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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.

WHAT THIS IS.
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.

WHAT THIS IS NOT.
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…]

NON-EXHAUSTIVE BULLET POINTS FOR THIS JOB:
– 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 chasejarvis.com
– 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.

Switch It Up: On the Other Side of the Lens with Cassey Ho.

I’ve spent most of my life behind the camera, but I occasionally end up out in front of it too. Like the buzz I get talking with inspirational pals, or when I want to laugh/cry/hide under a rock, or other times still when I get to launch a thing or two that the world hasn’t seen before.

And then there’s the ‘other side of the lens’ stuff I get the opportunity to as a…um…”influencer” (wack term / really awkward). I say no to 99% of that stuff (esp cringe-worthy things) UNLESS it has something to do with what I love – like say the Seahawks in the Superbowl. Or in this case where I said yes to this #ad for Ford because (as someone who is obsessed with lifelong learning) my job was literally to spend all day learning pilates from rockstar internet pal/celeb Cassey Ho. What I missed, however, was the memo saying that I also had to…um…TEACH a class.

Respect to Ford for encouraging people to step out of their comfort zones and for sponsoring this learning series.

VIDEO: Unboxing The New DJI Global Inspire 1 Drone

You my dear friends all know the drone photography + cinematography, UMAV’s, quadcopters, whatever the hell you wanna call them is all the rage these days. You don’t need me to tell you that. But even I couldn’t have predicted when I was first playing around with this stuff back in 2008, 09 and 2010 how fast this technology was going to blow up (figuratively). And…well… I’ve gotten to know the fine folks from DJI Global, attended their launch event in SF end of last year…and lo and behold, I last week scored their newest machine–The Inspire 1– and holy crap. #nice stuff.

Even if you’re not a pro, the DJI Global Inspire 1 drone (or unmanned aerial vehicle, but that’s a debate for another day!) is going to make you feel like one. For the first time (with any degree of quality), this sexy beast has its own camera, made by DHI, just for UAV filming. There are lots of other bits too…some great, and the jury’s out on some other features… My rants and ramble are in the above video, but here’s a quick list o’ specs:

  • 4k camera mounted on the drone
  • 12mp stills
  • 1.2 mile radio range
  • 3-axis gimbal
  • Wireless 720p HD live view back to earth via the mobile app, so you always know what it’s seeing
  • GPS to help guide it — and find it, in case you’re a bad pilot
  • Indoor mode with spacial awareness
  • Average flight time: Between 18 and 22 minutes

Other hot features on the Inspire 1 that make it sweet? Frickin lazers! Ok, just kidding. But it’s got landing gear that retract and expand on takeoff and landing, without sacrificing the 360-degree view of the camera. It’s also got an optional double-remote feature, so one person can be manning the UAV, while the other pilot is aiming the camera itself. How cool is THAT? That arrangement most closely mimics the approach the professional drone operators have been using for years. Now it’s in your hands.

Anyway, there’s more deets in the video above. And I presume we’ll be seeing more from upcoming competitors like GoPro, Adorama, 3D Robotics, SteadiDrone and many others.

Check out this unboxing video above to hear my take and get a feel for how hearty (and sexy) this craft is.

[Any questions on this? Hit me in the comments. Have other fav drones or optimistic with one coming out? Chime in as well…]

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!
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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 http://www.chasejarvis.com/live. 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 www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

A FEW KEY CONCEPTS WE’LL COVER ON THE SHOW
// 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

WITH THAT IN MIND….HELP US REPRESENT THE SHOW AND WIN STUFF.
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–> http://bit.ly/12wsJ5p

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.

THIRD – JOIN US LIVE IN THE SF STUDIO FOR FILMING!!
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 BorrowLenses.com –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!

SEE YOU LIVE ON THE INTERNETS OR IN PERSON ON DECEMBER 10TH!!

justin simien dear white people chase jarvis live

Let’s Hang Out! WIN a Meeting with Me + $500 in Camera Gear + all of CreativeLive Photo Week for Free

UPDATE: The contest has closed and we have a winner! Steve Groves has been randomly selected – and he scores the 1:1 with yours truly, $500 from Adorama and the entire PhotoWeek 2014 from CreativeLive. Stevo: send an email to production@chasejarvis.com to claim your prize and get that consult scheduled. Everyone else: thank you so much for entering!
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I can point to a handful of in-person meetings that changed the trajectory of my career in photography. It’s with that in mind that I’ll ask if you remember the time one photographer scored a private consultation with yours truly + $500 and free photo education?

