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ChaseJarvisRAW #03 — How I Learn ANY SKILL + How You Can Too [plus, get me to review YOUR photos]

People ask me all the time if there’s one thing that’s changed my life the most, what is it?

No question it’s the ability to learn quickly…new skills whether they be for life, hobby, or career… Life long learning is quite literally what has created anything I would consider a classic “success” in my life. SO… In today’s episode of #cjRAW I break down my own learning process into 3 clear, easily repeatable steps. And then I go DEEP into each one of these steps…how to overcome some potential pitfalls, and how to stay on track.

    1. Getting Started – Use your curiosity about a topic to dig in & explore. More importantly get out and start doing. Doing something is better than nothing. It can spark new ideas, inspirations, and motivations that can help propel you forward.
    2. Mentors – Find relevant mentors through your community, people you follow or who inspire you, or via a scaled model where you can learn online…like
    3. Practice – This is core to getting better at anything. Rinse, wash, repeat. BUT it matters HOW you practice and with whom (details in the vid…).

Again, hope you enjoy the video where I break down all of the above steps into subcategories of their own, and then piece it all back together in a system for you. This is LITERALLY how I’ve learned to do almost anything in my life…from photography, to learning to take care of myself, my personal health, learning how to speak French, to learning how to direct moving pictures. It’s all in this little system.

REMINDER: If you’ve ever wanted me to review your work, here’s a chance. For an upcoming episode of #cjRAW, I’m reviewing your photos! Submit a link to (1) photo in the comments below or wherever you see this video by EOD 9/22 and I’ll pick some for review. (BTW I chat about it in just a little more detail here in today’s episode.) This is now closed for submission. Thanks for all the zillions of submissions! My crew and I are busy sorting out which of the submitted images I will review in an upcoming episode.

Links from the Episode

CreativeLive:  ⟶ Award winning online education. Check it out for education on Photography, Design, Audio, Crafts and Money/Life classes.

The world’s largest photo education week is happening right now. FREE to watch live, only pay for it if you want to own it…(and not gonna lie – it’s an amazing steal of a price. 30 lesson from top instructors for $199). It’s called Photo Week and it’s happening right NOW.

Music “You Can Have It” by Fresh Espresso:

What’s Covered

Getting Started [0:44]

Curiosity & Doing [1:26]
Inspiration [2:16]

Mentors [2:53]

Community [3:29]
Individuals [4:36]
Scaled Mentorship [5:57]

Practice [7:20]

Deconstruct / Reconstruct [7:47]
Repeat [8:36]
Iterate / Fail Fast [9:12]

CreativeLive PhotoWeek – Jump in! Join the Conversation. [6:20, 11:17]

Have your photo reviewed by me! Drop me a link [11:41]

People Mentioned

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

Malcom Gladwell, Outliers / (re: 10,000 hours to skill mastery)

Ira Glass, The Creative Gap

ChaseJarvisRAW #02 — Shoot What You Want to Get Paid to Shoot + Answers to 20 other questions…. (Episode #02)

Hey ya’ll … thanks for all the great questions and comments about the NEW cjRAW series from way back in Episode #01 here on the blog and here the Tube. Thank you so much for sharing it with others as well. I’m grateful for your support.

I felt the love –thank you– and today I’m back trying to deliver some value, given that last episode was really just an announcement. SOoooo today I bring you answers to a pile of questions you asked me last week about photography, creativity, business, life, travel, adventure and … some seriously random stuff…like my favorite animal.

Also — btw, stay tuned for an announcement later this afternoon on my feeds. If you’ve been waiting for the next chasejarvisLIVE, you don’t want to miss this….!

In this Episode, I answer DEEEEEEPLY the following 20ish questions PLUS SEVERAL OTHERS NOT BELOW…that you asked me last week… I put the the short answers in the txt below… Longer, better, more answers in the vid above.

// Any chance of chasejarvisLIVE becoming a regular thing? There’s still lots of great people to talk to!
Yes! CJLIVE is coming back with a new passion and super kick-ass guests. Hold tight. It’s on the way!

// What’s your favorite visualization tools or techniques?
I meditate twice a day using transcendental mediation (TM). It has been a game changer for me. I realize this isn’t necessarily a visualization tool, but along with this I use some visualization exercises tied to my morning routine.

// Have you ever been to Norway?
I was in Norway & Sweden for a Helly Hansen shoot. I actually have a lot of Norwegian in my blood. I’m looking forward to going back soon.

// Can you get the guys from DigitalRev to come to the States?
I love those guys. I’ve been to Hong Kong a few times and shot a couple episodes with them here and here.

// Who was your first commercial client and how did you score that job?
Waaaaaaaay back my first commercial gig was with Hart Skis. They’re not around anymore. I got that gig because I was immersed in the ski industry, people knew my work, and I hustled.

// What’s the best way to approach agencies?
Shoot work that you want to be hired to shoot on your own. Invest your own money. Pimp that work.

// Why did you give up medicine to be a pro photographer?
Let’s be clear, I didn’t “give up” medicine because it was something I was bad at. I aborted. I gave up. I quit -specifically because I was chasing something that someone else wanted me to be. That’s a bad recipe for a life.

// What do you do outside?
Skier, hiker, kayaker, flyfisher. About to get back to surfing after a 10 year hiatus because of a busted up shoulder because I am making killer progress rehabbing with my pal/trainer Dave Werner from Level 4 Crossfit in Seattle…and his website MoveSkill.

// What are some tips to push past a creative funk and limited thinking?
I stop focusing on the funk and start focusing on living. I also get into the practice of creating by booking time to be creative.

// What do you do if you can’t shoot the way you want?
I spend a lot of time upfront setting expectations with clients. This is a longer answer in the video – and it’s important. So watch it.

//What do you do when you are in the middle of a project and you’re feeling down in the dumps or depressed?
I do something besides that creating. I’ll go live. I’ll go on an adventure. I’ll take a vacation. As far as actual depression, that’s a real serious issue that I’ve gone through before. I think it’s worthy of a whole episode of chasejarvisRAW. STay tuned for more on that.

// What are some of the top marketing & business minds you follow?
Richard Branson has become a big influence. He’s an investor in CreativeLive and a mentor to live by. My peers: Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, Ramit Sethi. Then there are the folks who’ve built great business like Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn. He’s an unbelievable leader, incredibly empathetic, very smart.

// Can I work for you, please?!
You just missed out! I just had a position open but now it’s closed. Keep an eye out on CreativeLive Careers. We have a bunch of jobs open. You can work with me and 120 other super talented folks.

// What’s your favorite animal?
I love me some big cats!

Links from the Episode

chasejarvis LIVE: ‪

CreativeLive: ‪ ⟶ Award winning online education. Check it out for education on Photography, Design, Audio, Crafts and Money/Life classes.


CreativeLive Jobs:

What’s Covered

CreativeLive Seattle office getting a refresh [0:38]

Is cjLIVE coming back? [1:29]

Visualization tools & techniques [1:58]

Norway [2:48]

DigitalRev reunion? [3:02]

My first grey hair [3:33]

My first commercial gig [3:51]

What’s the best way to approach agencies [4:27]

Why did you give up medicine? [5:23]

What’s the scope you do outside [7:27]

Tips for getting out of a creative funk? [8:24]

What do you do if you can shoot the way you want? [9:46]

What do you do when you’re feeling down in the middle of a project [11:50]

Who are some of the top marketing & business minds you follow [14:10]

Can I work for you? [14:54]

What’s your favorite animal? [15:09]

People Mentioned

Kai & Lok

Dave Werner

Mark Runco

Richard Branson

Tim Ferriss

Gary Vaynerchuk

Ramit Sethi

Jeff Weiner


I’m BAAAAAAACK – with a New Video Series Starting NOW! Enjoy chasejarvis RAW 2.0

Fellow creators, makers, do’ers and lovers of all things internet and beyond…

WELCOME to the first day in a new chapter! I’ve been promising more content is in store, and today I’m on the delivering end of that promise… and happy to be kicking off my newest video series, chasejarvis RAW.

