What is it Like to be an….Event Photographer?

Even in the midst of a recession, talented photographers can find a way to make a living doing what they love. And it’s not all weddings and senior portraits. In this series, editorial intern Carolina Hidalgo talks to several professional photographers about how they landed their dream jobs. First up: Event Photography. Jipsy Castillo, a Miami-based photographer originally from NYC, specializes in event photography. About five years ago, she launched NefariousGirl.com to showcase her nightlife p

Even in the midst of a recession, talented photographers can find a way to make a living doing what they love. And it’s not all weddings and senior portraits. In this series, editorial intern Carolina Hidalgo talks to several professional photographers about how they landed their dream jobs. First up: Event Photography.

Jipsy Castillo, a Miami-based photographer originally from NYC, specializes in event photography. About five years ago, she launched NefariousGirl.com to showcase her nightlife photography-- real party photos as seen through her eyes.
Castillo makes her living shooting corporate and social events and has been published in The Miami Herald, Spin Magazine, and Six Degrees Magazine among others. She keeps a diary blog at The Miami New Times' Crossfade blog and has her own blog at NefariousGirl.com.

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How and when did you become interested in photography and how did you get started professionally?

I took photography in high school; I went to a specialized art school-- the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. For the first two years you're given a lot of different classes every few weeks, and one was photography. As a high school kid you don't really care, but it was a great opportunity and it stuck with me after that. I didn't think of it as a career move though. What I'm doing now started about seven years ago with a digital camera. I'd take it everywhere, to clubs, to parties, to restaurants, to the bathroom. And the site just developed about five years ago because I wanted to just cover nightlife through my eyes. Because I'm in Miami and as pretty as everything is, there's more to a party than just these model types. There are people lying on the floor, people dancing, and the colors of the lights. One thing led to another and about four years ago it became my full-time job. I had nothing to do with photography, it's crazy. It's crazy how my life has changed.

What gear do you use?

I use a Canon 5D and a 17-40mm f/4L ultra-wide lens-- I'm short so that one captures everything from head to toe-- my ST and my flash. But sometimes I'm not allowed in with my DSLR for certain events because they're private or there's a celebrity that's been made exclusive to one photographer, so what I always have with me is my Fuji FinePix, but I don't love that camera. My favorite is the Canon PowerShot G9 and hopefully soon that's what will be with me at all times.

What's an average day like for you when shooting?

It can start at 5 in the afternoon and there are usually two events that I cover. One event in the evening and depending on how much fun I'm having or what clients have hired me, it's off to the next party. And sometimes after-parties can last from 11 until 2 or 5 a.m.
That's basically my everyday work. Five or six nights out of the week that's what I do. Also, right now I'm shooting editorials and I'm doing some experimental work during the day, so I'm doing a lot of fashion. Sometimes I'll meet up with stylists or people who want to do art and we'll do that from 12 to 5. So it just depends, but it never stops, as a matter of fact I'm editing right now.

What has been your favorite assignment?

I don't even know. You know I've been shooting almost every day for all these years and I've done anything from fetish parties to a ladies' luncheon at a huge mansion-- a Pucci art luncheon. Pucci was there and they had dresses floating, everyone was dressed in Pucci and everyone was sitting outside and it was just champagne flowing-- it's so vivid because I sat down and I was-- I try not to be one of those photographers who's just working, I like to socialize, and I knew some of the ladies who were having lunch so that was one of my favorites. But it's always a new story here in Miami.

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