Well, let’s you and me hang out. Given that a)I think I might have some insights to get you un-stuck in your career / review your portfolio / make some recommendations on approach to creativity and business; and b)the last giveaway was a hit; and c)it’s frickin Photo Week right now… we’re going in for round #2. Yep – I’m giving away another 60 minute 1:1 consultation with yours truly, along with $500 from Adorama, plus all of Photo Week from CreativeLive which is 6 days worth of photo instruction from many of the world’s top instructors. How to enter? Everything you need to know is right here …

HOW DO YOU WIN? Once again, we’re using our favorite widget app to collect all of your entries. It does a few things really well:
1. manages all entries into a completely 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.)

WHAT THE WINNER GETS.
1. A personal consult with Chase Jarvis. You know the drill. If you’re local to SEA or SF, we can do lunch or whatever. If you’re remote it’s a 60 minute Skype call, Google Hangout, or phone call with yours truly. We can talk about anything and everything under the sun — big ideas, portfolios, what your favorite lens is, how to start that business you’ve been meaning to start, etc. Or my favorite flavor gummy bear. You decide.

2. Gear. Adorama are being their usual badass selves and giving me $500 cash (gift card) toward anything on their site that I get to give to one of you. Ideal for helping you get that new lens, body, drone, or even sweet gear for mobile photography.

3. Education. CreativeLive is kicking in ALL of the classes from PhotoWeek — the world’s largest photo education event via best experts in photo & video education. If purchased separately, these courses would add up to more than $800 bucks.

To enter just fill in your info below and follow along. And note: this giveaway is live TODAY all the way through Sept 29th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday Sept 30 via my social feed and email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all who enter! I can’t wait to chat it up with the winner and give out a handful of rad prizes. Hit me up with any questions or notes below or on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Behind-the-Scenes Look at My ALS #IceBucketChallenge Shoot [Complete with Gear, Details & Photos]

Chase Jarvis Ice Bucket Challenge BTS

Hi Friends. Hopefully you saw my #IceBucketChallenge video and donated or participated in the #ALS internet meme (and were able to keep sight of the real target of raising awareness + $$ for ALS!)

To be clear we were just goofing from a production standpoint, but since there was some cinematic playfulness and we used a bit of photo tech for my icy challenge, I got a bunch of questions / comments from readers asking me to detail our production. So here’s a quick breakdown, including approach, gear, setup, settings + video editing, complete with BTS photos and a final parting shot. Follow-up questions & comments welcome…
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Approach
First, since time and resources were limited we resolved to keep this shoot as low weight as possible. So even though we busted out some fun toys, the whole thing — concept, setup, shoot, edit, and post to the internet — took place in a matter of hours.

Photo Gear
_Main Camera: Nikon D4s with 24-70 2.8
_Camera settings = ƒ8 / 1/250th sec / ISO 200
_Manfrotto 057 Carbon Fiber Tripod (Ball Head-RC4)
_Additional Nikon D4 (for behind the scenes’ photos) with 12-24mm 2.8 on another Manfrotto tripod
_3x PocketWizard Plus III, 1x (Chase’s hand), 1x (On camera), 1x Lighting Pack.
_Broncolor Scoro Pack
_Broncolor Beauty Dish
_Broncolor 100×100 Soft Box
_Chimera M Soft Box
_3x Broncolor 1600 Unilite Strobe heads
***All this gear is detailed here on the gear page, with specs and prices avail here from our pals at Adorama.

Video Gear
_Panasonic GH4 for tight, slow motion 96FPS
_Panasonic GH3 for wide
_10x GoPros for the bullet time array
_2x Manfrotto 545GB Tripod (526 Head)
_3x LED Panels 100W each
***All this gear, complete with specs and prices avail here from our pals at Adorama

Other Gear
_12ft Black Backdrop
_20x25ft Black Visqueen
_10ft Ladder
_Water from the lake
_4x bags of Ice
***This was stuff we had on hand, except the ice which we got from a convenience store and the visqueen, which we picked up at a local hardware store.