Errrrrr. But wait a minute you say. I know, I know. RAW?!

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll certainly be familiar with a series by the same damn name I started doing way back in 2007 which was a behind the scenes look at commercial photography.

Well. As you know, over the years my work has evolved to not ‘just’ photography, but TV + film, community builder, software/app developer, entrepreneur etc, etc. At the core, it’s all just art…but with this series I want to lean INTO all these things.

NONE of us are just one thing anymore. We’ve all become hyphens…artist-entrepreneur-etc-etc. This NEW cjRAW is fresh content covering any and all topics about just that. You asked for it, and I’m doing my best to deliver. Yes it will be creativity, it will be photography, but it will also be lessons learned. Heartbreaks. Morning routines. It will be gear/products I love, a quick hangout with a guest, CreativeLive, behind the scenes look at X, Y, or Z. You get the picture. Expect episodes to be coming your way 1-2x a week.

[But hey, wait, you say… What about chasejarvis LIVE?! Is RAW replacing LIVE? No. No. Nope. No. RAW is a totally separate thing. chasejarvis LIVE – the original connection on the internet (5 years running now!)to the most creative minds from a zillion fields… that 60-90 minutes with people like Macklemore, Adrian GrenierTim Ferriss to Marc Ecko, Brené Brown to Swiss Miss….people I think are doing really badass work. That’s still happening…and, like RAW, also about to be reborn. Bare with me, hold tight! New episodes coming your way soon.]

So — Episode 1 of chasejarvisRAW kicking off! Tell me what you’d like to see in a future episode in the comments below.

Links from the Episode

ChaseJarvisRAW 1.0:

ChaseJarvis LIVE:

CreativeLive:  ⟶ Award winning online education. Check it out for education on Photography, Design, Audio, Crafts and Money/Life classes.

Music “You Can Have It” by Fresh Espresso:

What’s Covered

Brand new video series: ChaseJarvis RAW [0:43]

What could it be? [1:11]

What it’s not. [2:21]

More like a hyphen [2:51]

How often to expect episodes [3:37]

People Mentioned


Adrian Grenier


Tim Ferriss

Marc Ecko

Brené Brown

Swiss Miss

Come Work with Me! I’m Hiring a Digital / Content Guru

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 10.07.13 AM Jul 8, 2015Ok friends. This post has been a long time coming…you’ll see why a in a bit… but for now, here’s what you need to know.

In short, I’m looking for a high quality, high hustle digital/content guru to be my right hand man / woman supporting my content efforts. It’s true – I’m deep into lining up a new, fresh chapter of content aiming to add value to this community – those already with us and those yet to join our army. There are simply not enough hours in the day for me to create as much content as I’d like to be creating with one slice of a few people’s time (the way I have it set up now…). Between being CEO of CreativeLive and living the life of a working creative, I need someone to focus hardcore on helping me make behind- and in-front-of-the-scenes content that adds value and tells stories … photos, writing, video, podcasts – you name it.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, this isn’t a ‘get your feet wet’ job, or something you’d do on the weekends. This is a job and, honestly, a lifestyle. I hustle, and so must you. My work and play are highly intertwined, and it will be very helpful if yours is too… You are the rare mix of creative AND highly attentive to detail. You love beautiful things – and you also love a bit of data. You will play a critical role in helping me add value and authentically connect with a million+ person community. You found this posting because you’re already a part of this community – that’s a huge head start. You love creativity, photography, and technology. You don’t just want to work 9-5 M-F. I’m a reasonable boss (you will have a life!), but an unreasonable lover of doing cool stuff that has impact when the iron is hot…so I need someone who is available at off hours too and thrives on that. You’ll get unfair access to people, places, and experiences. Put bluntly, I need a aspiring pro who has done much of this before and is fully capable of running with it from early on. It’s immersion in the creative world, the content world, the tech world, the startup world…combined. It’s content and community management, it’s story telling, making, and growing. You already know a lot, but we will learn more together. You might dream in gifs.

This is NOT a photo assisting job. It’s not even close to that – in fact this is not a photo industry job. It’s a creative industry job for sure, but it’s not about photography. It’s not an internship. It’s not a learn to be a photographer, or director, or anything close — you must already be an writer, editor, creator, social media savvy human. You will not be a fake voice for me. You will not pretend to be me. This is not a personal assistant job. You are not schlepping anything. You are a respected teammate, a pro, a good human (see above) who contributes to making the Chase Jarvis + CreativeLive messages/content better than it could be without you – with the larger mission in clear view. Again, this is not weighted toward photography. This is weighted toward community management (see above).

Now if you’re still reading and I haven’t freaked you out…but instead have inspired you to consider a career change, life change or new path…I’d like to hear from you. [Or have a friend who you think we be perfect? Please share this in your social feeds / let them know. I will give you a high five and a pizza if you recommend someone I hire…]

– Co-create and manage my editorial and social calendars – this includes working closely with the community team at CreativeLive
– Be a primary force in producing, editing and sourcing great content to engage the community
– Monitor and help me engage with the community in authentic, playful, sometimes serious ways
– Edit and manage a new
– Analyze outputs and translate anecdotal or qualitative data into recommendations and plans for growth
– Be with me at live events and be able to capture what’s happening on the ground
– Sit in on new product briefings with me and play with the coolest and newest photography, video, drone, tech equipment
– Hang out with me and smart, sometimes crazy, sometimes famous, sometimes not, but always talented people all over the globe. You must be able to be your normal self in these situations
– You’ll be an employee of CreativeLive, you’ll get to be a part of a fast growing 120 person startup with studios in Seattle and San Francisco
– Based on our employment laws, you’ll need to be a citizen of the USA or have a green card already (sorry I know that’s tough for many of you)

MUST HAVES (these are non-negotiable):
– You must have 2-5 years “working” in digital. If you don’t have this experience, please don’t apply. If you’re wondering if you qualify, you probably don’t (just being honest here I hope there’s value in that…)
– You must have taste. A sharp eye for design, photography, etc. You can curate.
– You must know the ins and outs about optimizing for most digital/social platforms – or at least have opinions
– You must be analytical. The most creative people I know have an analytical curiosity as well.
– You must be organized. There will be a lot to do. You have experience prioritizing.
– You can proficiently write as well as shoot/capture + edit basic photography, video, and audio
– You can write well.
– You can communicate well.
– You are solid when there are elements of ambiguity.
– You are a self starter. I love people who think of things before I do. People who can run on their own are awesome
– You are a positive person (there is no room for negative nancies, aggro or jerky people – not even if you’re a genius).
– You are results driven. I don’t care much about output (“I did 50 blog posts!”) – I care about results (“community engagement is up 100% and we’re hitting our goals”)
– You live or are willing to live in either Seattle or San Francisco. Some travel is certain, but you won’t be on the road nearly as much as I am.

