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Keys To A Fulfilling Career

Lesson 41 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

Keys To A Fulfilling Career

Lesson 41 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

41. Keys To A Fulfilling Career

By now I think we all know that being successful in photography takes much more than being a very good photographer. We all wish that we could just go out everyday, make photos we love and that people will line up at the door to buy our prints, talk about us on the press and hire us for massive campaigns. That couldn't be further from reality. Learn what to prioritize on.


Class Trailer



Workshop Intro






Gear - My Camera Bags


Mastering Camera Settings


Blue Hour, A How-To


Photos That Move Us


Visual Storytelling 101


Endurance In A World Of Sprinting


Keeping Your Ideas Fresh


Building Your Story Arc


Shooting More: Action Plan


Conveying Emotions


In the Field


The Assignment: Himalaya Pre-Pro


In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot


The Assignment: Canon Pre-Pro


In the Field: Canon USA Shoot




Keywords & Organizing Images


Commercial Grading


Masking & Radial Filters


Perspective Correction


HDR (Hand-Held)


Black & White Edits


Before & Afters


Moody Grading


IG Export Settings


Web Export Settings


Clone Stamping & Patch Tools


Grading in Lightroom


Hand-Held Panoramas


Radial Filters Pt 2


Delivering Files to Clients


Archiving & Organizing Images


My Favorite Software




Let's Talk Business


Building A Desirable Portfolio


How to Contact Clients


Prospecting: Finding Brands That Fit You


Getting Clients To See Our Value


Paid to Travel the World


The Art of Making Moodboards & Treatments


Keys To A Fulfilling Career


Three Things You Need To Know Before Pitching


Finding Your Value Proposition


Media Kit: A Walk Through


How I Built My Audience


Social Media Landscape


Module Recap


Bonus - Everything To Know About Filters


Do You Need Lens Filters?


Filters in The Field


Bonus - Find Your Path


Find Your Path


Bonus - How To Print Your Work


Why Print or Sell Photos


Preparing Photos for Print


Reviewing Major U.S Printers


Lesson Info

Keys To A Fulfilling Career

(bright music) By now, I think we all know that being successful in photography takes much more than being a very good photographer. You know, we all wish that we could just go every day and make photos we love and that people will somehow line up at the door to buy our prints or talk about us on the press and hire us for massive ad campaigns. Sadly, that couldn't be further from reality. To be celebrated and make a living as a photographer, requires being very good at a handful of other skills. And in all honesty, I don't think being an outstanding photographer is the most important one. Just because who's even the judge to decide that? Who sets the bar for what that means? What does it mean to be really good, National Geographic? Yeah, sure. I mean, it's an awesome magazine. But, it's only if you have a focus on conservation and humanity stories, for example. But what if that's not your thing? Then there's context which exists to celebrate outdoor photography. You know, like the Re...

buleum, Sony Alpha or Kevin Awards. But these are all private entities with a bias, right? And to clarify, it's more than enough to be a really good photographer. If that's your goal, then great. If you have a full-time job that fulfills you and you do photo missions on the side, then great, you've made it. But this is for those of you who wanna make a living at the craft. So, let's jump in. Number one, be an open book with both your peers in the industry and your clients. Photography, since it mostly just requires one guy with a camera is riddled with this lone wolf mentality, and we get super protective of our techniques and our clients. Just don't do that because it won't take you as far. From long talks with people like Chris Beauregard, whom you've surely heard of and Michael O'Neil, who was an art director at Apple before becoming one of the most prominent photographers on Instagram. I've gathered that the best thing you can do is to be totally open, share everything with your peers, introduce them to a past client, if they need it. Tell them how you shot that photo they were so curious about. Tell them where that place is. I was lucky enough to come across people like them when I was starting out, who taught me the right mindset toward openness. So let me pass on the message, "Be open." Number two, deflecting jealousy. Whether we like it or not, every time we see another photographer crush something that, you know, nailed the project, being in a place where we like to be, we get a bit jealous. And just so you know, you've made other people jealous, too. It's just how it goes. It's human nature. In his book, "Mastery," bestselling author, Robert Greene, writes the following: "You must accumulate knowledge on human nature on the common traits and weaknesses that we all possess such as in the insecurity, laziness and passive aggression. With such knowledge, you can avoid becoming the victim of the sharks in the water." So when you feel that wave of envy through your body, when another photographer does something you can't, recognize that, you gotta feel it. And then you can deflect it with other thoughts. Remember that the success of somebody doesn't take away from your success. There is infinite potential for greatness in the world and it's not going to run out magically. So, just be happy for them. And an even better approach is to try to feel what they felt, and dare I say try to be happy for them, because it'll only make you stronger. Number three, have the highest standards. Think of the wood craftsman, somebody who makes tables or chairs. Think about the fact they spend hours working on the bottom, you know, under the table, and the detail they put in something that most will never see. You know, when you edit a photo and you know it's for a small business, okay? It's a thousand miles away from you. Your name won't even be on the photo. It can be a bit tempting to take shortcuts. You know, like edit it a little quicker than usual, but it's not worth it. I've done that, and I regretted it. So, make it as good as you can every single time. Number four, surround yourself with people who stimulate you. You have probably heard this quote from Jim Ron. He famously said that, "We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with." Whether we agree with it or not, there's no denying that our entourage influences us in profound ways. Your best friend gets a new car and raves about it, and all of a sudden, you start to look back at your old ride and you wonder why you're still driving that thing. Or you spend your Sundays playing Xbox with your friends because it's the way you've always done it. Our inner circle influences our thoughts, behaviors and actions. So, we have to be mindful with whom we associate. Ideally, we wanna spend time with friends who inspire us, stimulate us, and eventually, encourage us. Not with the ones that despite their best intention, drag us down and don't want us to see us succeed. I use the simple test. Let's call it the excitement test. Before I head out to see a friend, I always ask myself, "Am I excited to go see this person? How do I feel? Am I looking forward to it? Am I already thinking about the things we're gonna talk about?" If you're not sure if you're excited or looking, you know, you're looking forward to see this person, you'd rather stay home, maybe this particular friend isn't stimulating you at all. Maybe it's time to just rethink the entire relationship. Our circle is so important. I mean, imagine spending time with friends who you are pumped to see and share ideas with and you give advice and they give you advice. You know, when the relationship goes both ways, it's so much more fulfilling. Imagine just how far you'll go as a group. And you know, the clock is already ticking. Number five, and it's really important, relationship first, business second. Let's continue a bit on relationships, and this time in the context of our professional lives. You probably have not heard of my good friend, Jay Gallian. He's not in the public eye, nor does he try to be. Jay is a photographer, director, intro designer, media genius. He just does many things. Jay is an overall case maker. The luxury brand, Bottega Veneta, used to run both their men's and women's advertising content through one agency. Then, they heard of Jay, and they heard of him through word-of-mouth. So they hired him to run all the men's advertising for the year. Just Jay, while the agency would run all the women's. Yes, there's one guy running men's and one agency with 20 people running women's. Of course, it meant that he had to hire a full-time assistant, producer, and he lost a few hairs during that year, but he goes to show you what reputation can do. Remember, they only heard of him through word-of-mouth. He doesn't have a public profile. Jay is one of the hardest working people I know, and what Jay does differently is that he doesn't spend time making a trending Instagram account or flashy website. What he actually does is cultivate relationships with the right people in the industry. Jay's portfolio is incredibly creative. But it's not the most important piece in his arsenal, it's actually his contact list. That's what matters at the end of the day in Jay's world. You know all to often, we end up sending countless cold-pitch emails or DM's to brands and magazines who've never heard of us. And we generally ask for stuff, we just wanna take. So of course, this kind of approach rarely works. If we want to court a specific brand, we have to be patient and focused. It might take us a few months to get the right introduction. Honestly, the most valuable thing you can do is to cultivate relationships with people in the industry. Even if it's just photographers as you start your career, that's fine. You'll meet clients as you go and just be generous with them. Don't calculate. Don't try to think if I give them that, they will give me that. You know, I cannot count how many times I've been introduced to another brand by a fellow photographer and got an awesome introduction without even asking for it. So, if I can just leave you with this one thing is, please put relationships first. (camera clicks)

