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Rising Stars: Meet Vanessa Holt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Holt.

Hi Vanessa, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
When I was eight years old, I was told that we all have a different perspective of the world, that statement has always stuck with me especially since I’ve never been the greatest at being able to explain what’s on my mind. That’s where photography had come into play, I’ve always been fascinated with this form of art, the idea of one click of a button can capture a moment and hold it forever is what stood out most.

Music has also always had a major impact on my life. When I get asked where my happy place is, my response has continuously been concerting venues, never a specific one just any of all types. I love going to shows because being able to hear the songs live, seeing the artist perform their songs for fans and singing along, and being in a room full of people who have the same love for an artist like you to really bond together is so beautiful in its own way.

When I was 12 years old and attended a music festival called Vans Warped Tour, I was holding onto the barricade and bouncing with excitement for the next artist to come on and I watched someone wander into the photo pit on the other side of the barricade with a camera.

I had learned at that moment that there was a possibility of being a music/concert photographer and ever since then it’s all that I’ve ever known I’ve wanted to do. It’s been the best way for me to capture moments at a show and finally be able to show people and have them understand why I attend just as many as I do and give them an understanding about how concerts can be so special and every night is completely different for an artist.

Since then, I started off by attending as many local shows as possible to photograph bands and learning which venues throughout Utah, I could sneak a camera into whenever any of the bigger bands I was a fan of was in town. There’s been a ton of ups and downs in my journey and so much growth, there’s still a lot for me to learn now especially with things constantly changing.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road, there’s been a ton of struggles. When I first was looking into how to enter this music industry and tried to understand how to obtain photo passes, the first few years no one had any information to share. It felt like everyone I had turned to wanted to gatekeep the idea of music photography.

As I started to shoot local shows and build a portfolio when asked for any type of feedback on my work, rather than comments of criticism and how to improve all I had received back then were negative comments and no one wanted me to give feedback on how I could improve.

For the first few years, I also struggled a lot with social anxiety, the idea of going to a show alone and moving around a venue and having to interact with people even though I had openly known that these people were sharing the same interest as I had terrified me.

The next biggest struggle I faced was, I had a friend set up a phone call with me and a famous and well-known photographer and it was a conversation where I was told that I didn’t have the right eye for this industry. The content that I was producing was bland and it wouldn’t give me a career, it was the harshest comment I had ever received and for years echoed in the back of my head causing me to doubt myself and my work.

Lastly, the struggle that I believe every artist faces; is imposter syndrome. It’s hard to battle that especially when the thoughts of comparing yourself come to mind and it’s a constant battle with yourself.

However, after years of working and constantly trying to improve me, there’s been a lot of growth. Thankfully in time and thanks to a ton of more helpful photographers, I was able to learn a lot more about what happens behind the scenes and how to get more of a foot in the door in the community.

I was able to come out of my shell a bit more and finally started to make connections and friendships throughout this community. Battling through imposter syndrome is still a challenge but some days are still better than others

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I specialize in Music Photography and Portraits but don’t limit myself to just those.

I have dabbled in all aspects of photography from couples, pets, family, and weddings. I’m mainly known for music and portraits.

I’m most proud of the growth that I’ve had throughout these years, I am constantly reflecting on my past work and thinking about how I can better improve.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
During the COVID-19 crisis, it was a hard time. That year was lined up to be one of my biggest years with all the shows that I had lined up.

Then the worldwide shutdown happened and all the opportunities had slipped away. When this had happened I started to contemplate the idea of not pursuing music photography as a career anymore, to the point of even listing all of my gear.

We were all waiting to see what would happen to the music industry, waiting to see if we would be able to attend shows again. At this point, I’ve made so many friends within the music industry who had more experience in touring that I knew they’d be struggling to find work and get back on their feet once the world started to head back towards a normal.

I was happily rooting on my friends like I always have been and it took some time and words of encouragement but I learned that there are always possibilities, I’ve been striving and waiting a long time to get the opportunity to tour and while it still hasn’t happened.

I have to keep challenging myself to do better than the last and never give up. Everything will happen in time.


  • Concerts (per date) – $100
  • Portraits / Promos – $150 / 1-1/2 hour – 2 outfit changes.

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