NICE TO HAVES (but not required)
– You may have built your own community online
– You may have advanced creative (visual) skills
– You have experience wrangling busy people and getting them to help you. People want to help you win.
– You can translate my late night voice mails, rants, bullet point notes and hallway conversations into compelling content.

Now. If you’re excited about this prospect – I want to hear from you. Please apply at this here link via CreativeLive’s application channel. You will hear back from us if we think it’s a good fit.

And thank you so much dear friends for reading this rant. I’m excited at the prospect of a new teammate joining the cause in the fight for high quality content that helps people lead more creative and fulfilled lives. Cheers to that.

That application link once again is right here…. Apply to work with Chase + CreativeLive here.

Lastly, we’re all in this together. Even if you’re not this person – if you’d be so kind as to share this post, I would be grateful. Hiring this person will help me create more things that – I hope – will add value to your journey.

Thank you.

How to Overcome NO & Beat the System — “Dear White People” Director Justin Simien on #cjLIVE Wed Dec 10

UPDATE: In case you missed it, here’s the re-watch of the incredible episode with Justin Simien, below!

OR if you’re hungry for my audio PODCAST here via iTunes or (be sure to subscribe) or download the MP3 file here. Subscribe to keep up with future episodes and take a peek back all previous shows including performances by Macklemore and the Lumineers, insights from Adrian Grenier from Entourage fame, Tim Ferriss and many others.

It’s my hope that after watching this you…
…are now more inclined to take on a huge creative challenge
…can use Justin’s approach and techniques to overome hearing “no” in pursuit of your dreams.
…have a better sense for the “new” democratized way that films can get made..
…have a better understanding of how to recognize and respond to systematic racism.
…have now experienced another visionary and inspiring creative.

These are just some things that I took away… Surely I missed a bunch that are worth a shout out, of course feel free to let me know!
justin simien chase jarvis live REMINDER: this show is TODAY Wed, Dec 10, at NOON San Francisco time (3pm NYC, 20:00 London) and is broadcast LIVE at Tune in, join the global internet audience + live Q&A w/ Justin Simien. PLUS – I’m giving away a camera today too! Details below – see you soon.

Years ago as an up & coming photographer, I got so damn sick of hearing NO, sick of hearing what I had to BE and what my work had to LOOK LIKE in order to “make it”. Now years later and after some modest success, I…actually, wait, who am I kidding…that banter from the world never really stops, regardless of success or achievement. So the question I started asking myself some time ago WASN’T “how can I avoid those toxic ideas” – but rather “how can I use those toxic ideas, the uncertainty they create, or even my own identity crisis as fuel for my biggest goals + aspirations?” How can I beat the system?

ENTER: Film director, writer, and the artist that everyone in Hollywood/the film scene is talking about right now…my newest hero, Justin Simien. More than anyone I know personally, Justin has centered his emerging career around overcoming the “you can’t do this / make this / be this” and around telling stories about the human condition–HIS condition. And he’s parlayed those efforts from a successful IndieGoGo campaign, to nabbing the Special Jury Award at Sundance, and now a nationwide theatrical release of his amazing (and controversial film) Dear White People — that is IN THEATERS RIGHT NOW (ah-ma-zing trailer below…)

Among a several other challenges –like identity, race, AND financing his dream– Justin was told his script couldn’t become a feature length film…and that commercial success “wasn’t possible” with “that kind of script”. But who’s laughing now? Justin is… he’s laughing all the way to award parties, the late night TV circuit, Variety Magazine’s Top 10 Directors to watch, and…to my couch for the next episode of #chasejarvisLIVE!

WHO: You, me, breakout filmmaker Justin Simien + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, December 10th, 12:00noon San Francisco time (3:00pm NYC time or 20:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

// How to use NO as fuel for your creative fire.
// How to crowdsource your projects from obscurity into success
// How to break free from the assumptions of others and claim your own identity
// The power of flipping the script and walking face-first into what people expect from you
// How to make conversation an integral part of your craft
// How to use your very own life experiences as the biggest accelerant to your art & career

FIRST, in order to reach the largest audience possible, we’re kicking out a couple nice prizes. We’re giving away $200 worth of free CreativeLive course credits to two (2) people. Enter to win by sending out a creative tweet OR Facebook post including #cjLIVE + any url pointing to THIS blog post. Sample for cut + paste…

Overcome “NO” + beat the system! @DearWhitePeople director #JustinSimien on #cjLIVE here–>

Promoting the show as many times as you can starting RIGHT NOW till the show starts on Dec 10. Winners announced LIVE on the show! Be sure to use the hashtag and/or point back to my Facebook so we can track all your entries.

SECOND, we’re giving away the latest and greatest GoPro Hero4 Camera during the live show to one lucky viewer – you gotta tune in to the live show to win….PLUS we’ll hook other people up with a bunch ‘o Dear White People posters signed by Justin himself. Again, you gotta tune in to the LIVE SHOW, day of, for a chance at winning those.

Want to be part of the live in-studio audience? filming here at CreativeLive Studios in San Francisco?? Space is limited, BUT if you’re in the first 40 people, to submit THIS FORM we will email you back within 48 hours with instructions for YOU + 1 GUEST to come hang with Justin and me in person, take some photos, ask your questions, and generally have a ridiculously good time.

LASTLY BUT NOT LEASTLY… our fine friends at –the place where I get all the rental cameras, lenses and equipment for my shoots — have kindly agreed to give all #cjLIVE fans 10% off this month. Use code “CHASE” now till yearend. Enjoy!


justin simien dear white people chase jarvis live

Comfort Is the Enemy of Purpose: How to Pursue Life-Changing Risk

There is no force as powerful as pursuit. It’s a gritty daily grind — but it’s the only way to find out what you’re capable of. Twenty years ago, I ditched medical school and bailed on a PhD in Philosophy to pursue my own calling to become a photographer. Amidst a bunch of head-scratching and doubt from my family and peers, I abandoned a known outcome to dedicate my life to making art. This quest woke me from a sleep state, and has since catapulted me into opportunities I never imagined existed.I test myself by doing, making and being, NOT by checking off boxes or collecting diplomas. By navigating my life in pursuit of my vision, I have – at the core – created my own trajectory.

Over the years, I’ve been lucky to befriend many fellow comrades in adventure — and there’s few if any more prolific than globetrotting entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau. Chris’s discipline and insight are a constant source of inspiration for me. His blog , The Art of Non Conformity is a part of my daily routine, his early books are continual energizers for me, and he’s even joined me on the #cjLIVE couch before.

But today is an especially awesome day, because I get to share Chris’ new book with you on this blog, along with an exclusive interview with the man himself. That’s right, during the time he wasn’t visiting every country on the planet (!!!) or running my favorite gathering of humans (the World Domination Summit), Chris managed to write a game changing new book, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life – and, although it just came out last week – it’s already a New York Times bestseller (no surprise there). I tracked him down between book signings (where he’s visiting 41 cities in the USA alone!!) and talk show appearances to chat about the relationship between pursuit and fulfillment.

Are you ready to be the hero of your own life? Then start by GRABBING CHRIS’ NEW BOOK HERE and then check out our Q&A below for a few actionable takeaways for finding your own life-defining quest.

Hello my friend! Congrats again. Please tell me and the good people here what inspired you to write this book? How did you know this was the next story you needed to tell?

I wanted to tell the story of real-life adventures and modern-day quests. I spent 10 years visiting every country in the world — but the best part was hearing the stories of other people who had also chosen to cultivate the value of adventure in their lives. I didn’t want to just write a memoir, in other words. I wanted to present an agenda: “a quest can improve your life, and here’s how you craft one.”

