No Time To Think... So Just Be The Art

A few clips from the Rioja Wine Region in Spain surrounding Marqués de Riscal, coinciding with a story in this article below.

If you are an artist the world is literally at your fingertips these days. You have the ability to create anything you can dream up. Better yet, you have the internet and endless ways to share your creation if you make the most of it.

You can make money with Art, but art is not about making money. It's about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and exploring new things. Art and exploration go hand in hand, and I suggest that if you aren't learning something new, and failing once in a while, you aren't pushing yourself far enough.

The blog you are on, Together In Style, embodies that idea. As a professional photographer and filmmaker I get paid to create for clients all the time. But, every minute that I am not creating for clients, is spent dreaming of creating on various levels. With a life this fast paced, there isn't a lot of time to think, so I simply work on just being the art. It comes with it's worries and criticisms, but if I sit around and talk about the images I see in my head, or ideas I want to explore, it will never happen.

Take some of the fashion films for instance that myself and my wife are creating here in the fashion category of this blog... There are ideas we want to explore and share. We could easily sit around and wait for a client to give us the opportunity, but that would be a long wait indeed because most people hire you based on what you can show them that you have already done. By being the work, and by doing the work, we build a portfolio. The blog as it turns out gives us a way to share these ideas from a published perspective. It allows us to put our ideas out regularly, and expand our audience at the same time, offering unparalleled potential in the long run.

A Little Story About an Amazing Client...

Not that long ago, I had a client come to me that was planning a wedding in the Rioja Wine Region of Spain. This was a gay couple being referred to me by an incredible party planner, and friend, named Shawn Rabideau whom we had worked with before on several occasions. He introduced us because he knows that we think outside the box, but I didn't realize just how outside the box I was expected to think. So, I did what I normally would do with a potential wedding client and showed them my wedding work. They were impressed for sure, but in the next breath they decided to lay it on the line..."Your work is great, but we really want to hire a visionary that can do something different."

My wife Jennifer looked at me, and said "why don't you share some of your time-lapse work of NYC, that's outside the norm." A moment later ideas and possibilities started to flow, and lightbulb moments illuminated. Over the next 30 minutes or so we talked about photography, video, time-lapse, websites, iPad apps, design, and more. Upon leaving we had a good rapport and respect for one another, and he asked me to create a proposal... In my experience there are certain clients that will pay more for an idea than a product, and this was one of those moments.

You see, I had spent several months getting up before dawn, or in my evenings, out on the town creating time-lapse films around the city of Manhattan and my neighborhood. My purpose was simply to focus on creating rather than selling. By doing the work it opened up my clients eyes to the possibilities, and at the same time it confirmed the fact that creating and learning new things in my free time really matters.

We knew that we were amongst a rare couple with a budget that was limited only by our creative abilities, and we knew that because they didn't want to hire us for what we had already done. They wanted to hire us for our vision, and they wanted us to think outside the box. As an artist, a moment like this is filled with excitement beyond words because we were being given an opportunity to think differently, and create without limits. Yet it is also complimented by fear of the unknown. Here is and example of what our proposal included. 

  1. The building of an sophisticated digital invitation that would be sent to guests by way of paperless post.

  2. The invitation would link to an elegantly designed custom website which we would build from the ground up containing photographs, time-lapse films, and video complimented by a personal interview style message. The message would allow the couple to invite guests with their own spoken words, and prepare them for the exiting journey ahead. It also included details about the event, hotel information, air travel, train, rental car, suggested restaurants, and other interesting landmarks that guest should be sure to make the most of on their trip.

  3. In order to create this footage we would need to fly out on a scouting trip to Spain, which was located at a 5 star resort / vineyard known as Marqués de Riscal. The trip would take a total of 6 days to scout and create the footage.

  4. We would photograph and film the wedding and other events, the surrounding town, mountains, rivers, and trees when we returned a few months later over a total of 9 days.

  5. After the wedding we were to produce photographs and albums, along with highlight films, and full length films of the events. The films would be screened and shared online on the custom website we built showcasing the wedding, and the amazing adventure. Finally we would build a custom iPad app, which guests could download and relive a blend of photographs and video in the most creative storytelling experience imaginable.

Excitement and Fear... 

I know what we are capable of when we set our minds to it, but when you put yourself out and tout that you capable of seeing all of these things through you definitely have a sense of fear that goes along with the excitement of creating on such a level. With a few proposal tweaks we got the assignment with 90% of our vision in tact. When all was said and done, the client was pleased, and shared some kind words about working with us. We pulled it all off with precision, and it goes down as one of the coolest projects we have gotten to work on. We love being challenged, and always thrive under creative pressure. In fact we are mostly interested in assignments that we can learn from, because it makes us stronger, more well rounded, and better at what we do as a whole.

My point in this drawn out story is three fold.

  1. I want you to stop and think about what it is that you are selling. Are you selling products, or are you selling ideas. In our experience people will pay more for ideas and original thinking than products. So, you need to focus time on the ideas you want to share.

  2. Being the art is something that makes all the difference. Personal work that you do when you aren't paid for in your free time, time lapse in this case, is ultimately what helps you get your next big job. I can also add learning website design, the building of iPad apps, etc... to the mix of "things we learned in our free time that has made a difference time and time again." 

  3. Think bigger than just taking photographs and films, and work on creating a full service experience. You will be surprised at what the modern client is looking for.

5 Tips To Getting The Assignments Of Your Dreams...

  1. Spend time each week creating the type of content you want to be paid to create in the long run. By doing so you are gaining the experience you need to do the job well, and you are creating a portfolio piece at the same time.

  2. Develop an interesting way to share your content. Go beyond social media, and find ways to make your content have meaning.

  3. Be your authentic self by being the work. Only your heart knows if you are doing what you are meant to do. Don't let the comments of others slow you down if you know that the work you are creating is truly you.

  4. In the digital age it's important to work on ideas because a lot of the products you offer as an artist aren't tangible. Rather, delivering on experiences is a big part of the puzzle. Your passion will shine when you are selling on experiences and ideas, and the right clients are looking to you to be a visionary rather than a vendor.

  5. Learning new things is part of what makes life enjoyable, and exciting. Spend time each week teaching yourself something new. Not only is it a great way to avoid burnout, but it will also lead you towards new ideas, and as we shared, ideas are truly priceless.

A View Thee Olive Tree of the Marqués de Riscal Hotel and Vineyard.

A View Thee Olive Tree of the Marqués de Riscal Hotel and Vineyard.

View of Elciego, Spain from our room in the Marqués de Riscal Hotel and Vineyard.

View of Elciego, Spain from our room in the Marqués de Riscal Hotel and Vineyard.

Charles Maring is a photographer and filmmaker at Maring Visuals, and a co-host / creator of the Together In Style talk show.