One of the perks of being a full-service marketing agency is that we have an absolutely fantastic in-house photographer on our team. At KEEN, we are so fortunate to have Nathan and his skills to help our clients with all their visual projects. Keep on reading to learn more about Nathan and the magic he works at KEEN!
What do you do at KEEN?
I oversee all the photo and video projects here at KEEN. I also take care of any large format signage projects that come through here as well. My role is very versatile and keeps me busy all year.
How do photography and visual production fit into marketing?
Visual elements play a huge role within the marketing space because it is most people’s first contact. Video is one of the best ways to get your message through to a client in a clear and concise manner. Photos are a great way to get your brand story across without someone having to read a 10,000-page document.
What is your favourite thing about photography?
The sound that the shutter makes…no just kidding. I think what it is, is being able to do so many different things within photography. It keeps me really interested! Whether I am shooting food, people, or houses, each shoot has its own challenges to overcome and gives me new things to do every day.
On any given day, I can be working with models or I can be working with CEOs. It’s always different, and I get to meet so many different people from so many different backgrounds. I think that one of my biggest skills is being able to connect with people and break the ice right at the start. You have to be able to find common ground almost immediately. Otherwise, it is incredibly awkward for the entire shoot.
How do you approach a photo or any other visual project?
As with any creative project, it is always based on problem solving. What is the problem that we are trying to solve with photography? Every photography project starts with the question “why do they need photography in the first place?” I don’t go into photography projects with the mindset of wanting to do the most artistic thing; I always want to do what is right for the client. That doesn’t always mean a huge, big-budget video. It’s whatever will be most effective to get the message across!
How do you stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies?
I have a few blogs and podcasts that I like to listen to. I also have a great network in the city made up of other creative people and we get together and talk about what we’re doing and different technologies we’ve been trying.
It’s not always about having the newest and best technology. People always ask what camera I’m using in a shoot, but it’s not always about the tool. We don’t necessarily need the newest and best, we need what is right for the job and we put a lot of thought into what that is.
How did you get into photography?
I spent a lot of time in high school in the Comm Tech program. I spent most of my time in the darkroom just developing photos by hand and learning. After high school, I received a scholarship from Tim Hortons and in order to use it, I had to go into post-secondary right away. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I liked photography. I ended up taking photography at MacEwan and it ended up being a really good decision for me.
What are the benefits of an agency having an in-house photographer?
Convenience and time. If a client needs something done quickly and effectively, we can do that here at KEEN in our own in-house studio.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to do what you do?
When I started in photography, just like any kid that starts in any creative field, there was push-back from my mom saying “how do you expect to make a living as a photographer?”. However, I always think that if you put in enough work and you aim to be the best in your field, you can make it happen.
How do you become the best in your field?
You work a lot. You should always try to see things differently and think more in depth about the things you are interested in. Sometimes I’ll be watching a show and see a lighting technique that is really different. I’ll, then, think about that technique and take it into the studio to try to recreate it and see what I can do with it. You have to constantly try to improve so that you don’t pigeonhole yourself into one style of photography.
When you were first starting out, how did you know that the work you were producing was good?
As bad as it sounds, I’m a big believer in low self esteem. I am always questioning if what I am doing is good. That questioning is what pushes me to constantly try and improve. When you start to think you’re good at something, you tend to coast and then you don’t push yourself to try and do anything better.
Being a Visual Production Manager/Photographer is a very dynamic role that offers a lot of challenges and opportunities to Nathan’s day-to-day . We are proud to work with KEENers like Nathan who brings so much passion to every project he works on. You can take a look at some of Nathan’s work here under the photo and video sections!