Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Evan Ranft, a professional photographer and short-form video maker based in Atlanta, Georgia. His top 3 most renowned projects were the ones with Toyota Rav4, Montana Cans X Heineken, and MOET & Chandon.
Evan is not only a commercial photographer who shoots a lot of lifestyles. He’s also a street photographer that shares his adventures on YouTube. He has had his work featured in galleries and recently, he put out a book, a photography book.
Transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
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Evan Ranft is a well known photographer in Atlanta that had his work published in galleries, books and is followed by over 300,000 people across the internet. In this episode Evan speaks about his creative process, how he got started into photography and the process of creating a photo book.
🔥 Evan on Instagram: https://instagram.com/evanranft
🔥 Evan on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtDd1HxzPTmvdwHa-cylISg
🔥 Evan's book: https://www.evanranft.com/store/mybook
I hope you learned something out of that episode! Now go crush it out there and remember to be nice with our planet – we only got one!
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This interview was transcribed by Descript.com.
Pierre Lambert: Good morning podcast and welcome to a new episode. I am so pumped today because we have a special guest on the podcast. His name is Evan Ranft. Evan, we’ve tried to record that episode several times. We had a very long episode in that and then the recording just disappeared. This one is good. We might have had a few glitches, but I think the universe is finally giving us a sign that we can record so if you’re ready to dive into creativity, if you’re ready to dive into street photography, how to make your work more powerful, not with just one dimension, but with several dimensions, I think you will love this episode. Evan is not only a commercial photographer who shoots a lot of lifestyles. He’s also a street photographer that shares his adventures on YouTube. He has had his work featured in galleries and recently, he put out a book, a photography book. With no further ado, let’s welcome Evan to the podcast and dig right into it. I think you’re going to love this episode. Let’s get started.
Evan Ranft: All right, guys. We told you it is not a joke.
Pierre Lambert: It is difficult to record with Evan, and for some reason, what we are using is LiLi cut off, and now we changed the software. We are back. Let’s get back into it. Evan, are you ready? Do you think we’re going to get this?
Evan Ranft: I hope so. Pierre, jinx did on the last one saying, he thought it was going to be the one that worked, and actually, this is the second attempt on this new platform so hopefully, this one goes. We were talking about motivation and having a reason to take photos and lately, I’ve just been doing whatever I want to do.
Pierre Lambert: I’m like you in the sense that I like to have a goal when I get out there and shoot, meaning to motivate myself to shoot. It’s much easier to want to shoot something specific versus I’m just going to try to shoot anything. I think that helps me, creatively speaking.
Evan Ranft: Yes, I did too but it’s weird. It seems the last few months, once again, if anybody watches my channel, I’ve already said this, I apologize but the last few months with being stuck inside, and everybody’s plans get scrambled, I think there’s been further pressure on creative people to try to come up with something, even though the world right now is not necessarily as conducive to creativity. It’s not the easiest time to go out and take photographs or try to be creative because everything seems to be on hold. It’s been tough to find those motivations when there are not any right now. That’s why I switched my mindset to focus on having fun. Maybe this year, in the grand scheme of things, I’ll look back on it and say, there was not much of a direction with my work, or there was not much direction with what I was taking pictures but I think in the end, something will probably come out of it. If you follow where your creative curiosity leads you, you’ll eventually start to accumulate work in some ways. Who knows? I could do this and by the end of the summer or in the fall, I may have some type of collection of work. We’ll see, just going with the flow right now.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. I think going with the flow is what we can do best for now, as you mentioned. How did you get into photography and then into YouTube? I’m curious because we see where you are now, but where are you coming from?
