Interview: Danielle Ernst

Words by Avery Kelly, photos of Danielle by Nicole Busch. All other photos courtesy of Danielle Ernst.

Danielle Ernst is a live music and portrait photographer based in Orange County and LA, known for her distinct style which frequently employs bright colors and surreal motifs to tell stories. Her super-cool live shots using prisms to distort the light make shows appear exactly the way they feel to an audience member: like a total dream. Through working with bands like Hunny, Walk the Moon, and Magic Man, she’s developed a style that’s completely hers and makes her stand out from the crowd of rising music photographers. I chatted with Danielle about how she got into the industry and found her place as a music photographer; read on for more!


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How did you enter into the world of music? Was it photography that interested you, or did you have friends that were involved in the scene?

I became more passionate about music the more I started going to concerts. I always went with friends and loved the sense of community and connection I felt to the music. Before I started music photography, I was doing fashion and portrait work, so I already had a strong background in photography. I was on my way to a concert last year with my friend and I brought my camera because I wanted to give music photography a shot- the band’s manager let me in to shoot, and ever since then, I have felt even more comfortable at concerts when I have my camera with me. Hunny was the first band I ever shot (in April 2015), so I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without them. Other than that, it has only been me- I am extremely determined and work very hard to reach my goals.

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How do you fit your personal style into your work? I noticed you use prisms for some of your photography, which I absolutely LOVE!

My personal style is very colorful and unique and I try my best to make it show in my photos. I’m always trying to find new ways to make my work stand out from the rest. Yes, I absolutely love playing with lighting with different techniques in editing or just putting random objects in front of my lens!

de2How do you think music photography has opened up your opportunities? Do you plan on using your work in the future?

I’ve shot around a hundred concerts since starting and even a few festivals such as KAABOO and the Dirty Parts Festival. I have covered most of these for many different magazines including Local Wolves, Half & Half, The Radical, and Ellis Music Magazine. In addition to that, I also do a lot of solo work with bands. I now know that music photography is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have met so many great people because of it and I’ve discovered that it’s what I’m most passionate about. I plan on using my work to pursue my dreams of going on tour and furthering my career overall. I want to travel the world doing what I love, become more educated, and meet new people. ✿

Keep up with Danielle on her website and Instagram!