She’s taking the EDM photography scene by storm. Based in New York City, Dumarys Espaillat, under her brand name MsMoonlightArts, travels all over the country to shoot shows and music festivals. I had a lot of questions I wanted to dive into, so without further ado, here’s the interview we did with the incredible concert and festival photographer, MsMoonlightArts.
Tell us how long you’ve been shooting and why you started shooting concerts. I have been shooting for around six years. The way I started shooting was maybe a little bit diﬀerent than most people. I was living in Puerto Rico and I used to work as a Production Assistant Manager for a company that produced events, mostly EDM events. So after a while (since I had no need to worry about getting a press pass) I started bringing my camera into shows, just for fun. As time went by, I got better at it, until one day the band Capital Cities played a show in Puerto Rico. I managed to capture a nice photo of their trumpeter at the time, Spencer Ludwig.
After the show, a friend encouraged me to show him the photo, which I did, and he loved it and posted it on all his socials and that was the moment when it clicked. The thought of “if he liked my photo maybe others will and I can get hired for it and maybe also travel” came to my mind. So from that moment and on I created my brand, Ms Moonlight Arts (after a high school nickname) and started focusing in improving my photos, setting up goals and ﬁnding my style.
What are some of your favorite shots you’ve taken at shows and why?
This shot taken at elrow last year opened a lot of doors for me. This photo was featured in Billboard.com in an article of elrow but it also contributed to me getting my current job. While I freelance in photography, I do have a full-time job where we do marketing for festivals and nightlife events. Besides that, I love how colorful it is, the composition and all the confetti. I think it captures what elrow is, something fun, colorful and crazy.
Ever since I started taking photos, I always wanted to have a photo of a moment like this, when people light up their cellphones from the crowd. I think it is such a magical moment for the performers, usually a slow song plays, everybody sings, it is just beautiful!
Fireworks! Who doesn’t love them! I am always looking forward to any pyro shots because they impact so much the way a stage and performers are displayed in a photo.
What’s the hardest part about concert photography?
I would say the times you have to work, while festivals mostly end around midnight, a lot of events I have shoot at end around 4am or so, in certain occasions even later and you have to sometimes go home and edit or edit on site. I have worked some crazy hours, overnights, staying up until like 7am editing after a show. When you do this but you also have a full-time job, sometimes it is not so fun the next day. It does requires a lot of energy to be running around with a heavy backpack sometimes 12+ hours and still edit after or during a show.
What do you love about shooting shows?
The energy, the people and the music. There is no way to describe how awesome it feels walking into a stage or a photo pit full of fans screaming and singing their hearts out! There is a magic to it. Also since I’ve worked in the production side, I know how much hard work it takes to put on a good show. This is why I always love when festivals and/or concerts bring onboard new things to amaze the crowd from lasers, Pyro, Drones, diﬀerent stages, sound quality, new experiences, performers. It’s just awesome when it is all mixed together.
What advice do you have for concert photographers just starting out?
Always follow your dreams even if you don’t feel you made it yet! There is always improvement, re-evaluate your work, plan your next moves, learn from others and improvise. Doesn’t matter what ﬁeld you are in. I never thought I would be where I am now, even though I still feel like I have tons of things to learn. Photography has taken me to places I never thought I would visit, it sparked even more of my passion for traveling and besides shooting shows, I have had the chance to work with people and brands that I never thought I would work for. From corporate gigs to fashion, food, with brands such as HBO, J.C. Crew and Dunkin’ Donuts among others.
Check out MsMoonlight Arts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and have a look at her portfolio here.