Tuesday 14 October 2014

Chase Jarvis - Time management

Self-taught professional photographer Chase Jarvis did a morning Q&A over Coffee where he answered one question that concerns all of us: How do you take time for yourself?
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Internet chats are frustratingly unstructured especially to audiences who have been spoiled by TED talks. Chase Jarvis starts answering questions at 3:09 and intersperses ads during his talk.

Time management
Irony –artists being creative need a system, a schedule. When you focus on one thing, you get better at that thing. Give it as much attention as possible. Have your morning be your own. Do not check email first thing. That distracts you from the priorities in your life. Do your best writing, thinking, creating then. Keep that time sacred. When working for client and your whole day is not your own, think how to take time for yourself. Prioritise what is important to you in your life and career and your work.

Casual artists
If you work full time and have family, you can still make money as a creative but you can’t be a professional as not making living from your craft. Can make money but can’t be the best in the world. Fun, successful, nice side gig, but competing against people who live and think and breathe that craft. Hard work beats talent over the long run.

Choosing a career
Photography brings Chase joy. Making something is his natural state, when he feels most himself. He chose to be a creator for a living. Do things you love. Imagine a world full of people where most people got to do what they want to do, pursuing their passion. Happier people, world a better place. Do what you love.

Almost everywhere is flooded and competitive. How do you make an impact?
The internet is community minded. If you have a genuine passion for a subject, they can feel it. Regardless of competitiveness, do the thing you love and do it well and do it on a regular schedule. Do it even when you’re tired. The competition will fall away. They won’t want it as badly as you. The brutalities of business will weed out less competitive people who are overwhelmed by the hurdles.
Put content out all the time. Continue to make an impact. Do the things you love. Do them better harder faster than other people out there. Do them regularly, be consistent. Try to be different, but better. Look inside yourself to decide what you should be doing. Your own perspective will make the difference. You will stand out.

At what point in your career did you start working with a team and how did you connect with people for the first time?
There is an unhealthy obsession with having a team as a sign of success, and to not have to do the work. Start out slow. Part time intern went to part time employee, went to full time, went from 2 to 5 people. Profit sharing benefitted employees are huge responsibility. Not until track record, steady, growing. Hire people in social circle doing good work for you. Wait till pipeline of work full. Took Chase long time to be employer even though success early in career.

Are composite images necessary?
Most images in advertising are composites. For example, best expression and best body posture, best sunlight with best car. Chase tries to do as much as possible in camera. Composites are not required.

Retouching is required. Very important. Amount depends on budget. Chase has employee on staff doing retouching. He sets direction then gives it to person who knows style and goals for that image.

Photography is now a piece of cultural literacy, a mechanism greatly amplified over last 5-10 years to tell story. More and more people know about photography and Photoshop. Can be struggle between photographer and agency who want to change the work.

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Business choices
Over last few years, Chase has become more and more picky about projects. Want to be hired for unique perspective and complex creative interesting multidimensional work with great brand and creative freedom and chance to win awards. Need social savviness to be able to tell story. In future, believes all CEOs will be artists. You don’t find a business, you make a business.

Refine unique style and creative voice.
Repetition. If you create every day for 10 weeks you will start to feel right. Look inside. Do things meaningful to you. You have a unique perspective. Of course improving craft is also mission critical.

Success in commercial photography.
You have to be good at your craft. Be better than 99.9% of the other photographers in the world. Get up every day to work. Deliver over and over again regardless whether you like subject matter. Stand out in the market place.

What do you find that’s new and exciting to shoot something different.
Chase is personally becoming interested in portraiture. Photographing people he values when their guard is down and they are defenceless.

Pricing and perceived value.
You know your skill level is there when your creative gap is almost zero – you can create what you envision. Have unique vision. Charge premium for that. Put self at higher end of spectrum. Then budget is less of an issue, no financial constraints, focus on creative part of the job. Orin Cloff (?) does great on how to pitch yourself and position yourself as a prize.

How do you keep high optimism?
Life is short. You create your own circumstances. You are in control of your attitude. Make active decision to be positive. Meditate 15-20 minutes twice a day to prevent getting stressed out and see things you want, what other people want more clearly, keep in the present, keep optimistic.

Biggest mistakes small business owners make?
Not enough clarity. They don’t define what they want, what success looks like. Success should be the ability to keep the business thriving. Until you define success, it’s really hard to achieve it.