By: Estella Pan
Bev Moser has captured many priceless moments for over a decade. When you attend any given special country music related event in downtown Nashville, you will likely also see Bev there working her cameras. In addition to running her photography company, Moments by Moser, she is a journalist for Digital Rodeo, interviewing country artists, writing up articles and reviews, and covering an endless stream of festivals and press conferences. Also a mother of four children (three grown, one still at home), Bev has earned herself the reputation for being one of the busiest women in the music industry. Amidst hectic schedules and nonstop running around, Bev is a master at being willing to adapt to change and seizing every opportunity that comes her way.
Born and bred in a “very, very, very small town” in northwest Iowa (on the South Dakota border), Bev became fascinated with photography at an early age. “I have always enjoyed photography and remember receiving my very first camera in elementary school. That was long before the digital age, and the cost of film and expense of developing limited my ability to experiment as much as I would have liked.” Fortunately, technology would soon evolve into a digital age, and Bev has thrived on this change! “Digital has expedited the process in so many ways. For one, you can check for lighting and focus as you go, and the after process of editing is so much easier.” It has also eliminated much of the stress brought forth from having to meet deadlines regularly. “In many cases in the music industry and media field, you need to get photos out and online to customers for press releases and servicing to the other media outlets ASAP; having the digital capability allows you to upload more or less on the go, as we have wireless Internet! That has helped immensely when on deadlines.” Bev says “going digital” has one slight disadvantage. “The downside is many people think anyone with a digital camera can do the job and that unfortunately is not always true. So, professionals have had to compete with those who are ‘wannabe’s’.”
Bev’s presence on social media websites has helped her spread the word about her company and photography work. They provide an ideal portal for displaying her portfolio and showcasing her clientele. Bev says she has incorporated her Facebook profile to include both personal friends and family members as well as business clients and associations “so my family and friends can see what I do, and my business associates may just get a glimpse of a side of me they may not normally see while I am out working. It makes me more real with a family and outside interests.” Having created profiles on different sites, Bev says she prefers Facebook and Twitter over MySpace. “I am actually phasing out of MySpace. For one, it takes too much time to keep multiple sites updates, and most everyone is on Facebook. I do use Twitter for business – especially for the media side of what I do. It is a very good way to make simple statements and drive traffic to your main website or announce special events. I am also on several other websites that are more business related in one form or another, but my favorite is Facebook.”
Though she came by it inadvertently, it would seem that Bev was destined to find her place in the music industry eventually – and she has. She admits, “I actually always thought I was going to work with animals.” Pondering her statement, she quips, “Hmmm maybe I still do! I’m kidding, of course!” Bev attended college with intentions of becoming a veterinarian technician. However, “God had other plans and my oldest daughter followed my original dream.” Bev still marvels at the chain of events that led to the music industry. “My big break in the music business was definitely one of those moments when you look back and still cannot believe it happened the way it did.” Being a lifelong country music fan, she remembers, “I would ride our horses in our small rural hometown and sing Waylon and Willie or Barbara Mandrell songs.” Once again, thanks to advancing technology – this time, throwing the doors into cyberspace wide open – Bev found a new world of friends waiting, and along with it came a job opportunity. “When the Internet first exploded and chat rooms were popular, I joined several different country music fan sites and chat rooms, eventually becoming friends with some of the regulars who posted online. From there, we began meeting in different cities for concerts and started coming to Fan Fair in Nashville.”
The local radio station heard about the traveling group of fans and invited Bev to be a correspondent in Nashville during Fan Fair festivities. “They asked me to call in and give a daily report on the activities and fan club parties surrounding Fan Fair. And, as they say, the rest is history.” A job well done rendered the station manager to hire Bev as their newest on-air personality. “The station manager loved my vast knowledge and familiarity of the artists and my ease of speaking publicly, so he offered me a job as an on air personality.” The experience allowed Bev the opportunity to continue meeting and working with professionals in the music industry.
Life took Bev to Nebraska, where she lived for thirteen years before ultimately deciding to move to Music City. Once in Nashville, she didn’t know which career path she would wind up on, but she was sure about one thing: “I knew when I relocated to Nashville from the Midwest that I would do something in the music industry but was not sure exactly what my part would be.” She says, “My passion for music runs very deep, as does my interest in being creative – both in photography and expressing thoughts in writing through reviews and interviews. So, I found a way to do them all.” Bev discovered an advantage in having made friends on Music Row by the time she moved. Another helpful benefit was learning about the intricacies of the music industry before formally working in it. “I honestly cannot say anything about the music business surprised me, as I had been around it in several different aspects for a long time before I officially worked in the business.” One of her favorite aspects is the undeniable feel of camaraderie. “I cherish the feel of family. The circle of friends I have within the music community is like family, with everyone taking care of each other.”
