When First Friday first started (or I should say when it was rejuvenated) a little over a year ago, it was intended to be a networking outlet. A place for business professionals to unwind after work then later evolve into some drinks and dancing. Before you know it, it turned into nothing but the drinks and dancing portion. There isn't even a Happy Hours portion anymore. But that doesn't mean that the networking doesn't still go on in other ways.
At least once in the past few First Fridays I have had people approach me with questions about doing work outside of that event. I usually take their conversations with a grain of salt though. Let's face it...most of the folks there are getting full and probably aren't serious about half the things they say. Fortunately, this most recent opportunity was the real deal. One of the FF attendees had a birthday coming up and asked if I would do the photos for the event. Well of course I would. And just like that, I got my first non-FF, non-family gig.
The setting was going to be a place I was already very familiar with: Bar 2060. They were hosting a special engagement known as The Offical Red and White Party. Also known as Happy Holla Days at Bar 2060. Also known as Jenny Mok's birthday party (and a few other folks that I didn't know). The timing of Christmas night made perfect sense too. By that time everyone had done all their Christmas celebrating and would be looking for something to get into.
I was a bit apprehensive when I arrived even though I knew the location. It was an entirely different crowd from the demographic that First Fridays normally attracts. FF has been going on long enough that it has an established clientele. We can pretty much count on the same regulars coming to every event. They're used to seeing me there which means I'm guaranteed to get several pics with many of the same folks. That would subsequently lead to me getting pics of people in the area who become envious of the fact that others are getting pics taken and they want in.
That wasn't the case with this function.
I walked in knowing two people there: Jenny and Raj. And Raj worked there. I knew that would make it interesting. It would involve more effort on my par. I would have to step outside of my comfort zone. I couldn't rely on my standard contacts and would instead have to make new ones. Fortunately, that was made easier by the fact that Jenny did know many of the folks there. So I was still able to get more than enough photo ops. About 90% of them (and probably more) include Jenny, but that was the whole point in the first place.
What I did notice with the changed demographic was it was a much warmer and looser crowd. Folks were more friendlier as a whole. The difference really came about when it came to the dancing. You didn't see folks sitting all on the side like we've been noticing at the FF events. They came to kick it. And they didn't care who was looking or who was there. They were all about getting their groove on. Some of them didn't even have to get to the dance floor to do it. Still not sure how much of that was the alcohol as opposed to a different personality paradigm.
This event also marked the first time I had some friendly competition in attendance. It turns out there were at least three other people there taking pictures on their own behalf. I'm guessing theirs were just for fun. Whatever it was for, I was up in there with some serious camera envy. Two of the other cameras in there were PHAT. Although they didn't have the same type of adjustable LED that mine has which comes in handy in that club setting. Still, I wouldn't mind holding those jokers for a bit to see how they handle.
The latest addition to the photo albums is going to be more biased than many of the others. My gig was to be there taking photos for Jenny to capture the night for her in pictures. Therefore, you will notice that a great majority of them are of her. You'll be seeing more of her in the future too since she will be one of the folks I will be hooking up with for more solo shoots as well. For now, check out Jenny's Birthday Bash and see if you can guess which one she is in the pictures. If you can't then I wouldn't plan on going on that show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" anytime soon if I were you.