Here’s a quick sketch and some photos of how we laid this all out, with the detailed play by play below.

chase jarvis diagram

The Details
_The main camera prepared for photos was a Nikon D4S with 24-70 2.8 rigged in a way it could be shot by yours truly using 3x PocketWizard Plus III, one in the camera set at Channel 1 (needs N10-ACC-D200 cable), one in hand @ Channel 1 as well, and one with the Broncolor Scoro pack @ Channel 2, the camera was shooting 9 frames per second, and the Scoro was able to deliver speed and power consistently.

_Video was shot using the GH4 for Slow Motion 96FPS at angle while GH3 was shot straight towards Chase.

_The “Bullet Cam” was a rig made using 10 GoPro’s affixed to 2x grip arms held by 2x light stands (similar to how we did in the Samsung campaign video) and then configured in a semi circle just below the video and still cameras. All of them were shooting video and were synced later with a clap! done prior to the action moment recorded. In post we selected one key action moment and grabbed a single frame from each only the same action frame were selected from the footage of them all for the final edit.

_A bucket of roughly 40 Liters of water was used with water from nearby Lake Union (so not to waste) and 4 bags of Ice (the first 2 melted rather quickly, so we re-upped with 2x more.)

_Lighting was composed of three lights for both photos and video. For video, 3 LED Panels at 100W Each, 2x behind and to my side for the Rim light / to backlight the water / define it off the black backdrop, and one at 45º angle medium/high in height on left of the subject for fill. And for photos we used 3 light positiioned very similarly to video lights to cut down on the variance in lighting schematic. We used 2 medium softboxes behind to the side for the rim light, and a beauty dish above me, centered (beauty is not the word I’d use in this case…). Strobes were powered using Broncolor A4S that delivered 9FPS consistently.

_For the set, we used 2x large light stands to hold up the 12ft Black backdrop, a 20x25ft Black Visqueen that covered almost the entire set’s ground to contain all the water, for that we raised the sides so the water would be kept inside.

Then we let ‘er rip, and you saw the results in motion. We pulled the edit together in Adobe Premier and posted to YouTube within a handful of hours, start to finish. Reminder the vid is here or embedded below to watch again / share

Quick edit of one of the still photos below. Thanks again. Hope you were able to donate and spread the word. Hit me with questions or comments below.

chase jarvis als ice bucket

And again…

Happy to Take on Some Ice Water for the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

I know, I know! I’m two weeks late for the #ALS #icebucketchallenge…I hate being late for an internet meme, but this is obviously way more/bigger/important than a meme… In this case, as you know by now, the world is raising awareness and money for ALS research. I’ve donated to ALS for not hitting my 24hr mark… and it’s never too late for a good cause, so bring on the ice anyway, per the vid above.

I explain in more detail about my tardiness in the vid above, but want to thank everyone who nominated me. Lots of lovely people/folks/groups throughout the innerwebs (thanks to Adorama, Kai and DigitalRev, Brian, several on the CreativeLive crew, and many others that justifiably beat me up via Twitter. I hear ya ;)

We banged out the video above and wrangled a few playful vid effects to keep it fun. And of course, I also get to nominate some folks to do this chilly challenge, so here they are below:

Actor and pal Adrian Grenier (@adriangrenier)
Homie Travis Rice (@TravRice) – the best snowboarding in the world.
And… hardcore Mike Horn (@ExploreMikeHorn) – the gnarliest active explorer on earth.

Get to it, you three, while I go dry off and warm up.

Lastly! I shot stills of my dousing. If you donate to ALS and share your receipt with me online in any way — even for donating a dollar — I’ll share with you the ridiculous image via a download or something so you can poke fun at me, privately or in public.

As always, if you have questions/comments on the video or anything for that matter… post em below. And forever feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, and G+.

I have lost a family member to this disease, so it’s extra close to me personally. I can’t overstate how phenomenal the response to the #IBC has been – I hope you’re interested in supporting awareness and research has been piqued.And please, if you can afford it — ice bucket or not — please visit the ALS Association website and make a donation. Thanks and #love.

Aerial Landscape Photography Porn – Iceland Style

Over the years I’ve kicked out a bunch of vids shooting from the skies on commercial gigs, like here, here, here and here for starters. But occasionally, on the heels of a commercial assignment based out of a particularly stunning location, I’ll treat myself to some heli time shooting my ongoing aerial fine art project (personal work with dose of adventure). In fact, I’ve documented these adventures before — like here in New Zealand. I even did a how-to shoot aerial photography thingie here from Belize… but truth be told, all this flying never gets old.

