This week has been a roller coaster. In the past seven days, I have done three photoshoots and 3 sets of interviews. For two of the photoshoots, I was working behind the camera. The third, I was standing in front of the lens. My partner & I have also been on the war path interviewing people for jobs within our company. From graphic design, programming, content creation, to business development positions. After going through one interview after another, I took my place on the other side of the table. As I did my own interview to be featured for the marketing company Rcstco. Which I had role in its creation 2 years ago. Rcstco is run by the intelligent and tech savvy entrepreneur Aurie Phillipchuk. On top of the photoshoots and interviews, there was actual work I needed to do. Which included building one client a website, managing some security concerns, and designing some artwork that can be used for an advertising campaign. Plus finding time to write this article. My goal is to shed some light on the subject of perspective, and self confidence.
Own The Camera
Photography is one of my passions that I keep relatively low key. I’ve been interested in the art since I started my clothing company Ivy Denim. I like the idea of being able to capture the essence of an entire story in one frame. There is that saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and I find the words people use to describe the work I create interesting. I have always been grateful to be surrounded by some really good photographers. Plus living in a time where the technology has been quite forgiving as I developed my craft. One person I am grateful to, for sharing their insights, is my good friend Bryce Zimmerman. I am actually extremely appreciative to his whole family for the roles each of them have played in my life. But that is a story best saved for another day. I will say, I am excited for him as he is about to take on a new journey in life. Bryce is preparing to move out to Vancouver. If there is one person I could always rely on to help me understand this art, it was him. He would teach me about light, exposures, aperture, and basically anything related to cameras. Even a lot about life. One lesson he taught me is the power a person with a camera holds. So my goal became one to get the best out of people while taking their photo.
Strike A Pose
I have spent some time on both sides of the camera. Although I have to admit that I am not always comfortable in front of the camera. I have always been the kind of person who would rather have a candid shot taken of me, rather than have to “strike a pose.” More often than not, I would keep a stone face. Which doesn’t always reflect my true personality. An episode of Friends comes to mind, when Chandler would always make a silly face as soon as the camera was pointed at him. This is how I usually felt. So I wouldn’t try to overcomplicate things.
It’s about being comfortable in your skin, regardless of what you’d like to be different about your appearance. That inner energy does a lot more than makeup and photoshop will ever do(maybe not photoshop, but that is almost like cheating).
Now that I have a few years of experience taking photos. I noticed how it feels to watch people deal with their insecurities. It is funny, often times people are so self-conscious of something that often times doesn’t even translate to the audience. If only they carry themselves naturally. Yeah, friends and family will beat us up a little. That’s just how it is when someone “puts themselves out there.” It’s about being comfortable in your skin, regardless of what you’d like different about your appearance. Inner energy does a lot more than makeup and photoshop will ever do(maybe not photoshop, but that is like cheating). So my tactic is to invite people to be vulnerable, and then build them up around their strengths. So they have real confidence. Then let that shine through. I have yet to go out and return empty handed. Even while taking photo’s of someone who isn’t necessarily what you would call “model material.” Every single person ends up see’s something in themselves, that they didn’t know existed. Obviously there are naturals, and to them I say keep it up!
It’s Takes More Than Just Looks
Next is a look inside my interview process. I have been through a fair number of interviews in my life. Whether formal or informal, sometimes I am asking the questions. Other times I am being asked the questions. One thing is true. It is always an interesting experience. After all, the name of the game is enlightening someone on the value that you bring to the table.
Success for the interviewee depends ultimately on their person’s ability to stay poised, and deliver the best impression to the person doing the interrogating. Which isn’t always easy. Especially depending on the question’s being asked. I read somewhere, that certain companies even like to ask individuals which beliefs they hold, that are not widely held by most people. A question like this can be extremely tough to answer.
I find the mentality between successful people in an interview, and my favorite people to take photos of are very similar. They have a calmness and confidence about themselves. They are able control the pace. Which lets their true personality come through.
I find the mentality between successful people in an interview, and my favorite people to take photos of, are very similar. They have a calmness and confidence about themselves. They are able to control the pace. Which lets their true personality come through. This is usually accepted by people. More often than not, they are not concerned about being rejected for showing their true selves. These people know the right situation will highlight those qualities. They don’t rely on some awkward misrepresentation of themselves, that all too often breaks down for many people. Like deciding to go ask the hottest girl in the room for her number, and fumbling on the delivery.
My goal when interviewing people is to get them as comfortable as possible. I show them my vulnerabilities so we can have a real discussion about the topic we need to discuss. Are they suited and capable to handle the work I am going to rely on them for? Are they sharing the truth or playing it safe? Sometimes I find they have passion and skills in an area, that isn’t necessarily on the agenda. I like to dive into these passion’s, that is where I want to build a relationship from.
As I was looking for a graphic designer, I found people who had more skill in film, production planning, and programming. I would have never come to know their true strengths, had I been too focused on a graphic designer. Instead of the person in front of me. Some of these people will find a place around me doing what they love. Others will have to hang on, as I continue to grow until I can bring more people on. Some won’t ever fit, but they will find their own path.
In The Hot Seat
Now it comes full circle. Early last week I was approached by Aurie. My old business colleague, about doing an interview for his readers. Of course I agreed. Normally I am the person asking questions, and I enjoy the opportunity to express my understanding of life and business. So he sent me an email with the questions.
I worked on these answers over the past week when I had time. Questions ranging from when I decided to start building my vision, to what lessons I’ve learned, who inspires me, and what environment I feel most productive in. It so happens that it turned out to be a 2000 word essay on my philosophy behind developing a fashion label, branding, and building a business development company.
It’s hard to sit in front of a person with a microphone in your face. Trying to describe what makes you, well you. Although it certainly is a good indicator of how I can handle the pressure.
I enjoy the format of an interview, where meaningful questions are asked. I also like when I am given a chance to really think about those answers. I feel it allows me a chance to develop a more accurate representation of myself. It’s hard to sit in front of a person with a microphone in your face. Trying to describe what makes you, well you. Although it certainly is a good indicator of how I can handle the pressure.
So I completed my interview and sent it off. He quickly mentioned he would like me to send a photo to feature with the article. This made me realize I didn’t have a recent photo. Besides the occasional selfie. Which I figured was a bit inappropriate given the context. So I picked up the phone and called another good friend/photographer Brenden Dervin. We have spent some time taking photos together. So I figured he would be the best guy to help me get the shot. I threw on my most dapper gear, and went to a few locations I scouted. The whole time I was talking about my experiences of being a “model.” The truth was, sometimes I didn’t really know how to hold myself in front of the camera. As I was explaining this to him I felt the awkwardness being lifted, and got into the flow. It’s weird how that worked. I was willing to be vulnerable about how I really felt about the situation, and by diving into it, I rose above it.
I guess what I am trying to say is that people should just own who they are. When you feel the pressure, whether it is doing an interview, photoshoot or just a moment in life that is going to test you. If you feel a certain way, acknowledge it. If something feels off, speak up. People worth having their respect, will value that. Often it’s the only way to put it behind you.