Professional Freelancers Don’t do “Gigs”

Being a freelancer means building your own business. Jumping aimlessly from gig to gig may earn you some money, but it doesn’t aid your business development.

Before you take that next gig, think “is this gig going to help me get closer to any of my business goals?” Or, “what value might this project bring me beyond the financial reimbursement?”

I don't "do" photography for a living. At least not yet but the fact that I still hold a full-time job doing something completely different not only guarantees a steady income but it also enables me to be as picky as I want when it comes to gigs.

Some do come with very good compensation but they're not worth the mental stress and the project could potentially not yield work I could consider incorporating into my portfolio, so I decline. There's nothing worst than attempting to convince yourself you're all in on a project when you weren't excited about it to begin with because all that gravitated you towards it was the money.

I question everything I commit to while still keeping the window open for experimentation and opportunities. I agree you can't live off just "gigs" but these are phases you must go through at first to develop that relationship you ultimately seek for with clients.

Why Artist & Illustrators Should Have a Blog

Illustrator Amy Ng on the case for why you as a creative should have a blog:

In all reality, no ones understands your work better than you and while it’s true that we can leave our work to speak for itself, for me blogging has always been that perfect medium to fill the gap that exist when you admire someones works so much but you can’t help wonder who they are aside from what we see.

Which brings me to Amy’s next point:

Not everything you blog has to revolve around what you do as a creative. Yes, I do appreciate all the BTS (behind-the-scene) glimpses of what goes into creating your work but you’re more than just your artwork.

It’s in the moments when you take the time to narrate your story and share who you are as person that we ultimately begin seeing a framework of what you’re all about. I’ve never rooted more for someone who's consistently put themselves out there and written consistently about who they are as person such as Joey L. Be transparent, stop attempting to be perfect because the people who are more likely to relate to your story are the ones that see themselves in you by virtue of you choosing to tell us about yourself as oppose to us assuming who you might be.

Le Sweat Retreat: Asbury Park, NJ

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To me getting away signifies taking more than a few steps back from the responsibilities, from the stresses and absolute rush of daily life. It's about allowing your mind and body to simmer, to quiet down to recover while at the same time sprinkling that recess with some movement because we’re all aware by now of studies which prove on how physical activity reduces stress.

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That time should always be used for us to gain some insight, some purpose, some clarity. While it's normal to think one would need time alone to figure all this life stuff out, you'd be surprise to discover how much more effective rejuvenating yourself could be when that time is spent with people you share interest with. It’s become more common now than ever to admit you’ve befriended someone via Instagram and have chosen in taking the next step to solidify a potential friendship by meeting in person. It’s what we do now.

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This is exactly what Le Retreat is all about. A "new-new escape". As founder Charlee Atkins puts it, “We’ll sweat our way through each day! Our retreats bring modern day adults together and combine fitness, relaxation, and fun in a 5-day adventure. You’ll enjoy foreign locations, beautiful beaches, cultural cities, challenge workouts, delicious food, and, above all, wonderful company.”

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I recently had the opportunity to shoot Le Sweats most recently retreat at Asbury Park, NJ. This was my first time shooting anything like this but I immediately understood why anyone would want to or should at least once in their life take part in one of these experiences. People come because the idea of it speaks to who they want to be.

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The Asbury Hotel, where everyone lodged was this beautiful trendy hotel in a restored 1950s redbrick building, separated by a 4-minute walk from the Asbury Park boardwalk. Absolutely stunning hotel.

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I’ve known of Charlee based on following her on Instagram as she’s rapidly grown her company Le Sweat from the ground up while still being a Senior Instructor at SoulCycle. Charlee is a “movement and mobility specialist and a certified strength and conditioning coach with the NSCA.” She’s a huge “advocate for a non-sedentary lifestyle” and to top it all off, as if her expertise weren’t enough, she’s hilarious AF and isn’t at all reserved in putting herself out there to show you that people in the fitness industry have their insecurities as well.

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To me transparency gives power away. Who would you rather have? An instructor the shows you what’s inside or the one that shrouds everything in mystery? Think about which one you’re more likely to gain inspiration from. Which one are you more likely to allow to push you more? It’s natural to look up to people but when that leaders chooses to step-down from the podium we envision them on, you’re likely to support, follow and cheer for their success and that’s exactly the community that came together at Le Retreat.

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I had a blast photographing the camaraderie among everyone and it’s certainly inspire me to incorporate an experience like this into my life!

Flying with Purpose

 Playa El Tunco - La Libertad, El Salvador (Shot with Mavic Air)

Playa El Tunco - La Libertad, El Salvador (Shot with Mavic Air)

My family and I just returned from a 10 day vacation in El Salvador; the photos of which will take some time for me to sort, edit and make sense of but for now, I wanted to share some quick unexpectedly thoughts that came to mind as I got into the rhythm of flying the Mavic Air I had purchased in anticipation for this trip.

A lot of the process in learning to fly a drone includes deliberate practice, patience and a lot of YouTube tutorials, which very few people warn you on how easily consumed you can become with those. As I developed comfort in maneuvering the drone as it soared through the sky capturing epic footage, I had this realization that its full potential was met not by your ability to fly it well but by having defined intentions on what you’re attempting to capture before it even becomes airborne. There was nothing less productive than flying the drone aimlessly trying to make up your mind as the time ticked on your battery. Granted I do own 3, all of which have an average flight time of 21 minutes but that’s not the point.

Preparation is everything. As David duChemin said, “If you have no idea what you want to accomplish, then you’re not at the point where you should be asking yourself if you accomplished it.”

Based off YouTube videos alone, I’ve become aware of so many other incredible features the Mavic Air has to offer, most of which I’ve yet to even dabble with but for now, in its most basic form, I’m content with flying it and knowing in advance what I hope to get from it, as oppose to getting too mystified by other bells and whistles which may not even contribute as much to my vision.

Life is not that different. Have a vision, know what you want, avoid everything else and figured it out.

Purpose is everything. Without it, we’re just bones and blood.

Self Development for Creatives

I think I just easily discovered my new favorite Instagram account. It's called Red Club Lemon which is a self-development ideas hub for creative people ran by Alex Mathers - a writer and illustrator living in Thailand.

Here's quickly some of my favorite quotes:

  • "Create more, tell your story, and share your work, even if no one is watching. Soon they will."
  • "Create more crap. This is where you find the momentum needed for genius work."
  • "You need to be OK with making stuff you don't like."
  • "Just keep making more."

Jakob Roze

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My quest to collaborate with people who live and breathe a healthy lifestyle continues. I would say it's difficult not to be inspired by these individuals especially when we're all capable of taking care of our body the moment we realize it's far more vital than any other materialistic thing we may splurge on. This goes back to being the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with.

Jakob Roze is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist based in New York and we met up in at Rockaway Beach to shoot in what seemed to be one of the most humid Summer days thus far. I typically shy from ever shooting under such harsh light but having incorporated the Godox AD200 in combination with a small soft-box, I managed to illuminate those areas that would have typically been overpowered by shadow.

82,200 Hours. Your Job Or Your Life

You don’t need to be smarter, more talented, or more gifted than anyone else to be a success. As long as you have a purpose in life, something that you know you are destined to do, and you achieve it, you are successful.

Sometimes the most simplest of statements are the ones that have the most profound impact on you. They may not have the same affect on others but at the right time and at the specific moment, the power of the words clarifies so many things for you that were blurry before.