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Check Out Aly Goelzer’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aly Goelzer.

Hi Aly, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My photography journey began at a young age playing with my mom‘s camera and eventually my own little digital camera, but the story really accelerates forward in my first year of college when I took a film photography class and got to learn all the ins and outs of the film world and all of the time and patience it takes to develop your photos by hand in the darkroom as well as mix chemicals correctly to get the best end product. I also got to learn all of the Photography basics in a medium where you can’t immediately see your results which is definitely rewarding and challenging. After that initial class, I took many other classes across different creative mediums and ended up switching my major to photojournalism and diving in headfirst. I took numerous other photography-related classes including documentary photography classes where I got to really tell a story with photos and campus news where I got to learn the video side of things. I also got an on-campus job working for the universities event planning group as a photographer which gave me lots of experience covering many different types of events in different locations and with different audiences. I also got a part-time job during college working at a popular portrait studio where I learned a lot about working with people in photography!

I was lucky enough, after my junior year of college, to get a gig working as a photographer for a major music festival in Minnesota where I was actually the only staff photographer they had, which meant that I covered all four days of the event by myself! I had to get coverage of the campsites all around the festival, the sponsors, the VIP areas, the fans in the crowd, and of course the musical acts performing on stage! It was such a busy weekend running back-and-forth all around the campgrounds and festival grounds and back-and-forth between editing and making it to different stages at certain times. But I loved what I was doing so much it didn’t even feel like work and really set in stone my interest in concert photography. I had already had experience photographing small local events and concerts but photographing a festival of that size, and by myself, really challenged me and gave me so much insanely amazing experience that you don’t get from shooting a local gig for a class assignment.

In my final semester of college, I got an apprenticeship with the local newspaper where I got to see how multiple areas of the newsroom are run and do some cool job shadowing and even help out where I could. Through that apprenticeship, I even got to go out to some local areas and do some photography for a couple of stories for the paper because I told them about my interest in photography. That got me my first set of photos in the paper. During the apprenticeship, there was no planned time to work with the newspaper photographers so I reached out to them on my own time to see if I could work with them at all, and because of that, I ended up getting to shadow the newspaper photographers on a couple of their assignments and get to know them a little bit which then helped me land a job working as a newspaper photographer for the biggest paper in North Dakota. It is such a rewarding and amazing job and has exposed me to so many different types of events that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise! I also got to meet so many new people with great stories and try out different styles of photography. I have been working for the paper as a photojournalist since the very beginning of 2020 and got to experience life working at a newspaper during a pandemic-right at the start of my time with them!

In addition to working for them, I also do contract photography work for a video company near my city and I also do all sorts of other types of gigs for bands, friends, events, local businesses, etc.

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?
I am very grateful to have been able to take on the photography position that I did while I was in college because that gave me so much great experience! I’m also so very grateful for all of the classes I was able to take during school and the professors who taught them. I definitely wouldn’t have made it this far in this career without all of that! I’m also so thankful for all of the different photography jobs I’ve been able to do and for the people who have reached out to me to photograph various important events, gigs, or moments for them.

The biggest bump in the road I had was just finishing college and barely getting out into the world, landing a dream job, and then the pandemic hitting right away and stopping everything in its tracks. All of the sports and events and things that I normally would be getting to photograph were now canceled indefinitely. The news was now only focusing on one thing. And also due to the nature of my job I was still out and about trying to tell stories through photos during the height of the pandemic (from a distance) when I was nervous about everything going on along with the rest of the world. It’s been an interesting start to my career but I’m so grateful to say that I still get to work in such a cool job field.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
So I mentioned a bit about what I do in the other questions, but I am a newspaper photojournalist, and also a freelance photographer! My favorite things to photograph are, by far, concerts and festivals! I get to combine my huge love of live music with my photography to create really cool images! It’s so rewarding to work with the crazy lights at a show, the artists jumping around, and the overall energy of the room and be able to pull out some amazing photos! I especially love photographing the fans and campers at music festivals! No one is more excited to see a photographer than some festival attendees jumping around who want to end up on the festival’s social media! haha. (I included a handful of photos I took at different concerts and festivals in my gallery because my live music photography is some of my favorite work!)

I think my work for bands and festivals is what makes me stand out and what I’m most proud of, but that combined with my work for local businesses, friends and family, and my work for the newspaper shows how versatile I can be! I love shooting everything from sports of all kinds to photos of a new business opening up, to photos of an event that’s rolling through the area. I’ve done product photography, food photography, animal photography, senior photos, weddings, newborns, comedians and public speakers performing, behind-the-scenes photos for brands, and I’ve shot for both digital and print publications. The list goes on! I love being able to try out a new photography subject or style and I think my adaptability is huge in getting me to where I am! I don’t think I’m known for just one area of photography and I like that!

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I think really looking into the opportunities that your school or university might have for you to dive into is huge. Talking to the professors and other people who work in the areas you’re interested in can end up leading you to unique opportunities! And if that’s not something you can do, even just reaching out to someone that’s doing what you want to be doing on their social media can be a great start to networking. You have to be willing to take on some new responsibilities and try new things to gain the knowledge and experience you want to acquire.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Aly Goelzer Photography (@alygoelart)

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