And so it stands to reason that I’m rolling out another bit of aerial photo porn today in hopes of bringing a little joy/beauty to your day AND of course celebrating a quick hit to a gorgeous little corner of Iceland. Please enjoy. As always, taking your questions and comments below, answering those that I can muster.

Like more of these vids? Subscribe to my Youtube Channel here
Or signup for my weekly VIP email photo lovenote right to your inbox.

[And, lastly, before you eeeeeven dismiss this post/video and say “This is so outrageous, when will I ever get to shoot from a helicopter,” I’ll just say that every photographer who has ever shot from a chopper has said those same words at some point… only to find themselves at a future date pulling heavy G turns and shooting from a blue sky somewhere. You can probably even hitch a sightseeing ride for less that it costs to rent a lens for the weekend, so take it all with a grain of salt and enjoy. And, of course, a HUGE shoutout to my guy Big Chocolate for the beats.]

12 Secrets for Unlocking Your Most Creative Work

A lot of my breakthrough creative thoughts come to me when least expected. I’ve talked about “finding creativity” and “creative inspiration” all over the damn place… on podcasts like this and this (twice for example) or given a keynote on it here at SWSW.

That said, I’ve also learned from an entire life in the trenches as an artist what DOESN’T contribute to them (abusing myself, bad head space, partying too much), but more importantly, what does… I’ve learned that creative inspiration is something that can be directly CULTIVATED by putting yourself in a fertile environment. So I’m going to let ‘em rip. Here’s MY personal recipe — my day to day list — of things, states, and activities for cultivating maximum creative inspiration… and I’m guessing it’s different (and more achievable) than you think it is…

1. Keep a Schedule
This one is super counter intuitive to most — and why I’m leading with it here… For nearly my entire life I thought that schedules were meant to keep my creative self DOWN… that a schedule was the devil. That you had to live a life like Jim Morrison from the Doors to find creative inspiration. Come to find out that doing what you can to keep a schedule is supremely helpful for your creative brain. And I don’t mean 9-5… but I do mean some semblance of a schedule. Taking photos every day, writing first thing every morning, headphones on and painting from midnight to 2am every day…whatever works for YOU is what I mean. But the more you can schedule worktime, the better. Science tells us this, but so does my own lifetime of experience. The funny part? To this day it’s still my biggest challenge.

2. Meditation
I spoke briefly about this with Austin Kleon on cjLIVE and with Tim Ferriss recently, but trust me: it’s a doozy. Every day, I put 20 minutes aside when I wake up in the morning and before dinner at night to sit quietly and just be still. I practice Transcendental Mediation (TM), but I’m not recommending a particular kind in this post here… I’m just saying that meditation works. It’s made the single biggest difference in my life’s ability to perform at a high level and run the kind of gnarly schedule that I run. What’s the effect? Clarity. My ideas are more clear than ever before. You’ve heard athletes like Michael Jordan talk about seeing the game around them develop seemingly in slow motion? Well that’s what happens to the chaos of a packed life when one meditates. This are infinitely more manageable, things are less prone to get me off my game — and … here’s the kicker… my creative thoughts come more freely. I find it 100x easier to get into that creative “flow state” I’ve talked about before and that science backs me on

3. Regular Exercise
Just like I thought schedules use to suck, I had no idea that being active contributes a huge amount to my ability to kick ass as a professional artist. Staying fit and getting your heart rate up during the day has even been shown in studies to increase creative connections and cognitive ability. When I’m in Seattle I go to this gym. When in SF, I see this guy. But given that I’m on the road about half the time, I’ll sneak in this 7-minute workout every day. Turns out that even just a daily 10 minute run can change my headspace.

3. Get Plenty of Sleep
Like a lot of creative types, I’ve had a tendency in life to do a lot of my work late at night, or to forego sleep in favor of staying out or waking up early to get a head start on the day. I used to be proud of operating on 4 hours of sleep — and I did that for more than 10 years — with gusto. I thought it was my tool for getting ahead. But, while there’s no substitute for hard work, sleep is nearly just as effective. This is something I’ve learned very recently. Sleep is like the wonder drug. And I use it as such. In the same way I use (but don’t abuse) caffeine, when things start getting sloppy in my life, I go to sleep. Seriously. I will carve out a couple nights for 10 hours of sleep… and voila. I’m back on my creative game. (This is an other subject I touched on with Tim Ferriss on his podcast.)