I love that term, “the value of adventure”. Is this a one-off idea, or are we having a cultural shift towards a new definition of happiness?

I think it’s fair to say that people are thinking differently about their lives. They’re understanding that with all the opportunities available to us, we should put our limited time and energy to good use. We should strive! We should live with urgency!

I’ve often gotten lost during my trajectory toward a goal. And looking back it has been because I’d poorly defined those goals. Your book cuts thru that nonsense (and the challenges that face most people) by making goals a “quest”. What defines a quest?

A quest has a beginning and an end. There’s something you work toward over time—and there are usually multiple stages or milestones along the way. Challenge is the essence of a good quest. It shouldn’t be that easy! Lastly, something unexpected usually happens along the way. You can’t help but be changed through the journey. A quest makes you a better person as you embrace the challenge and adapt to unexpected circumstances.

How do you begin to set “the right quest” – and even the right milestones for a quest — while also allowing room to learn from the unexpected?

You set a big, incredible goal that is also within the realm of possibility. It has to be hard but it has to be achievable. In my case, visiting every country in the world (193/193) was tough. It took ten years! But it wasn’t fundamentally impossible. I knew if I worked hard enough and found a way to overcome the various challenges, eventually I could see it through.

How do you recommend we build pursuit — be it of larger quests or smaller goals — into our everyday lives?

We can choose to live for something we believe in. We can spend our time on things we’re excited by *and* things that bother us. One of my favorite stories in the book comes from Oklahoma, where a young mother decided that she’d raise her family with an international perspective. She couldn’t visit every country in the world, but she decided to cook a meal from every country in the world. Over the three years that the project unfolded, her daughter grew up eating foods from all over and learning about life beyond her doorstep. Then other people started caring, following along with the recipes she posted online.

It became something much bigger than just a small project, even though it was something she could pursue from her home and without a lot of specialized skills.

Is a quest ever really over?

In some ways, yes. Every quest has a goal and a destination. It may be “all about the journey” but there *is* something you’re working toward that you’ll eventually reach. That’s why you should be prepared for the end!

That said, the act of “questing” itself is addictive. Once you go down the road of adventure, it’s hard to quit.

What’s your next quest?

For me, the next quest will be much more about community. I want to focus on serving people who are interested in living unconventional lives. I want to help them to form communities of their own and provide role models of others who’ve done remarkable things.

Ultimately, I think this kind of work will be far more valuable than visiting every country in the world. But I’m also grateful for the extended quest of traveling, because without it I wouldn’t have the community in the first place.

Well said, amigo… before I again recommend you pick up Chris’ book, I’ll leave you with one snippet that I’ve learned from Chris that’s different that all the other goal or quest-setting books out there.

According to Chris, here are the 5 key qualities of a quest:

  1. A clear goal and a specific end point
  2. A clear challenge
  3. A sacrifice of some kind
  4. A calling or sense of mission
  5. A series of small steps and incremental progress toward the goal

The key for me is the sacrifice. What is achievement without sacrifice? In the case of becoming a photographer, I turned my back on becoming a pro soccer player, a doctor, or a professor. There’s gravity is admitting that to one’s self, and for me it was understanding in advance that I’d have to sacrifice that helped me get thru the hardest parts.

So what is your quest? What will you sacrifice to get what you want out of life? Pick up Chris’ book for some inspiration and clarity on how to do this for yourself. It will be the best $11 you could possibly spend to get yourself un-stuck and on to the next big chapter in your life.


Looking for Just 100 Beta Testers — like YOU — for Mylio [New Photo Software]

UPDATE: this opportunity is now full/closed (sorry – that took all of 2 minutes). Thanks to all who showed interest. To those who missed out, I’ll let you know when Mylio is publicly available.

One of my favorite things about living a life at the intersection of artist/photographer + entrepreneur/tech founder is that — through community, experience, network, and passion – I get access to a ton of the newest, emerging IDEAS & PRODUCTS from all over the world. And it’s always my goal to share as much of this with YOU as possible — whether thats the newest cameras, photo apps, gadgets or any number of startups I advise.

So that brings me to the point of this short post: I’d like advance help from YOU on a cool new product, not yet released. I’m advising photo software startup called Mylio (short for My Life Organized) and it is looking for just 100 beta testers.

But what is it? Mylio is an insanely intelligent photo management + basic editing system for photographers who want to spend more time enjoying their photos and less time searching through them. Put bluntly, the first time I used Mylio, I tasked it to organize the 25,000 snapshots across my iPhone, my iPad, and my daily laptop. In no time flat I was looking at images off my first iPhone that I hadn’t seen in years. Once buried images of photoshoot scouting trips to New Zealand and Asia, my old portfolio and my new portfolio were at my fingertips. I even found copies of some of my signature images, long ago buried on a backup of backup somewhere, or so I thought. In short, Mylio had organized my pictures from every corner of my life, my memory, and my daily devices (including more than 10,000 from my iphone alone) and I was viewing them. And it was fast.

But that was my experience. What will yours be?

Here’s how to be a part of this select group of early users: just go here, sign up, and download the application. You will receive an email if you are part of the first 100 and an invitation to participate in a special forum to leave feedback.

Yep, just simply visit and enter your info.

Some top level bullet points about the service:
// Allows you to auto-magically manage, protect and adjust you photo library across multiple computers, tablets, external hard drives, network storage devices, and the cloud. Yes that means all your stuff at your fingertips, all the time.

// Lets you store edit both jpeg and RAW images (on all those devices…I know it’s nuts right? So yes you can edit Raw images on your iPad mini, or whatever)

// It’s designed to handle libraries with up to 250,000 photos without slowing you, your device or your network down, regardless of where you are in the universe.

// It’s for Macs, iPads and iPhones (iPhone 5) and…yes…Windows too.

// Integrates with Lightroom or Photoshop workflow too

SO, again, this is an opportunity to test an early product before it’s made widely available. You could have an amazing experience, or you could find some bugs and struggle to use it. That’s the point. But either way…above and beyond even the gratitude from me for helping out….the first 100 users will receive 6 months of free ongoing use of the product. So there’s that little nugget too. But really it’s way more about being on the test crew and playing around with cool new toys.

One last reminder, I am NOT involved in the daily activity of the company etc at all. I’m an advisor to this startup, so while comments and questions are totally welcome below, please direct your sharing and feedback about the Mylio experience to the Mylio team. Thanks and enjoy.

Everything You Weren’t Taught About Taking Photos: How to Make an Image While Making Tough Decisions on Set (Amidst the Drama of it All)

chase jarvis naked juiceBackground Story.
This image was a part of a global campaign — print, OOH and digital – for Naked Juice in 2011. This image was one image in a series of 6 ads where the goal was to achieve what we were calling “the Naked Lens” — a superwarm, hard backlit look, complete with lens flare and jeweled tones throughout the image. While it might be an overused look these days — lens flares hadn’t yet hitting the mainstream for advertising. The idea was that this look, when combined across all Naked’s imagery, could be an “own-able” look for Naked. You can see a few other images from that campaign here or here on the agency’s site to get the gist of them together.