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

A Note From Alex

Ratings and Reviews


Not What I Was Expecting Let me just start by saying that the workshop was very good. There were lots of things that I learned and many insights I took away. Perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom imparted to me was not anything Alex said but how he approached every subject he talked about. I felt that he was talking to me as a friend, very personal and open book. This was both a blessing and a curse as the course tends to meander around and is not as structured as others I've taken. Alex's passion for the highest quality, and craftsmanship in every aspect of his business, is very evident. From the premiums he charges, to the attention to detail in client deliveries. This is where my review is going to give some hopefully constructive criticisms. For someone so focused on a premium experience I was a surprised to find the course a bit sloppily assembled, and the videography and editing lackluster. This is coming from a videographer and someone with a lot of experience in online training. A few short examples to illustrate my point include: repeating segments of the edit (in some instances the exact same segment), poor framing. Colors changing between cuts, and my biggest pet peeve, not leaving photo examples on for long enough to see them. These are all small things, but they add up, and along with the topics meandering, left me a bit disappointed. I'm curious who you would say this class is aimed towards. Amateurs, mid-level, or experts? The assumption of who you are addressing changes throughout the course. I feel like with a bit of work from an instructional designer, and some editing cleanup, you could help hone this course to be one of the best out there. I feel like I need to do a more in depth review than will fit here, to actually explain this well. Let me know if that would be helpful to you. One other note: When I signed up for a workshop on Adventure Photography, I honestly thought it would be more field focused. The field examples were all shoots for products, and not shoots documenting an adventure. I guess I had just hoped to learn that side of the storytelling process more. Getting into the nitty gritty of being wet, cold, and dirty, and still shooting bangers. The section on filters (going out and building the snow cave) was more what I thought this course was going to be. Anyhow, with all that said, I still found it valuable and worthwhile. To summarize, the course feels a bit unpolished and in some ways unfinished though there is still great value. I've taken Jimmy Chin's Masterclass on adventure photography and it felt very structured and highly polished. I purchased "Adventure Pro" on the "finish in a month" discount. I would have felt ripped off if I had paid full price with the course in its current state. Thanks for reading and I hope my criticisms come as helpful. As I've already mentioned I'd be happy to further elaborate.

Topher Hammond

One of the best photography investments I'm only 1/4 of the way through Alex's course and I feel like I already have a loose plan on how I can move forward in my own career as a photographer. I felt like my work was lacking a specific feeling. The way that Alex articulated ideas on how to convey emotion in your imagery and building that overarching story arc for your own life narrative were super helpful to focus on how to make my work better. Super looking forward to the rest of this course. Thanks Alex and team!

Sergi Mas de xaxars Rosell

Great Workshop I learned quite a lot with this workshop. Because I'm in the industry for 5 years now, there were a few things I already knew. On the other hand, Alex showed me different and more effective ways to improve my business. I like the way he gives the lessons, always in a personal and close way. This is the knowledge I wish I had when I started. Totally worth it!

Student Work