4. Take Breaks During Your Day — and Take a Walk
It’s been shown scientifically that there is a link between talking walks and creative boosts, and I’ve found this to be true in my own life, too. Although TBCITOTWY, I occasionally take walks without my phone/camera & think about photographs that I would take (saying to myself “that’s a photograph, that’s a photograph” while imagining what scenes might look like if I shot them.) But it’s even more important for me to take a walk and do nothing but observe. Observe the light. Observe other people, observe the world. Walking is also a kind of kinetic meditation, without pressure of having to produce. Talk a walk.

5. Get Away
I try to take small steps far away from work as often as possible. I’ll hit up the family cabin for a night, take a road trip, get out on our little boat for a few hours, etc., as often as possible. Sure BIG travel counts… like getting away on vacation, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about just a few hours, or an overnight… something to get you some physical separation from your stressors. For example, I got the idea for the Seattle 100 portrait project while lying in my hammock (on a break from work – where I went home for lunch and to chill out). I got the idea for doing the Best Camera app while up at our family cabin on Camano Island. Get some separation if you can, even if just for a couple hours.

6. Read More Books
As mentioned above, I spend a crazy stupid amount of time on planes, so I got into this habit of reading a LOT about 10 years ago. And I haven’t stopped. I intend to publish a reading list soon, so I’ll avoid going deep on titles here. But the point is to read… Get inspiration from others. My favorite genres are artist biographies. Second favorite = deep dives on any topic that I’m fascinated with at the time. Whether that’s the history of the internet or the psychology of creativity. Third favorite? New school books on business, and connecting your work with your life in a meaningful way. (Business wasn’t innate to me – everything I know, I read about or learned the hard way). Oh… one more genre….books that my friends write. I’m fortunate to have a wealth of friends who best selling authors and writers of great books. Couple recent examples = David duChemin’s, Ryan Holiday’s, and Adam Braun’s most recent books. I’ve also listed several books before that will recharge your creativity. More to come on this topic in future posts….

7. Learn to Teach Yourself / Hack Your Learning / Learn Online
It’s no secret that I got my start by teaching myself how to do what I do, but to this day, I’m an avid proponent of self-learning. Learning is not passive. It’s insanely active. In truth, that was a big motivation for starting CreativeLive, then taking that even bigger, so that YOU can have the opportunity to teach yourself -while following along with the top teachers and “do’er’s” and a worldwide community all your own.

8. Visualize Success
One of the best ways to stay creatively pumped is to do some visualization. It doesn’t have to be rigorous. I can be like letting yourself daydream. But it just so happens I do this with intention. I like to actively Remember why I started and think of what you want the end product to look like. One of my recent successful gigs — a campaign shoot for Samsung — was a literal visualization that came to me in a recurring dream. I kept picturing what this image from my mind would look like in real life (as you see in the video) and by the end of the shoot we’d made it happen. The point isn’t really about creating your dreams, it’s about believing you can be successful at whatever you choose to imagine.

9. Immersion in Other Forms of Art
This is a big one: it’s crucial to get perspectives outside your chosen career/hobby/job/etc. This is one of my biggest “secrets” (but that I’ve been sharing for a decade.) Most of the things I applied to my own career that set me apart, came from thinking about / using influences from things outside of photography. To learn light? I took up oil painting. To learn how to shoot sports, I looked at fashion. And the list is a mile long… One of the reasons doing #cjLIVE is so essential to me is that I get so much interdisciplinary input. I’ve had musicians, artists, designers, writers, speakers, travelers, entrepreneurs, business titans, and more — all sitting right on my couch to chat for an hour or more at a time. These are my friends. This is where I get my inspiration. Talking to people in other disciplines informs my art, my work, and my side projects. Not only that, but it inspires me to do things outside of my comfort zone… and things that are completely unexpected in MY profession. It helps me be different, not better.