But I can already hear you — “so what’s so special about this shot, Chase? It’s just a guy walking down the beach with a surfboard!” Fair point, but ironically I chose this image specifically for that point. One of the most popular questions I get asked about photography is… “what’s it like to do X, or shoot with Y, in crazy location Z?” By and large people want to hear the sexy war stories of the profession — and there are plenty. BUT in high-end, broad reach advertising work you’re rarely asked to shoot the sexy or the impossible. More often you’re asked to shoot the “normal” under some unique circumstances… be those circumstances a special lighting situation, a special location, during a special type of weather, etc… and with 100 smart people (agency, client, everybody else under the sun) looking over your shoulder all the while — each with their own opinion on the best way to do something. That was the case for this image, and that’s why I thought it a more worthy share than another sexy war story. IMHO it might be a less sexy story, but it’s a better read and ultimately more valuable for takeaways because it’s more real than most of the shiz you’ll read.

Sometimes even the simple images are hard to get. We were setup on location in Malibu at a beach park we’d permitted after scouting the week before. Key challenge #1 = the weather was NOT good. Overcast, cold, with fog and broken clouds. Certainly no one expects you to control the weather and contracts are written with “weather days” etc, but that’s my point. It DEFINITELY contributes to the mood on set — to everyones mood. All of which not ideal when your #1 objective is a warm, backlit sun flare. To add some complications in there, it was our last shot to get, we’d nailed the previous 5 shooting in LA over the past week. There was a fair pressure to get it done… budget pressure. Nobody likes cost overages and you can imagine the costs of 30+ people staying for another day — client, agency, wardrobe, styling, art department, motorhomes, cancellation fees, etc etc. There was at least another $50 – $100,000 on the line if we didn’t get the shot.

We were all setup several hours early, and a lot of less experienced people on set (client’s do these shoots once or twice a year, the agencies do them a few more, whereas we photographers literally live in this stuff) and the people with the purse strings are getting fidgety. [“Why are we even here? It’s cloudy weather! Shouldn’t we scramble to another location and try to poach the shot down in Venice? My phone says its sunny down there.”]

1. Patience. Scrambling 30 people to a new location that “might” be sunny, to shoot without a permit, is NOT a good idea. Parking alone is a nightmare, let alone all the rest. Besides risking getting shut down from the cops, nobody likes a scramble. Moreover, there is a phenomenon that you should be familiar with… it’s the phenomenon that quite frequently bites people in the ass: chasing light, i.e. “you can see it’s sunny right over there.” This sometimes plays in your favor with a smaller crew and a consistent weather pattern, but we had neither of those.

2. Sun Seeker App. Now I’m in no way affiliated with this $10 Sun Seeker app (and I’ve written about it before), but I use it every day of every outdoor photo shoot I’m on. In short, it’s a must have — it gives you the exact location of the sun in the sky at any given time. In this particular situation, when we’d scouted the location earlier we’d identified that our scene would be backlit the right amount for about 45 minutes before the sun went behind this hill just to the northwest of the beach we were on. BUT BUT BUT given the situation at hand I could tell that there were some breaks in the cloud happening right in the zone where the sun was going to be in an hour… and that — if things worked out perfectly — we might get a few minutes of sun just before it went behind the hill overlooking the beach (that you can see in the background of the image).

3. Making the Tough Call. They say that making hard calls in photography “goes with the pay grade.” But let’s be clear: most of the calls you must make on set — to shoot or not to shoot, to stay or move, to use this lens or that one, this model or that, this camera or that, do this or that or don’t — are based on gut and experience, and all of your gut and experience were cultivated with imperfect data. It’s a feeling combined with experience. Well, that’s what went down here. I had a strong hunch we’d get a minute or two of direct sun beneath the clouds and above the horizon, just right before it dipped away. I’d seen it happen 100 times, and that experience coupled withe the technology that told me where the sun was going to be AND the patience to always wait — to always give yourself a chance (see this post) to make the shot.

So, that’s what we did here. Amidst the voices from client and bystanders and agency and etc., I held the cast and crew at the location… and it worked. The sun turned on like a light switch, burning brightly and warmly for exactly 2 minutes. Not 20 minutes, not 2 hours. 2 minutes. But because we were ready (against everyone else’s desire… “its so cloudy its NEVER going to happen…”) we nailed the shot in a 2 minute window.

Gear & Settings
Camera = Nikon D3s
Lens = Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 ED-IS VR (at 78mm)
fStop = 2.8
Shutter = 1/1600
ISO = 800
Flash = none

Why I chose these settings
I needed the aperture wide open to get the light flare as I wanted it and I needed to be 1000% sure to freeze an action (at least 1/1000) and so that roughly dictated my ISO at 800 given the conditions.

In this case, my direction to the model was much more complex than you might think. First of all, it was very cold — probably in the 50’s and windy, so keeping him warm in between practice run thru’s was a must — can’t have a surfer all goose-bumped out. Second, in order to put him in the right spot on the horizon and in our frame he had to walk in a very unnatural part of the trail, while looking up and keeping a natural expression… no smiles, just contentment. So, the directions weren’t easy, but that’s what makes a pro model a pro. Seriously. Walk “normally” on this root-covered area just off the path with a perfect facial expression, carrying this surf board exactly this way, don’t look where you’re walking, and god forbid don’t look like you’re cold even though you’re wearing no clothes and it’s 50 degrees and windy as hell… aaaaaand now do that 50 times in 2 minutes while I unload 1,000 frames or so. THAT was the direction. #RequiredToGetTheShot

Post Production
In Photoshop we didn’t do all that much. Primarily some light balance between the hot sun and the darker elements (greens, etc.) in the front. The Nikon has great dynamic range, but we focused mostly on tweaking the balance between the brightest bits of the image and the darkest. We warmed it up a tad, we amplified the lens flare and we went a hair more to the jewel side of the tones in the image color to match the creative brief and the other images in the campaign. And Voila!

So there you have it. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter and Fbook with any questions. If you dig this blog post, I only share one of these every so often here… BUT I share one of these case studies every other week to my email list, with a complete breakdown of ever bit of the image making process. If you want to join the thousands of people who receive these special emails, do so on this form here. I will never spam you or share your info. #Respect.

Let’s Hang Out! WIN a Meeting with Me + $500 in Camera Gear + 2 Classes from CreativeLive

UPDATE: The contest has ended and a winner has been randomly selected! And the winner is… David Arthur! David: send us an email to to claim your prize and get that consult scheduled. Everyone else: thank you so much for entering! As always, we’ll do more contests in the future for you to win some rad prizes, so make sure to keep checking in.


Since I started writing this blog in 2006, I’ve always emphasized creativity and education over gear. You’ve heard me say “the best camera is the one you have with you” (ahem…) once or twice. I’ve handed the microphone to friends like Ramit and Tim to help me shout from the mountaintops that a new fancy camera is NOT one of your photography business essentials.

But while ideas and education trump gear, gear is not irrelevant. I’m 110% aware how easy it is for me to preach creativity over the camera when I’m slinging the latest goodies – D4s, Hasselblads, and an Alexa. The right gear HAS actually made many of my photos, videos, etc possible. Literally.

It’s perhaps then, fair to say that progress in one’s photography career / path takes a combo of 3 things. Ideas, education AND some basic minimum of gear.

SSSOOOOOOOOOO…. It’s with all that in mind that I’m kicking off a contest/sweepstakes TODAY that packs all 3 of those things together. Yours truly, along with my friends at Adorama and CreativeLive are each contributing prizes — all 3 prizes which will go to one winner. That can you be you.

