Meet Callen Liverance of Callen Liverance Media
My entire photography career would be nonexistent were it not for my friends. The only reason I picked up a camera in the first place was to memorialize all their little moments. They were so patient when I got my first camera at 16, and brought it along on all our adventures. I never imagined that chasing my friends around with a lens would turn into working with some of my favorite bands, and public figures. I just really loved looking back, seeing pictures of the people I love- mid-laugh- staring off deep in thought, climbing up mountains, and reliving that time, even for a moment.
Soon, I befriended other photographers and models my age in Alaska and started going out on “expeditions” with them. I was lucky to grow up in a state where there are always things to shoot and the scenery never disappoints. Those photographers taught me so much but I never truly felt like I was a strong enough photographer. I would often just take photos of my friends taking photos, behind the scenes, and capture the little moments.
This continued into 2018 when I moved to Fort Collins and befriended Caleb McFadden, frontman of Chess at Breakfast. He invited me to come take photos of the band and even insisted on payment, despite not seeing any of my past work. I made it very clear that I had no idea what I was doing and that there was no way I would accept payment from him, but would give it my best shot . That first concert with Chess at Breakfast rocked my world in more ways than one. The raw energy and unpredictable movements made each photo the ultimate scene to capture. It was the first time I felt like I knew what I was doing, even though I was making it up as I went.
Suddenly, past pictures of my best friends dancing around their kitchens, the behind the scenes while “real” photographers worked, even chasing the Northern Lights back home, were there to guide me. Chess At Breakfast liked my work so we continued to work together. I still did not consider myself to be a photographer, though. I was just a friend of theirs who happened to own a camera and they would pay me because of it. Then, other local bands started reaching out to me for photos and suddenly, I had a business that I never expected.
It’s been about two years since my first shoot with Chess At Breakfast. I’ve been so lucky to take photos of some of my favorite bands as they pass through Northern Colorado and work with public figures such as Temple Grandin, launch my website, and callenliverance.com. I continue to befriend many talented musicians, fellow photographers, artists, models, and just all around wonderful people. I could not be more thankful for all the opportunities I have been given but I still don’t consider myself a photographer. I just happen to own a camera and get to capture the little moments for all the lovely friends I am surrounded by.
It has been a struggle to recognize and market myself as a professional; especially in this field.
I, like many others, picked it up casually but it has grown into a lot more than I ever expected it to, and has now turned into my main source of income. It’s a continual struggle to believe that I’m good enough to charge for my work, even with those around me insisting I deserve it. I’m surrounded by encouraging friends who have helped me improve and gain confidence along the way, but there’s still so much great art out there. I just have to constantly remind myself that my work is worth it.
Most of my business is concert photography but I also consistently shoot boudoir, portrait, and editorial photography. Concert work, however, is my favorite line of work and what I consider to be my strongest style. Live shows are unpredictable, especially when I get the opportunity to work with bands/musicians that are full of energy. Everything is in motion from the lights, to the subjects, to the audience; so I only have a small window of opportunity to take an amazing shot of what could be a once in a lifetime moment. I depend on my ability to read body language, knowledge of music theory, and sometimes even my rock climbing skills (to get better vantage points) in order to get my shot.
When I can I put a lot of work in beforehand so even if I never get to meet the band personally it feels like I know them. The entire drive to a shoot I blast whatever band I’m working withs’ music so I know the song’s layout and can be ready for all the little rises and falls. I’ll YouTube and social media stalk for hours and watch live concerts to see how bands change up their sound for live shows and if they have any choreography (no matter how small) and patterns while on stage. The hours I spend studying and forming a stronger connection to the bands and their music have helped me set myself apart because it shows how passionate I am about capturing the perfect moments for these artists.
One of my favorite aspects of photography I work in is that everything is a collaboration. There is no better feeling than when I can see the subjects I’m working with actively gain confidence as we’re shooting. At the end of the day, my bare minimum definition of success is when people look at the photos I took of them and feel good about themselves. Of course, I worry about the basics such as lighting, angles, and my camera settings but what matters most to me is that everyone I work with feels like a rockstar or a model when we are through.