Describe your business
39 Pixels is a photography, videography, and media company specializing in the real estate industry. We focus on helping agents mark their listings and help market themselves.
What made you decide to open this business?
I do photography as a hobby and find a way to do it as a living and make money off of it. I saw how homes were being marketed and saw an opportunity to take pictures/ do something new.
How did you get started?
I had a few realtors friends who I called up and told them I would take photos of the following five homes for free. I wanted to see my progress, and it just went from there.
Why did you choose this profession?
I chose this profession because it allowed me to do something I love. I saw a need, and I was able to come in and fill it. I wanted to do something I enjoyed doing and also solve a solution to what was out there.
What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?
I love business, so I decided to create something on my own and grow. I can grow the business as big as I want to, and I won’t have to worry about what new jobs come my way if I did not start this business. What I do doesn’t feel like work to me, I am helping others be better at what they do. I’m assisting them, and it gives me gratification to see that I can help other people do their job better.
What was it like when you first started?
When I first started, there were a lot of unknowns. In my mind, I had a good product and idea, but what one person thinks is a good idea sometimes isn’t a good idea. Then other people see it’s a good idea, so it works. There was an unknown as to whether it was going to work or not. Success and failure is up to you when you create something. I’m a hard worker and want to put 100% effort into everything I do. I didn’t know if the market needed my product as much as I thought it would. I would always introduce myself to realtors for free to get my portfolio put together. It was just a lot of hard work, and I still did not know the answer to a bunch of questions. Trail and error are how I made this idea come to life. I tried something different to see the outcomes. Taking a look at the whole process is pretty insane. I knew that in the beginning, it was a one-man shop. I wore every hat in the business and started to see where things could start falling through. I hired someone, my best friend growing up, to help with admin stuff and to make sure everything was taken care of so I could shoot the homes. Being able to work with my best friend is pretty awesome. He’s worked with me for 3-4 years. I’ve been able to work with someone who has been in a majority of my life.
What professional photographers have influenced your work, and how do you incorporate their techniques into your photographs?
Several photographers have been doing this sort of work, and with social media being open to all, it has been an excellent tool for looking at others’ work and interacting with them. The people I have reached out to have been open to me. I would ask them questions like “how did you get this look” or “how were you able to achieve this shot.” They have helped teach me step-by-step, gaining details and information on what I am doing and learning the best of what I need to know. The people I contacted were not local, so it was not a competition. A photographer taking photos in California won’t hurt a photographer taking pictures in Florida. There are great photographers out there, and the internet has been a fantastic tool to help me learn. Now, I have turned into the teacher at this point. I can give back and help others get off the ground too. It is pretty neat to be able to pay it back to others.
What details do you believe make the best photographs? How do you go about focusing on them in your work?
Taking pictures of homes vs. anything else is a whole different thing. In some parts, it is easy because you do not have to chase people around or make sure that people are smiling. You have to put yourself into more of a story-teller mode because the photos you are selling are to sell a space to someone who has never seen it before and to make them want to see it in person. You need to make a person fall in love with a place they have never seen and have them imagine living there. You need to story tell with the lighting and really describe and capture the whole layout of the house.
What is something most people don't know about the business?
Some people do not know how many working parts go into successfully running a higher volume of real estate media company. Over the past 3-4 years, this industry has been busy, and I’ve been able to grow the business to work with many realtors. I have a business mind, not a photography mind. I know how important the business side of things is and how we run the backend of the business. I make sure someone answers phone calls immediately and make sure that we have our calendars/schedules correct. If something is due at 9, I like to turn it in by 8:59. If I’m going to an appointment at 1 and I’m running a little behind, I make sure to call the person and let them know ill be there by 1:01. Everyone’s time is valuable, and I respect their time. I don’t want someone to think I won’t show up. It takes a lot of organization and ensuring all appointments run smoothly. We have days where photographers are shooting 8-9 days. If we have to wait a few mins for the house to be ready, it sets the whole day to be out of time. We consider it extremely important and take all precautions necessary. For any issues that occur, we let people know right away.
When your life is over, how do you want to be remembered?
As a Christian, my wife and I are determined to raise our daughter in a Christian household and instill strong moral and ethical values in her. We understand that our time on this earth is limited, and we believe that living positively and helping others whenever possible is the key to making a difference in someone’s life. While we all have our own problems and challenges to face every day, we strive to be there for others and lead by example. It’s important to be generous and kind and always available for those in need. I aim to be known as a caring and loving person, a devoted husband, and a good father.