Today we’d like to introduce you to Tor Derricotte.
Tor, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started in graphics making flyers. Once I fine-tuned my professional skills, I went into photography shooting both models and shooting at nightclubs inserting my graphic skills into the median. Meanwhile, I was working full-time as a marketing campaign manager for Pandora and before there I was a media planner for Moxie honing my marketing skills.
So, I started at the bottom fine-tuning my photography skills and building my portfolio. Within one year, I left my full-time job and started working as a full-time video/photographer, again shooting models, real estate and in nightclubs. My first artist photograph break came from the Atlanta record label Nitti Beatz/300 Ent when I was asked to go on tour with their rapper Dae Dae.
My next photography opportunity came from one of my friends who told me to show up to an event because someone was looking for a photographer. I just showed up. Anyway, I was introduced to Quality Control Pee Thomas, who was looking for a photographer for his artists. The actual opportunity was between me and another photographer. I was teamed with QC’s up-and-coming artist Lil Baby and the other videographer was teamed with another artist.
My videography opportunity came when I shot, directed and edited the “Freestyle” video, which I shared with Pee and Lil Baby, who trusted that the video was the image they wanted since Lil Baby was just beginning to start his road tour as a new QC’s artist. The first six months were spent touring very small venues and I was shooting, directing, editing and turning out videos 3 to 7 times per week. In between, I was still shooting models and other artists. You have to respect your hustle. Jay Z, Puffy, Pee and even the actor Marlon Brando have quotes about the hustle, which I respect, but I like Abraham Lincoln’s hustle quote as well, which is: “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
I’ve been on the road non-stop with Lil Baby for the past 18 months. Since this time my work has had millions of views and shown on the Champs billboard in NYC Time Square. And, Lil Baby’s new video, “Global” should premier in the coming-days.
Since this time, I’ve worked with the following artist:
Lil Baby – 2 Tours – 2 Videos
Dae Dae – 1 Tour
Quando Rondo (Pending Release)
PNB Rock – 2 Tours
Videos Tor has directed:
The lesson I learned by showing up for the event is that – showing up is 85% success because most people don’t show up, not only for their opportunities, but they don’t show up for their lives.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been a smooth road. Some of my struggles have been, first, convincing myself that I could leave a corporate job to pursue video/photo photography full-time and make a living. Then I have to continuously assure potential clients that I know what I’m doing enough where they’re willing to pay me for my services.
Please tell us about Estwst Photos.
@Estwst.photos is a full-service photo and video production company that specializes in still and video photography from treatments to shooting, editing, post-production, to the final product. Right now, we are known for music entertainment videos and still photography. I’m most proud of Lil Baby’s Lifestyle video.
What sets @estwst.photos apart from other videographers and production companies is being able to have a fast turn-around and at the same time create a quality production. Estwst.photos creates videos/photos by first understanding our client’s business and audience. An artist may want one image, while their management or record label may want another image.
My education and years of marketing experience help-out a great deal because I understand audiences, branding, and what marketing executives are looking for. I’ve studied and learned the principles of marketing and I’ve placed millions of dollars of advertisement getting the best return on a company’s investments to reach their audience. I’ve essentially take that marketing knowledge and applied it to Estwst.photos business model. So, sometimes I say to client’s you should think about incorporating xyz because from a marketing perspective it makes sense. But Lil Baby and QC right now are really doing well, so they trust me to come back to them with my vision, which sets me apart from other companies.
There are a lot of videographers out there who may read this story and ask, do I need all of the above to be a videographer? And, my answer is No. I’m just saying what separates @estwst.photos from others. Let me give you some examples. I started honing my craft by shooting models, real estate, etc. thereby appreciating the art itself. While I think my work is good, I have to walk a thin line between working with artists and their crew convincing them that I know what I’m doing and at the same time contain myself.
I’m sure there will be other proud moments like the latest Lil Baby Global video, which was shot in Paris, London, Lagos Nigeria, and the Bahamas launching in the coming weeks.
As an entrepreneur like myself, I like working with independent artists, and models who believe enough in themselves to contact me to shoot their videos. Kaffi Blak, who for the new year debuted his video, “Best Life” which I shot in Atlanta. And, Lito, which was shot in Las Vegas and Smooky Margielaa’s video shot in Los Angeles featuring Bloc Boy JB with cameos from Desiigner and King Combs pending release.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Life for me is beginning to come full-circle in that I was first introduced to production and directing at age 6. I remember being introduced to one of the nicest, easy going tv producer/director Chuck Vinson on the sets of Gullah Gullah Island, S.T.O.M.P. and The Miss Colleague African-American Pageant. On the latter sets, I met LL Cool J, who was hosting the TV show. So, I started listening and following rap at an early age.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/estwst.photos
Drake, Lil Baby, Gucci Mane, Cardi B, Offset