known primarily for music photography, but I also am proud to say I have done weddings (including my own mom’s!), engagement photos, pet photos, family portraits, senior/graduation portraits, dating profiles, events and parties (like a wonderful woman’s 90th birthday!), brewery anniversaries, product photography, professional head shots, festivals, even boudoir! I absolutely love co-creating with my clients to get the visions they want to create. I’m so grateful for how many different shoots I’ve been hired for. If I hadn’t done something before, I would just be upfront with clients. I’d say, “I haven’t done that yet, but if you trust me to try I would love to.” Photography is definitely a partnership between client and photographer (when there is a client, of course). I love that relational aspect. I also absolutely love when people come back and tell me how much they love this photo of them! People have recommended me to other people (which is my dream come true), so now I have photographed pretty much everything! I have even been commissioned to shoot dating profile pictures. I know might sound odd, but it really is an honor having someone trust me so much to do such a vulnerable shoot. One of my favorite compliments I’ve ever received is: “Charla- These are out of this world! Thank you so much for sharing them with us. You really captured the moment and the personalities of the band both collectively and individually. Very tasteful and well done, the mastery of your craft is evident and we are just grateful the lens was pointed in our direction. We will absolutely keep you in mind as a photographer for a future show and look forward to crossing paths again soon!” I genuinely try to capture the energy and I don’t treat any shoot like it’s “just a job.” I also truly try to understand what the client wants, and we make it a collaboration. It has definitely not been easy! First of all, in order to shoot a show, you have to receive permission. Sometimes, especially with bigger bands, the manager might not respond to you. Maybe they do, but it is one hour before the show and the show is two hours away, for example. That’s pretty far to travel to just to wait for confirmation. Also, sometimes the managers’ emails are nowhere to be found! You can’t ask for permission if there is no one to ask. I have messaged a lot of bands through Facebook, which actually works sometimes! Also, I am super short! So, sometimes the stage is very high up and my camera won’t always get the faces I want. Sometimes a monitor is in my way, though a taller person could just see above it. I joked all the time about renaming my business “View From the Bottom Photography.” Of course, sometimes I have technical difficulties. Sometimes, my camera isn’t working or the battery died even though I just charged it (though I always bring extra). When I was in Easter Island, I bought this huge SD card for the trip because I knew I was going to take a lot of pictures. I think it was supposed to hold at least 4,000 pictures. After I took 1,000 pictures, the SD card failed and erased all of the pictures! I took it to four different stores and no one could fix it. Also, when I really got started, I took on every opportunity that came my way! I had 8 shoots in one week one time! But I guess I forgot editing pictures takes a really long time, so then I was super backed up. To be fair, I’m still not very good at saying no to a shoot, but now I have a better idea of how long editing takes me. If I know I’m going to be pretty backed up, I always tell the client that and ask if they are okay with a wait before we confirm. Communication is key!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to Red Rocks (hopefully for a show, but at least to see it!), Estes Park, Gross Reservoir and Flagstaff, and go camping in Ouray. I’d take them to the Roost in Longmont for the best “totchos” and “bangin’ cauliflower.” I’d also take them to Quarters in Longmont for arcade games and pour your own drinks (beer, wine, seltzer on tap)! Visionquest in Boulder also has some super unique beers. I’d also take them to the Outback in Boulder for karaoke. We’d also go to McDevitt Taco Supply for amazing tacos, margaritas, and hopefully live music. We’d also go to Wonder Wonder for a fun photoshoot and then go to Denver for the amazing street art. There’s so much to do in Colorado, I don’t think one week is enough time!
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?
My dad was (and still is) very into cameras, so I got his hand-me-downs! Without him, I don’t know if I would have known I loved photography so much. I have been taking pictures since I learned which buttons to press (and that was a long time ago!!!). He has always encouraged me to take photos. He also gave me compliments and constructive criticism, and he has helped fuel my confidence to keep growing in my business! I am so grateful for him! I also want to thank MusicMarauders for helping me grow with concert photography! My first show I shot for MusicMarauders was Euforquestra, Mama Magnolia, and Whiskey Autumn at the Fox Theater in February 2018! They are all super talented, local bands. I started to shoot bigger shows and festivals over time. I definitely feel in my element when I get to take photos of incredible bands one after the next! I also have to give a shout out to Rachael McKinney, the mom-ager of Rainbow Kitten Surprise. She was my college roommate in North Carolina, and whenever RKS and her come to Colorado she always gets me a photo pass for their shows. They were the first big band I was able to shoot, and I learned so much!
Other: My personal Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/charla.harvey