“Reminding yourself the reason you started allows you to keep fighting at the hardest moments, and if you have that purpose, you also learn to be better at your craft as you continue your purpose.”
Adam Schluter, is a global portrait photographer who took more than 1000 portraits from 20 different countries while riding trains and deciding to talk to every person he met.
Finding opportunities and sponsorship as a photographer
Adam has a wide experience in photography, his passion led him to work with many international companies, like National Geographic, HBO, Speak Up Productions, Visual Artists Group and many more!
His big break was when he reached out to a company to sponsor him to travel the whole PCH, from the southern tip of Mexico to Alaska, to find the best place to live out of all these countries.
“If you want things like this to happen, embrace rejection. It is gonna be your best friend in the world. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and expect to be rejected. If you get anything else that’s like winning the lottery.
But as you get those rejections, you can learn a little bit more from them. You’re really learning how to articulate and write that passionate idea and put it into words, and you wanna word it to be advantageous to the company. Why would they sponsor you? Now they have a million people reaching out to them, asking for sponsorships. Why are you unique? Why is your style of art, your photography; why would that benefit the company?”
Companies are really used to people asking for free sponsorship, so you have to keep following up; you’re going to have to email, check back in days, and keep following up until they agree. Then you just gotta persuade them on why you are the perfect fit for them, and then once you reach an agreement, you talk about what you are going to get out of it.
Communicate your artist's vision
It’s very important to communicate the vision and try to match that, cause as you know, people have different approaches to things, and especially companies that want to put their products out there. They want to present them in the best way possible, so you gotta reach a consensus that satisfies both teams, and persuades the audience. So it is very important to communicate your artist's vision.
“Art is a maze that’s wandering.”
Adam once decided to go on a phone-free adventure. “Hello from a Stranger” is the name of that project. He left his phone at his home in Missouri and took a one way ticket to Copenhagen, Denmark. From there he went to almost all the countries in Europe by train. He took the most beautiful pictures; and as he wanted to learn more about the people, he met and spoke to almost every person he came in contact with and those moments turned into conversations; and that’s when he learned so much about vulnerability and authenticity, and that’s how the rejections went lower and lower. People trusted him and opened up to him much more.
This project has been brought to light across the world and has been featured on TedTalks, National Geographic, Fox, ABC, and more. It just goes to show that the desire to spread light can help anyone overcome darkness.
The ironic thing about all of this is that Adam is actually a self-proclaimed introvert! Despite this, his passion to tell other stories through photography helped him to overcome his fears.
Finding confidence as a creative
“You have to be proud and confident enough of what you’re doing, so you’d be able to share that with the world”, he says.
That confidence comes from looking back at why you started off in the first place; such as an inspiration, a dream, a passion, a calling, an appreciation note, and most importantly your impact on others, no matter how big or small.
As an artist you have a lot of free time to think and be in your head. You’re also going to face a lot of rejections, but you have to balance that out with optimism.
“Once you know what your purpose is, you just can’t stop…If we all give ourselves a chance to be more proud of what we’re doing, not matter what it is… the world would just be a more optimistic of a place.”
As an artist, and photographer in specific, if you have any family member or a close friend who believes in your art and wants to help you develop it, then you’re lucky!
As an artistic person, you need someone to share your artistic journeys and endeavors with, because they are sometimes difficult and emotionally intensive to go through. So that person helps you in staying grounded and making sure you’re okay, and just talking about dreams and ideas and optimism together. Also you can use each other’s attributes and share your talents together, to come up with even great ideas and content.
“It’s not a matter of if you’ll make it; it’s just when you’ll make it, as long as you don’t give up.”
You’re going to want to give up a thousand times, but keep your goal in mind, and just keep going.
Your artist's vision is what makes your art stand out.
Check out our podcast, for more on Adam’s inspiring talk with our founder Christina Hawatmeh (insert link)