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Meet Renee Dominguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Renee Dominguez.

Hi Renee, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I first bought a DSLR back in 2015 when I was just about to embark on a weeklong road trip along the east coast. It was my first time camping, my first time being in a car that long and my first time to ever use a camera. The photos were horribly composed. I was still teaching myself all the controls and knew nothing about how to exposure photos correctly. I didn’t pick up my camera again until the following year when I figured I would just take it with me on any travel trip I went on. I guess I started off as a travel and street photographer. I took my camera with me everywhere and would just capture moments I thought were interesting and real. Somehow the photos I captured while on vacation in New Orleans were able to get me a job as a staff photographer at my college radio station, KTSW-89.9. There I went on to shoot concerts, events and even some music festivals. Shooting at UTOPiAfest in Utopia, Texas was the life changing moment for me. I had always been into attending concerts and music festivals, but being able to capture the moments happening on stage and the beauty of the crowd was something I wanted to continue doing. I was knowing I wanted to do something in the music industry, but I never knew exactly what that was. With every show and every little gig I got, I taught myself more and more about how to properly expose and compose an image.

After graduating from college, I interned at On Vinyl Media, an Austin start-up that worked to promote local musicians. I mentioned that I owned a camera and did photography in college and soon I was the go-to photography intern. One requirement of the internship was to attend at least 1 local show a week. I am quite the music addict, so I went to three to four shows a week instead. It was during this internship that I learned how many amazing local bands there are in Austin and how to market myself as a concert photographer. I was able to get my name out there and made a lot of new friends in the music industry. After six months with On Vinyl Media, I went on to intern at KUT/X with their multimedia department. There I was able to help film the Studio 1A sessions and I even dabbled with photojournalism. I loved the music part of the internship and after filming countless Studio 1A sessions, I knew I wanted to expand on my video experience. After following him on Instagram and loving all the work he produced, I made it a goal to work with Andrew Bennett. He was one of the top concert photographers and mentioned that he was looking for help with his video production start-up, Bennett Creative. I have worn many hats while working with Bennett Creative, working as an editor, photographer, production assistant, director of photography and gaffer. I’ve learned so much with them and have loved working with the company for the past two years. Outside of Bennett Creative, I have been lucky enough to shoot for multiple music festivals including Fortress Fest, SXSW, and UTOPiAfest. I’ve also shot at Old Settler’s Music and Camping Festival, Neon Desert Music Festival for Do512 and ACL for KUTX. I shot my first music video in 2020 for Swimming with Bears and was honored to be the photographer during their Southwest tour with The Unlikely Candidates before the lockdown.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road for me as been pretty smooth with a few bumps here and there. I’ve been extremely lucky to have met some genuine and kind people along the way who have referred me for jobs and have wanted to continue working with me over multiple projects. I’ve also met people who have encouraged me and cheered me on even when I doubted my own capabilities. My biggest struggle has always been my shy and introverted nature.

Growing up, I always saw my shyness as a weakness and I struggled making and keeping friends so I got used to spending a lot of time by myself or with family. I think that’s why I love shooting concerts and music festivals the most because it’s just me in my element watching and creating art that I am passionate about. I think I stand in my own way when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone. I do love collaborating with artists and other creatives for a photoshoot but truth be told, I am usually an emotional mess right before I go into a shoot. Time after time, however, I amaze myself with how I can switch into work mode and get my job done. As long as I keep believing in myself, keep learning and improving on my craft and not scaring away from opportunities that are aligned with my goals, I will conquer my own inner struggles.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a photographer and videographer based in Austin, Texas. I’ve done everything from event, product, portrait, commercial, travel and wedding photography. My specialty and what I am most known for is music photography and I hope to travel the world with artists helping document their life on tour and the energy of a live show every night. I’ve been honored to accompany Swimming with Bears on their tour with The Unlikely Candidates at the beginning of last year. I have also been lucky enough to work on the photo teams for UTOPiAfest and Fortress Fest, as well as attend numerous other festivals around Texas as a photographer. My favorite time of the year is always the week of SXSW. For the last three years, I have been working with the marketing team to help contribute to their photo coverage of the festival. Most recently I had my first photo exhibit held at ContraCommon in March 2020.

I was extremely honored to have the opportunity to show my work and host an opening reception right before shelter-in-place occurred. My photo show was called “The Moment” because I always try to capture lively and memorable photographs. My gift to the music community is capturing the raw passion that an artist extrudes on stage. I love creating colorful pieces that are loud and punchy. Most of all, I capture moments that teleport me back into the space where I was singing along to my favorite song with my favorite artist surrounded by people that all gathered to experience the same euphoric feeling. I only hope that my photographs will spark your memory and take you back to a time where you felt completely connected to the those around you and truly alive while celebrating the beauty of music.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I don’t necessarily believe in luck and I don’t acquaint much of my success to luck. I have worked really hard and have continued to push myself to get to where I am in my life and career. I believe about putting your dreams and goals out into the universe and then doing whatever it takes to accomplish those goals. I also believe that if you speak your dreams out into the universe then the universe will answer your call and if your mind is already set on getting to the next step then the opportunities will arise more often. I sometimes forget that and feel like the world is against me. When I don’t have a lot of work or projects, I sometimes get down on myself and that’s when imposter syndrome really kicks in. It’s easy to scroll through Instagram and compare myself to others in my field and feel less than. But I know that nothing in my life has been handed to me and so instead of waiting around for my goals to magically accomplish themselves, I continue to put myself out there and never let myself give up or get comfortable.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
1. Ismael Quintanilla III
2.Eric Burton of Black Pumas
3. Patrick Sims
4. Shane Smith and the Saints at Love & Lightstream
5. Gina Chavez at Antone’s Nightclub
6. Swimming with Bears at White Sands, NM
7. Lantic
8. Arizona at Neon Desert Music Festival in El Paso, TX
9. Bastille at Austin 360

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