1. A personal consult with Chase Jarvis. Yes, a 60 minute Skype, Google Hangout or phone call with yours truly. We can talk about whatever you want to discuss: creative ideas, business ideas, portfolio review, the World Cup — whatever — you name it, I’m yours.

2. Gear. Adorama is kicking in $500 cash (gift card) toward anything on their site. Grab a new iPhone for mobile photography OR apply that $500 to that Canon 5D that you’ve always wanted.

3. Education. CreativeLive is kicking in 2 free classes — online education from the world’s best experts in photo & video education. There’s also business, design, audio courses and more. Learn from Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, Emmy nominated directors, New York Times Bestselling authors. 2 courses valued at $149 each will be yours — for free.

SO, HOW DO YOU WIN? To help wrangle this giveaway, we’re going back to our favorite widget below. It does a few things really well:
1. manages all entries into a secure database and properly randomizes a winner
2. gives you info about how much time is left in the giveaway / how many entries there are etc
3. allows you to earn extra entries by participating more deeply in the community (tweeting, sharing, reading posts etc)

To enter just fill in your info below and follow along. And note: this giveaway is live TODAY all the way through the 7th of July. Winner will be announced on July 8th via my social feed and email. Feedback welcome on the widget if you have any.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all who enter. I can’t wait to chat it up with the winner.

[In the meantime, to start your gearmouth a salivating … you gear-heads can check out this post: Don’t Leave Home Without It Gear Kit.]

How to Charge What You’re Worth — Which is 3 to 10x More Than You’re Getting Today [with Ramit Sethi]

Ok, first thing first…if you’ve already made the move OR are even CONSIDERING turning your passion for photography (or video, or design, or writing or whatever) into a business, do your future self a solid and start following Ramit Sethi, right NOW. Visit his website. Read his blog. Sign up wherever it tells you to sign up. Because Ramit will teach you more about the business side of this industry than you thought you needed to know. His style direct, you’ll get tough love, but he’s great at helping us creatives (eg he has helped me more with my business chops than anyone else) get to where we need to be. He’s been on #cjLIVE before and he’s also shared some thoughts on raising rates.

But today he’s back by popular demand to share a simple one-two approach to setting your prices and upping your earning potential. Pencils ready? Okay, take it away Ramit.

Thanks, Chase.

I recently asked a photographer how she came up with her pricing. She said, “Well… I researched my competition and found that they had similar services, so I charged what they were charging.”

Does that sound familiar? Or worse, do you know people who charge less to “undercut” the competition or “get more business?

Here’s the problem with using “me-too” pricing: You’re signaling to your potential clients that you’re the same as everyone else. Why would they choose you when they can always find someone else charging $10 less?

How can some photographers charge 5x, 10x, even 100x what others do? Are they 100x more talented? Do they have 100x more experience? 100x better equipment?

No! The reason they can charge more is simple: Of course they’re good, but good isn’t enough. They’ve learned to position their services as a premium product. Today, I’ll show you how you can, too.

Step 1: Think like your client
Start by asking yourself, “What are my client’s top 3 problems? What are their concerns when hiring a photographer?” The equipment you use probably isn’t in their top 100 problems.

Clients care about themselves and their problems. By taking the time to make your proposal client-focused, you’re already ahead of 90% of your competition.

In an 90-minute interview I did with Chase, we cover tons of examples on how to use this idea. See the 24:00 minute mark where I share exactly how to “read their mind” using a simple technique you can do in the next 5 minutes.

Once you’re in your client’s head and can address their burning needs, price becomes a mere triviality.

THIS is how some creative people can charge 2x, 5x, even 20x what others charge. Yes, they’ve honed their skills, but being good isn’t enough. They know how to focus on their clients, not just their equipment.

Step 2: Use these words to say “no” to low-value clients
One key is learning how to be confident in your own value. Part of getting paid more is believing you’re actually worth more and saying NO to low-paying jobs. Sometimes, we feel grateful for ANY job, especially when we love what we do. This leads to accepting less than you know you’re worth.

The truth is, you’ll get more clients and better clients who respect and value what you do if you’re confident and stick to your rates. Check out this tested word-for-word script to see what I mean:

CLIENT: “What’s your hourly rate?”

YOU: “I’ve actually changed my business so I only do weekly engagements now. This helps me deliver more in-depth results (for example, helping a recent client do ____). The rate for that is $X per week, and that includes A, B, and C.”

CLIENT: “Can’t we just get you for a few hours?”

YOU: “Unfortunately not. I’d love to help but I focus on high-value projects, and those typically take a minimum of a week to understand and execute. The good news is I’ve never had a client who wasn’t happy with the results, even if they originally wanted me for just a few hours. And based on everything you’ve told me, we definitely have more than enough work to keep ourselves busy during that timeframe. The potential upside of Project X is very large.”

CLIENT: “OK, fine. Um… could you do $Y per week instead?”

YOU: “I typically don’t discount my rates except in special cases. If $Y is your budget, I’d be willing do it only if we were to remove either B or C from the project scope. Which would you prefer?”

CLIENT: “Never mind, we can do $X.”

YOU: “Great! I’ll follow up with you soon with next steps.”

Do you see what happened there? Many of us fear we’ll scare away clients by charging premium prices. In fact, low prices are a bigger red flag in your clients mind. Sticking to your higher rate communicates that you’re more valuable than the competition, so the client will lean toward hiring you.

You can even add value to your current clients while raising your rates. The key is to create a win-win situation for you and the client.

Check out this video on how to raise your rates and thrill the client, including a word-for-word script you can use when telling your client about the new rate. You’ll learn:

  • 1:00 — The 3 things you must tell your clients about a rate change
  • 2:07 — How to get clients excited about the upcoming changes (even if it includes a rate increase)
  • 2:30 — A simple way to ensure your clients love you, even if you have to part ways

So how did a graphic designer convince me to pay more? Instead of focusing on design-specific concerns like typography and alignment, he nailed my primary concerns as a client. Click here to find out exactly what those were in an interview I did on pricing here.


For more information and help with negotiating your rates and navigating the ins and outs of creative business, check out Ramit’s CreativeLive course, Money + Business For Creatives. Make sure also to check out Ted Leonhardt‘s course on Negotiation for Creatives, Ann Rea‘s course Make Money Making Art, and CreativeLive’s entire catalog of business courses for creatives.

Master Your Fear & Find Your Voice [with My Homie Tim Ferriss]

Okay, so maybe you haven’t created your New York Times Best Seller that’s sold millions of copies, and maybe you haven’t won the Chinese kickboxing championship or hold the Guinness Record for most consecutive tango spins, but there’s one all-important thing that you have in common with my pal Tim Ferriss….fear.

You might think a wildly successful author and innovator doesn’t experience fear like a “normal person,” but as Tim revealed here, it’s exactly that emotion that is at the heart of his success. Of all the liquid gold Tim shared with me there are 3 important subjects that stood out. I mined these shiny gems to present here with some “homework,” to get you moving in the right direction.

1. Mastering fear: fear is a creativity killer
2. Finding your voice: your voice is a creativity stimulus
3. Giving it away: sharing your knowledge is essential to your professional growth

Here’s the first of three exchanges we had on these topics:

1. Defining Your Fear

CJ: I think it’s really, really important for the folks at home to know about your take on fear. It’s basically useful in any genre of any pursuit or passion. Talk to me about how you view fear, because there’s so much fear in the photo industry. People are afraid to make mistakes. They’re afraid to get called out. They’re afraid to do shitty work. They’re afraid to be called out on something and a lot of that keeps creative people in a little shell.