10. Make Things Every Day
Science says it, and I experience it. When I’m making things everyday — whether it’s writing or taking a photo or doing some — ANY creative craft… your brain pushes into new neural pathways. Quite literally creativity creates more creativity. The rote act of doing your craft — or ANY craft — is a primer for more creative mojo. Do not underestimate this. (My keynote on that topic here.)

11. Find Adventure
Put simply, I live in 2 modes: the adventure mode and the quiet mode. Adventure — whether that’s travel or putting myself in danger, or “living large” or whatever floats your boat… Putting yourself in the mode where you’re being stimulated and taking information IN is a critical mode for me. And I’d be it will be for you. Get into adventures. And…. then see #12.

12. Find Quiet
In contrast to #11 above, great ideas do NOT come in the heat of battle. Science says this as does my own personal experience. When you’re out in the world seeking inspiration and adventure, you’re most certainly “getting ideas.” But it’s actually the synthesis of the inspiration and ideas of others that makes the real difference in what you OR your ideas can become happens in synthesis. It’s the connecting of ideas into new ones where your greatest accelerants will happen. And this requires some calm after the storm. It requires quiet. It’s why your best ideas happen in the shower or before bed or when you wake early… because there’s less noise in your world at that moment. Find more time like that. Trust me.

So, there you have it! Those are a few creative tactics that’ll up your creative game. I talk about this stuff a lot (and here’s another post on “creative habits” right here if you dig this stuff). As always, I’m sure you have dozens of your own tricks and experiences too. Of course feel free to share them in the comments below or on Twitter/Fbook/G+. I’d be all about learning some more creative ninja mojo from you as well.

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.

Setup
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.”]

ENTER: 3 THINGS…
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.

Direction
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.

How to Turn ‘No’ Into ‘Yes’ + Get What You Want [An Essential Strategy That Will Get YOU Hired]

It’s fair to say that I’m obsessed with the human spirit. It is amazing, bizarre and lovely at the same time and it can accomplish unthinkable things in the face of the most harrowing odds, in the face of challenge, in the face of “never”. Which is why I believe in the following quote and the following story that relates to this quote. You may have seen this story ‘blow up’ on social a few months ago, but amidst reflection (and upon this great story and the short film about it), my interest in sharing this story compounded. So, as such, here ’tis….with some extra insights to follow that’ll help you win.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

— Calvin Coolidge

This story opens with a man. A bizarre but fascinating man named Greg Packer — who had set out on an inexplicable journey to become the most quoted man in the news (I know, weird goal, but a seemingly impossible one as well)… but here’s the kicker: he pulled it off. Packer was so successful in his campaign in fact that the Associated Press eventually issued a memo to all its reporters to stop interviewing the guy.

Enter filmmaker friend Andrew David Watson who, when he discovered the Greg Packer story, had the brilliant idea for a perfectly ironic, smart, funny story to tell this Greg Packer’s story from within the media that he hacked. Essentially, tell Greg’s story in the news.

So Andrew pitched his story idea to a bunch of publications. No one bit. Not a one.

This is where – in a very meta way – the human spirit kicks in. Andrew shot the story anyway. And this is where the TAKEAWAY LESSON FOR YOU begins

Andrew cold emailed a rough cut to The New Yorker, they snatched it up right away. Turns out Andrew’s instincts were pretty spot on.

A month after his beautiful little piece published, The Most Quoted Man In News had over 100k views on The New Yorker and Andrew’s Vimeo page had almost half a million.

I never tire of these powerful reminders to pursue personal work, to tackle passion projects, even when the people who write the checks shut the door. In the past, I’ve told you to get used to hearing “NO” and to use it as a motivator. Now I’m telling you HOW. In Andrew’s case, he knew he had a compelling story to capture and he knew he had the tools to do the story justice.

Mark Schwartz did it with his 8×10 Polaroid, and now his work is used by Billabong, Levi’s and Surfrider. Joey L does it, and he’s now turning work away. Tim Ferriss was shot down by 27 publishing houses before the 28th said yes to his multi-million copy selling 4-Hour series of books. Jason Shelowitz (AKA Jay Shells) put up street art that he knew was going to get stolen, but something in his gut/heart/left brain said “do it anyway.”

The common thread in all of these tales of big time success is… PERSISTENCE. Someone told all of these people NO and they forged right ahead and made the thing anyway, and that thing became a successful stand-out piece of their careers.

