Dominique Terry contributed to this article.

Here's an interview with Samantha Burkardt, who won our Emeli Sandé  Creative Invite  back in September. She shared her story with us and revealed what her exciting experience taught her as an artist.  She was awarded with one photography pass to Sandé's Boston concert. In addition to the Sandé's Boston concert, Samantha requested the opportunity to photograph an additional show in New York City. In our interview with her, Samantha demonstrates the benefits of taking initiative.

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Congratulations on getting to photograph two shows for Emeli! How did that opportunity come about? 
Samantha: Thank you so much! Yes, originally the prize was to only shoot one of Emeli’s shows in Boston, but that night I thought - why not just ask if I can shoot the New York show as well? The following day I emailed my contact at the label and told them I’d love to thank them for giving me this opportunity and I offered to shoot another show (the New York show). I’m happy to say they were thrilled and let me cover both shows and will be displaying my photos soon!

TH: Tell us about what it was like to meet Emeli.
Samantha: Emeli is simply stunning, not only her looks, but also her heart. I admire how she remained so humble as a person. The first night I met her I brought her a gift. She opened it in front of the VIPs . I gave her a large print of my winning photographer and her reaction was priceless. Her eyes widened, her jaw dropped and she said, “Wow” with such awe in her voice. I still can’t believe what one night of stargazing on a beach has done for me.

I still can’t believe what one night of stargazing on a beach has done for me.

When Emeli was showing my photo, it was such a surreal moment, all the attention was on me! I always get asked, “Is the photo real?” “Is it photoshopped?” “Where did you take it?” “Were there that many stars?” The answers are yes, no, Nauset Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and yes. I want to thank my sister for sitting on that cold beach for such a long time while I figured out my camera settings!

TH: Your favorite moment at each concert...
Samantha: The biggest highlight was how I felt. Shooting shows in both Boston and New York gave me a feeling of being able to conquer the world. I loved being surrounded by industry professionals I want to work with and artists I want to collaborate with in the future. The energy from that night still hasn’t let go of me and the aftermath has been nothing short of wonderful! This whole experience has truly lit a fire in me.

TH: What's next in your career? 
Samantha: I’m planning on shooting more concerts with the amazing contacts I’ve made from this experience. Recently, I’ve been helping young models develop their portfolios so they can enter the fashion industry! Next month I’ll be in England to do an editorial type shoot, and I can say I am super excited.

TH: Could you share a pro tip based on this recent gig? 
Samantha: Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out! If there is something more you think you can do for your client, then do it. Just think, if I never asked to shoot the second show in New York, it never would have happened. Take a chance.

TH: What's the best photography advice you've ever received?
Samantha: “Shoot from deep within yourself.” I’ve heard this from a few great photographers and it is the absolute truth. Whether you’re shooting a concert, child’s birthday party, wedding, or a fashion editorial shoot, you can really begin to feel what you need to focus on in that moment (once you completely immerse yourself in your surroundings).

I love being in the crowd at concerts because I become enveloped with their contagious energy, and that’s what helps make my photos what they are. Everyone is there to enjoy the show, and I’m there to capture that.

She adds: Thank you again Talenthouse for having such an amazing platform to give young artists the launch point to work with professionals in many different industries!

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