Tim Ferris (TF): Fear is a real driver, and it has been for me as well, in the past, whether it was in athletics or writing or academia, whatever it might have been. I realized that it’s a driver based on risk, and that’s when people define risk or should define risk as the possibility of an irreversible negative outcome. What I mean by that is just like most people fail to achieve their goals because they are poorly defined, most people are prevented from doing things based on fear because it’s poorly defined.

[We’ve all been told a thousand times that goals become infinitely more achievable when they have been written down in as much detail as possible. Defined goals are reachable goals. But defined fear? This was something new.]

TF: So what I tend to do if I find myself paralyzed or indecisive, is I’ll write down all the worst-case scenarios. I mean really get high def in the absolute specific worst-case scenarios. Then the second column is…anything I could do to prevent those specific items. Then, if they happen, what I could do to reverse those or minimize the damage from each of those outcomes. You find once you do that that the worst-case scenarios are very seldom as bad as you have envisioned.

It’s just the nebulous, dark phantasm of a bad outcome that prevents you from taking action. What you actually realize: oh, worst-case scenario, I go back to my last job. Worst-case scenario, I take a part-time job doing this. Worst-case scenario, I have to suck it up for a month or to do twice as much work with that one client I don’t like, and then this. Then it really doesn’t seem as scary and you can actually move ahead with it.

Brilliant. Actionable.

Just like most people fail to achieve their goals because they are poorly defined, most people are prevented from doing things based on fear because it’s poorly defined.

Your Homework on #1

You’re probably sitting on a great idea right now. Maybe it’s a short film project that requires you to quit the desk job and start an indiegogo campaign. Maybe it’s a photojournalism road trip across America documenting classic diners. It doesn’t matter. The point is you’re sitting on it. Why? Fear, probably. Right?

If this is you, here’s what you do:
List ALL the possible worst-case scenarios. be specific and then for each scenario list all the possible steps you can take to prevent that scenario.

Doesn’t look so bad anymore, does it? Boom!

2. Finding Your Voice

When he set out to write 4-Hour Workweek, Tim knew he had great ideas, but we all have great ideas, right? For an author (or would-be author, as the case was for Tim) the challenge was turning those ideas into actionable advice and doing so in an authentic way. In other words, he had to find his voice. Turns out Tim’s approach is applicable across many disciplines:

TF: I first ended up with this really pompous like Princetonian shtick that I was doing. Shit, too. Like four or five-syllable words. That was horrible, so I scrapped it, and then I went to like Looney Toons/Three Stooges slapstick, which was also horrible. Scrapped that. So I threw away four, five chapters and had two glasses of wine and sat down and said I’m going to write this like I would write an email to my best friends. That’s how it started. That’s how I found my voice.

Great approach, right? Stop burdening yourself with the prospect of a worldwide audience. Present your work as if to your friends. This applies to writers, photographers, musicians, etc. You’ll be lest apt to force a voice that isn’t yours, and you’ll probably be less apt to see your creative cogs seize up under the pressure. If you have true and trusted friends, I’m betting the bank that you already have an authentic voice within that circle. Use THAT voice to tell your story, whatever it is.

Your Homework for #2

Look back through social posts, photos, your work etc. that you shared with or sent to friends and family and find the little ticks and tickles that are truly unique to your vision, your special sauce, your mojo. Now apply this to your future work.

Sounds simple, but it’s harder than you think. But you’ll thank me (us) when it’s done.

3. Give [Some of] It Away

To a large extent we photographers make our living because of intellectual property rights. The idea of putting our best work on Flickr without our rights reserved is antithetical to what we know—or think we know—as businesspeople.

But Tim made a great point about releasing some of your best work “into the wild” even though there’s no promise and very little prospect for being paid for it. It’s about getting eyeballs on it:

TF: I have a friend, Eben Pagan, a really fascinating guy who’s built up a very successful online content business…and he talks about moving the free line. Meaning giving away, in many cases, your best content as a way to introduce people to your work and to drive people back to your other work. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone onto Flickr and found a photograph—now I’m not saying that everything needs to be Creative Commons—but I’ve wanted to introduce someone’s photograph to a few million people and I choose not to, of course, because it’s all rights reserved. Instead I go to Creative Commons search and then sort by most interesting and I always find amazing stuff. But I always credit and if you were to simply take let’s say two or three of your best pieces and make them Creative Commons, then people like me, and there are plenty of them, hundreds of them, would be able to use that to help promote you.

CJ: Yeah, and you know there’s a big, there’s a big discussion that’s been going on for years now, again, historically photography’s been a fear-based protective, very closed loop, because intellectual property is how photographers make their living. So that’s been a very dicey conversation, and I’ve been at the middle of it several times. I remember five or six years ago talking about Creative Commons with Larry Lessig…as the marketplace unfolds and emerges into this new era, photographers specifically are faced with a decision on how and where to share your work. So it’s interesting to know that you notice that stuff.

TF:…I was traveling with Matt Mullenweg at one point. Matt Mullenweg, genius of a guy, good friend of mine who is known as the lead developer of WordPress. Matt was largely responsible for a lot of that code base in the beginning days, and now runs and Automattic. Really smart guy. We were on the plane, and I remember being really stressed out at this point…because The 4-Hour Work Week was on RapidShare. It was on all these different Torrent sites, and I was like, “Oh, God, how are artists going to be incentivized and writers going to be incentivized to produce work if this is happening?” And he said, “The people who are downloading your stuff on Rapture are never going to buy your book in the first place. They’re not your paying audience, so you’re getting additional eyeballs on your work for free. They would never buy it anywhere.”

I think photography, we could get really futuristic about it, but I do think there are ways that photographers can maintain a better user experience with the paid version, whatever form that takes. So I’d encourage people to think of unleashing some of their best content into that wild, whether it’s Creative Commons or [the] pirated world, because those people aren’t your customers anyway. They’re not the people who are going to spend a $100,000 to get a blown-up print and put on their living room.

Give it away for free. I’ve used this platform to highlight passion projects left and right, from Jay Shells and his Rap Lyric Street Sign project to Andres Amador’s sand art. You MUST get your work seen by the world. And there will always be those who download/use/distribute your work for free, possibly illegally. But this is a risk you have to be willing to take in order to get it seen by those who WILL pay for it.

Your Homework for #3

Assuming you have some sort of body of work, it’s time to get it out in the world. And not the factory seconds, either. Here’s what needs to happen:

Identify 3-5 of your best photos/songs/poems and 3 websites where your work is most likely to be seen + distributed (Flickr, Soundcloud, etc.) Then upload your work under Creative Commons or otherwise.

Controversial? Only if you want to stay in your rut.

And that’s that. You’ve got your assignments; you’ve got no more excuses. If you’ve got a hankering for a little more Tim Ferriss in your life, check out the full cjLIVE show below, which aired back in August of 2011. We also recently recorded an episode of Tim’s podcast in collaboration with CreativeLive. Check that out here. Otherwise it’s time to get to work.

Get Tim’s books The 4 Hour Work Week here and 4 Hour Body here and the 4 Hour Chef here.

Hands-on with My Favorite Still Photography Camera

Hello camera geeks, gearheads and… well… those of you who just want the best tools for your trade. You heard right, I’m back with another unboxing, this time of the hotly anticipated Nikon D4s — generously sent to me to by my friends at DPReview for a hands-on first impression, and it’s available from my homies/gear partners at Adorama. So here goes…

First impressions: that familiar Nikon gold box looks pretty much like all the Nikon boxes I remember, going all the way back to the F5 (that was a film SLR – remember those?). In fact, the only time I can remember Nikon changing its SLR — “D” or otherwise — boxes was for the Nikon Df, which was flat, matte black, and kinda cool looking. This makes sense – as the chassis for all these top-of-the-line pro cameras have basically been the same or very similar for a decade.

