Why I Ride: Betsy Newman

March 21, 2016 / US

From exploring new places to rediscovering what you love about a city you’ve lived in for over a decade, our riders and driver-partners have incredible stories to tell. We enlisted the help of Betsy Newman to take over our Instagram and share a piece of herself and her travels through pictures. Her photography and background on how she got here is truly inspiring, and we can’t wait to see where her journey takes her next.

Tell us about yourself. What’s your story?

Photography was not my first calling. I moved to LA by myself when I was a teenager to pursue acting. I ended up going to college to study theater, but wanted to figure out how to tell my own stories. When I got my first camera, I started taking pictures of friends and eventually it turned into a full time job from there. I feel very lucky for that!

How would you describe your photography style?

I am obsessed with golden light! I feel like I live for that time of day, just before sunset. I am drawn to images that are bright and colorful that capture a special moment in time.

What has your journey as a photographer been like?

While in college, I always had my camera on me and became the unofficial go to photographer on campus. Soon, my friends started recommending me for jobs, including my first time shooting music which was at Austin City Limits. I ended up with the most insane access, stories, and photos from that weekend– I basically knew this is what I had to do. After developing a music portfolio, I was recommended to shoot the Maroon 5 tour. A couple weeks later, I was living on a tour bus for three months, shooting 34 shows across the country. Since then, I have photographed countless festivals, portraits, lookbooks, and weddings. I never know what the next opportunity will be, or where in the world it will take me! The camera allows me to be in places and meet people I would never normally be exposed to.

What’s your favorite thing(s) to shoot?

I am definitely a people person, so it’s always fulfilling to shoot portraits. I feel like it’s such a unique opportunity to get to know someone and make them feel good about themselves. I also am a huge music fan, so anytime I am shooting live music I feel completely exhilarated! Even on tour when it’s the same show every night, I aim to see it in a whole new way. It’s like a video game to me, feeling the music to find the best spot to capture the moment—whether its on the stage, backstage, in the pit, or in the crowd. During a show I am constantly running around and switching lenses—it’s like a competition with myself.

Why do you ride with Uber?

Uber takes the stress off of traveling and allows me to focus on my job. Oftentimes I am in new cities for photography gigs, and I always feel relieved to have a ride with the push of a button. I even was able to utilize the service recently while in Israel, which is pretty amazing!

How do you integrate Uber into your travels?

I completely rely on Uber when I travel. Especially while on tour, Uber is my only means of personal transportation since shows are typically in random parts of town. On “off days,” I use Uber to explore whatever new city I happen to be in. Sometimes I don’t even have a clear destination– I just say “take me to your favorite neighborhood and drop me off.” Getting lost is never an issue because I know I can always order a ride back.

Anything else you want to add?

I love the Uber community—I always meet someone new whether it’s my driver, someone in the pool, or another Uber user. My favorite Uber experience was after shooting Outside Lands in San Francisco. After snaking through the crowd and finally making it out of the gates, my phone died just as I was going to order an Uber. A girl nearby noticed what had happened and offered to order one for me. Her driver ended up arriving before mine, but she said “my name is Olenka– just shout my name over and over on this street corner and I promise an Uber will come for you. I am not cancelling it!” Fast forward, and soon enough I was in an Uber headed to my destination. I will never forget that kind stranger and have since paid it forward to others!