To give you more insight, I reached out to Andrew with a few questions about this project and how he bounces back from rejection.

First, let’s hear just a little background on your Greg Packer project:

I first met Greg Packer back in 2008. I read a short article about Greg and decided to track him down. It happened to be during the World Series and Greg was in Philadelphia for the Phillies victory parade. I met up with Greg, filmed some footage of him at the parade and got to know him a little better. I thought Greg was a fascinating character but I just wasn’t sure how to make a film about him. I archived the material, kept the story on my ever evolving list of project ideas, and moved on with life.

Fast forward almost 5 years and I was digging through my note book and got thinking about Greg. My visual style and story telling skills had developed a lot in those 5 years and I all of a sudden could picture exactly how I would make the film. I called Greg and asked if he could come down to a studio in Brooklyn for an interview and he (of course!) was super into it.

The best part is the footage I shot in 2008 when I first met Greg, made its way into the final edit as archival material.

Let’s jump right into rejection. You knew you had a good idea. You pitched it, no one bit. How did you handle that rejection? More importantly, how did you handle it with integrity and turn it into resolve?

At this point in my career I’m used to rejection, it’s part of the process. Sometimes it comes down to the creative, but other times it comes down to elements outside of your control such as timing, similar content already under development, etc. I have pitched ideas in the past that I thought were amazing, but once I went through the pitch process, I realized they were not as rock solid as I thought. Other times, such as this project, even after being rejected I still had faith in the story and the passion to pursue it, which told me it was worth doing.

Can you remember the first time you turned a “no” into a project’s first step towards completion? Tell us about it.

A few years ago Etsy came to me and asked if I had any short film ideas that encompassed what their brand was about (handmade, economy of scale, etc). I pitched an idea about a very opinionated motorcycle mechanic I knew in Philadelphia. The producer at Etsy politely turned it down, saying they didn’t really see it working. However, it was a short film idea I always wanted to do and the more I thought about it, the more I just wanted to shoot it anyway, so I did. When I had an edit ready, I showed Etsy and they loved it. They decided to take it with next to no edit changes. The piece went on to get over 300k views, a Vimeo staff pick, multiple festival screenings and was one of Etsy most viewed pieces for a while.

When you resolved to make the The Most Quoted Man anyway, did you make it with the intention of re-pitching it? In other words, was the style, editing, etc. all chosen because you still saw this thing getting published in, say, the New Yorker?

Honestly, no, I decided to make the piece exactly how I saw it. I learned from past experiences that following my gut is usually better than trying to cater to a specific style thats not my own. “Most Quoted Man” is slightly different from other New Yorker pieces (with a lot more graphics and punchy music), however when they decided to take it, they asked for no editorial changes.

Rejection helps us refine our pitching process. How has it helped you refine yours? Can you tell us about some of your pitching success stories and why they were success?

I gravitated towards cameras at a young age because I find images the easiest way to communicate. I was never a strong writer, and I’m still not, so I find it ironic that now I often have to write out my ideas before shooting them. I have refined my pitches by making them as visual as possible, using a lot of reference photos and my past work to explain my vision. Just like anything, the more you do it the better you get at it, but I still have and will always be refining my pitch process.

The lessons we learn as artists can (if we let them) inform many other aspects of our lives. How does this lesson — not taking “no” for an answer — get applied to other aspects of your life (preferably in a positive way!)

Learning to not take “no” for an answer is essentially creative problem solving, which I have always applied to my life. Whether it’s where to live, how to move forward in my career, where to go to university, etc… there is no correct path to take. Feeling comfortable and confident to make your own decisions even if they go against conventional thinking, is just as important as an artist as it is in your everyday life.

You’re sitting in a room with a bunch of talented but frustrated creatives who are struggling to keep rejection from getting the better of them. What is the one piece of advice you would give them?

Rejection is part of the process. It will make you more critical of your own work (in a good way) and will test your faith in your ideas. At the end of the day, rejection is often just one person’s (or a small group’s) creative choice at that given moment. Sometimes it works for you and other times it doesn’t, but the best way to ensure you continue to get the opportunity (even if it means more rejection) is to continue producing the work you are passionate about.

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Follow Andrew David Watson on these channels:

website
twitter
instagram
vimeo

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 production@chasejarvis.com 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.

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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.

WHAT THE WINNER GETS.
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.

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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.

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