Get past all of the standard straps, warranty cards, manuals and trinkets where… wrapped in cellophane, the D4s has the same heft as the D4 I’ve carried around for a few years now, just with that fancy new “s” after the name.

Nikon D4s and Nikon D4 comparison - front view

The “s” models are typically feature updates, not body or appearance changes, so the size and ergonomics of the D4s are basically identical to its predecessor. There are a couple of touch-ups; the control sticks on the back have a bit more texture to them and the battery door is shaped differently, but that’s about it. If you want to be super-picky about it, the D4s is 60g heavier than the D4.

Does that add up to new features? The short answer = a few nice upgrades that add value to the camera.

Power up this sexy beast and you notice right away that the screen looks a bit nicer than the D4’s display. That might be because mine’s been through a few knocks and bumps, but for those of you keeping an eye on specs, Nikon has added the ability to fine-tune the color on that LCD. Nerdy but nice to have when showing clients over your shoulder.

What else? Well, trigger that shutter and you might be able to detect one extra frame in that burst every second. Nikon has upped the max number of frames the D4s can take per second with autofocus active from 10 to 11. And the buffer is larger.

Nikon D4s and Nikon D4 comparison - rear view

And speaking of autofocus, Nikons says their focus algorithms have been tweaked to accommodate that extra frame per second, and is less likely to get distracted by objects crossing in front of the camera. There’s also something called the Group Area AF, where you can designate a cluster of 5 points to focus on, rather than just one. The guys over at DPReview have more details on this, but any improvement to AF is good news.

There are plenty more changes on the inside, but that new sensor is probably the one that’s got everyone’s attention. Nikon has redesigned the 16MP full-frame CMOS sensor and it’s now capable of — hang on to your pants, folks — a whopping ISO 409,600 in Hi4 mode. Daaaaaamn.

That is NOT a typo. I checked.

Of course, 409,600 ISO is going to be pretty noisy, but hey, you’re going to get those shots of the inside of your lens cap now!

For video shooters, that new sensor has one more trick up its sleeve; combined with the new Expeed 4 image processor, it can now deliver 1080p video at 60p. That’s right – slow motion has finally come to the Nikon flagship. At freakin’ last! Also, if you shoot timelapses, the maximum shot count has gone up to 9999 from 999 and there’s a new smoothing feature for you as well. I don’t even know what that means, but I’m told it’s an improvement. Let’s just go with it.

If you were hoping that Nikon would ditch the XQD slot for another CF or even an SD slot, you’re out of luck; the XQD slot is still there. One bit of good news with regard to storage, though; you can now record video to internal storage while at the same time capturing it via HDMI to an external recorder, something that wasn’t possible earlier.

So there you have it. These are the tweaks that caught my eye — there are, as I said in the video above, a handful of others. The guys at DPReview do the whole multi-page review shebang, so you should really check out their definitive review. I’m just a 15 year pro with a passion for great cameras, not a lab geek. Those guys can really get under the hood. Hopefully, a combo of their detail and my gut and experience is a balance that helps you decide if this upgrade is a worthy one for your hard earned coin.

Final thoughts: this thing is every bit as solid as Nikon’s other flagships. I like it when cameras get upgrades. This is not a revolutionary update — the “s” series don’t fall into that category — but it’s a solid update nonetheless. The internal improvements make it even more useful to speed junkies and videographers, and the insanely high ISO will continue to make it even more appealing to photojournalists, and the other little changes like the battery, buffer, and RAW size improvements are quite welcome too. I am adding 2x of these to my gear bags and relinquishing their predecessors to the camera heavens (actually to the used market ;) )

As always, thanks for watching and head to Adorama here for more info. And feel free to add your thoughts about what you saw in the comments below, on my Facebook page, Twitter, or Google+.

Essential Photo & Video Gear Review — My Detailed, Piece-by-Piece, Don’t-Leave-Home-Without-It Gear Breakdown

I skip 99% of the gear gabbing you’ll find on other photography sites, primarily because I’m more interested in the creative side but also because so many other sites already do it really well. I make the occasional exception, like when a new toy falls into my hands before anyone else, or when I feel some industry hype building around an imminent release that needs to be tempered with some realistic expectations.

I did this popular review of my entire kit and how to pack it for travel…um…but that was 6 YEARS AGO. So as you might imagine, a lot has changed. Between that older video post and the number of times I get asked to highlight my fav gear — I figured it was high time for an update in one single vid. Therefore, I present you dear friends & readers a complete breakdown of my essential “working” photo kit AND the kit that we use to make all our behind-the-scenes videos, plus a few extras. Hope you dig – questions / comments encouraged. I’ll be all over it like white on rice.

In this video, I broke my kit into four sections: Still photo gear, [behind-the-scenes] video gear, data management gear and gear extras. For both the still kit and the video kit, I always roll with two of each body (Nikon D4 and Canon 5D Mark III) and 8 additional batteries for each. This basically gives me enough juice to last a week.

On the data management side, you’ll notice we also double up on our drives, both for the road kit and back at HQ. [Side note: if you’re traveling with two drives on the road, keep them separate — separate vehicles, separate hotel rooms, etc. That way if one crashes and burns, you’ve got back up.]

For gear extras, we have a few supports to choose from (always carbon fiber), some choice audio gear and a real sexy slider from Rhino Camera Gear that’s affordable and quite portable.

REMINDER and to be extra clear…in both photo & video scenarios what we’ve shared is the BASE kit – the kit that goes everywhere without exception. This is gear I think is worth investing in if you are a working pro. It’s NOT my complete gear list and it’s not the complete solution for every gig –we almost always add speciality pieces for particular assignments– but I thought we’d get too deep into the woods and it woulda made a video that was an hour long if we reviewed all that non-essential, non-“core” stuff. So we kept it focused as we could. Here it is. The camera kit I have with me on 99% of the commercial shoots I do:

Nikon D4 – My go-to for stills since it first made its appearance in early 2012.

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S Zoom Nikkor Lens

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S Nikkor Lens

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR II Nikkor ED-IF Lens

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S FX Nikkor Lens

Nikon SB-910 TTL AF Shoe Mount Speedlight Flash

Canon EOS-5D Mark III

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AutoFocus Wide Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Autofocus Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM AutoFocus Wide Angle Lens

Promise Technology Pegasus J2 512GB SSD Thunderbolt Storage Solution, Up to 750 MBps Read Speed

Promise Technology Pegasus J4 2.5″ 2TB Thunderbolt Hard / Solid State Drive Enclosure

Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Pro 3.2″ High Resolution Monitor

Tiffen 77mm Variable Neutral Density ND Filter

Manfrotto MVH500AH Professional Fluid Video System, Carbon Legs

Manfrotto Kit with 190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber Tripod and MH054MO-Q2 Head

Manfrotto 057 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with Rapid Column

Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro On-Camera Microphone

Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder

Sennheiser EW122PG3A Wireless Kit

So that’s it. If you look through my BTS posts and videos, there’s a damn good chance you will see some combo of this gear in use. Time-tested; Jarvis-approved.

Special thanks to Adorama for helping me assemble my kit.

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