Once settled into her Nashville home, Bev worked toward furthering her photography ambitions with the creation of Moments By Moser. Soon, she began securing photo shoots. Just as each client’s goals are different, the process through which each session is planned also varies. Bev fills us in on the specifics of planning any given photo shoot: “Each shoot is very different for me and my clients as I do not do studio photography; I shoot on location.” She adds, “What I am taking photographs of determines how much say I have in wardrobe or the location. If it is a portfolio or portrait shoot, I usually encourage clients to have several outfits in mind and if they do not have a location in mind, we will try to find a couple different ones that fit the overall ideas they have.”
Some clients require more guidance than others and Bev is always ready to help. “Many times, people do not really know what they want so I have to come up with locations based upon what the photos will be used for.” In any given shoot, Bev makes a point to cater her planning specifically around her subject. “If it is an artist using them for promotion in conjunction with an album, I will base it around some of the songs or the title of their album. If I’m shooting senior photos, I enjoy having them bring something very personal that reflects a part of their lives such as a pet, shooting in their horse barn, or maybe with sports equipment.” Her shooting experiences also run the gamut. “I have done everything from shooting photos of inanimate objects for book and map covers to capturing photos of newborn babies.” No matter the purpose, one constant remains: “The challenge is make the subject of the photo interesting and memorable.”
Besides that, it’s all about having fun. “A photographer sees the world differently depending on what they are trying to create, so anytime I am shooting, I am happy!” She also relishes in the variety her job allows. “One day I might be in a horse barn doing photos in the morning and that same night, I’ll cover a black-tie VIP event on Music Row.”
Among all the exciting moments she’s helped capture on film, Bev says there is one particular shoot that is close to her heart. “One of the most meaningful was a family shoot I did; it was meaningful on several different levels.” She recalls, “It was the first shoot that I had anyone ask me to sit in a circle with the family and pray before we did the photos. To hear them thank the Lord above for my talents was very touching and made the shoot very personal.” Bev adds, emotionally, “It still touches my heart because the husband and father is no longer with us and knowing I took their last formal family photos reminds me that this is one of the reasons I do photography: to create memories.”
With an endless to-do list to tackle on a daily basis, there surely must be a secret to keeping it all together. Or, is there? “Some days there is no secret at all; but for the most part, the secret is simply organization and time management.” In order to complete each project, Bev says, “I often times burn the midnight oil well into the wee hours of the morning.” She sheds light on unseen hours after her camera lens cap has been closed and tape recorders and microphones have been put away. “The part of my job that people, in general, do not realize is the hours I put in ahead of preparing and doing research for an interview or after the fact – whether I’m editing photos or writing up a review or interview.”
To maximize her overall efficiency, she has developed somewhat of a routine. “I try for the most part to do my work while my son is at school or sleeping. I am also blessed to have the flexibility I have. In some cases, I can bring him with me on location. But I can also schedule my appointments for the most part so they do not conflict with the hours when he is home.” Having support from family members can be a big help and Bev greatly appreciates hers. “I have older children who have contributed so much in support of my career.” Ultimately, Bev says, “I think the secret to balance is knowing it is okay to say ‘No’ and not feeling like you have to accept every opportunity to shoot – because sometimes the benefits of putting your family first outweigh any amount of financial reward you may receive.”
Some people may expect a person who has worked with and around so many celebrities to say that is their favorite aspect of their job. For Bev, knowing she had the privilege to capture those spontaneous special moments as they happened fills her heart with unspeakable joy! “To bring joy to other people and be able to share what I see to others is indescribable at times!” She adds, “I absolutely love capturing that ‘moment’ – the one that shows the twinkle in someone’s eye, that playful smile, or that wistful look. As I go through photos one by one after each shoot, event, party or special occasion, there are always a few photos that capture the spirit and make me smile knowing I was the one who pressed the shutter at just the right moment and now my client will forever have that memory.” Further rewards include receiving gratitude from her clients. “When a client or customer takes a moment to call me personally or send me a note expressing their happiness with my work – that has to be one of the most rewarding aspects of what I do. I have made so many new friends through my work and to me that is what is important.”
Bev considers herself fortunate to have been able to work in several different aspects of the music industry during the last decade. To people interested in pursuing a career in the music business, she offers these words of wisdom: “My advice is to be flexible and willing to do whatever you have to do to find your place. There is not a magical instruction booklet for this ever-changing industry. Follow your heart and keep your dreams in front of you.”