Evan Ranft: Man, it’s a long, long story. My dad was always a hobbyist photographer guy. He had film cameras. He had digital. He was always taking pictures of us when we were kids. Growing up, I was exposed to someone obsessed with photography, and it made me interested. I mean, your kid is still like a baby, so you probably haven’t gotten there, but I’m sure, what you do as a dad can easily rub off on your kids. You see it all the time. I think that’s where the interest came from and then from there, I won a few statewide photo contests. That would be in Georgia. I do not know if they even still do it, but this is in public school. They would have these art contests where there would be a theme every year, and you would submit work, and if you want at your school level, you go to a district, and then they would go to the state level. I had one photo that made it all the way. I think it was number two in the whole state when I was in middle school. I was 12 years old, and that happened. It was pretty cool, and the interest has always been there, so I did that and then, I didn’t think much of it, though. It’s funny, looking back. I see there was a lot of stuff in my young adult life, when I was like 18 and 19, that looking back on, it makes sense that I ended up getting into photography as a career, but at the time, I thought, I’m going to take a picture of this. I’m going to take a picture of this. I was always the guy with the iPhone. When it came out, that was one of the things I was most excited about, and I can take pictures of all this stuff I’m doing, and in hindsight, I realize now that’s not necessarily super normal. I was in college, and then I went to Georgia Southern, which is way south in South Georgia, and then, I transferred to Georgia state, which is in the middle of Atlanta, and that was when I started getting interested in street photography. I had a camera, and I was using it. I was using it for a fitness-based YouTube channel. I’ve been doing YouTube for ten years now.
Pierre Lambert: Wait, you’ve had a fitness YouTube channel?
Evan Ranft: Yes. I was in college more of exercise science, and I still love fitness. I mean, it’s my biggest hobby, but at the time, I was looking at it like fitness was going to be my career, and photography was going to be my hobby, and just talking about creative curiosity, I had the camera, and I was doing that. I was always interested in sneakers so, I would get a new pair of sneakers, and I would make a video about it. I made a YouTube channel about that. That got me into more creative video stuff. I had a friend who was making music and I asked him, do you want me to make a music video for you? Those are all for free. It is just me being curious and having this as a hobby. I made a music video for a friend of mine, and I knew a guy who worked at a hat store in Atlanta, the new era flagship store. And I showed him the music video because he asked me about it. He got me in contact with some other people, and they paid me for a music video, and it was just like a giant snowball domino effect of events that led me to a position where someone asked me, do you do photoshoots, also? I said, sure. I will do a photoshoot for you, and I know what I’m doing, and that’s when I realized photography is a job. I think I enjoy more than the fitness side of things, and I’ve just been pursuing it ever since, and to your question, where does the YouTube channel come from? The YouTube channel started off of an idea. I had already done a gallery of photos in Atlanta. I had built a little bit of an Instagram following, but I always had this vision in my head of how cool it would be to bring people along for the experience. Going out and taking pictures, because that’s what I would do in college. That’s what a lot of us do with friends. You meet up and maybe go for a shoot for an hour or two and try to be creative in some way, and I thought it would be cool to make a YouTube channel that highlighted that, and that’s the roots of my YouTube channel.
Pierre Lambert: It’s such a good idea because It’s what we miss in those historical photos, or any great work is, what’s behind the scenes? What’s the process behind it?
Evan Ranft: Yes. Well, I wouldn’t even say it was about that. It was fun. That was where it was rooted. I thought there were a lot of experiences and a lot of comraderies, and it was like a social thing for a lot of times for us to get out and do photography, and you’d meet people that way. You would maybe link up with one of your friends and say, let’s go for a shoot, and then they would bring a friend along. It created this network. A social thing around creativity, and that was when I started the YouTube channel. That was my idea, because at the time, four years ago, the YouTube landscape was completely different. Peter McKinnon hadn’t even blown up, and he, I think, had the same foresight that I had in terms of YouTube at the time was very stale. It was just gear reviews. No one had refreshed the photo world, and I think Peter was the first person who had the video skills to create a channel that did that. For me, I had the idea, but I had none of the skills necessary, so it’s been a learning process the entire time, figuring out how to make a good video and all that stuff, but I think from that time to now. The YouTube photo and video landscape have shifted dramatically. It’s crazy. How many awesome and unique channels there are now, compared to four years ago when I first started.
Pierre Lambert: Hundred percent. It changed so much even from when I joined. Have you seen that happen in fitness when you were with the fitness channel too? Like a change since then, or would you feel like it was on the photo side of things that had to evolve?
Evan Ranft: Still, now, I take a lot of inspiration from fitness, the fitness side of things, because I liked the way those people do a lot of their content, it is lifestyle-based. The problem that any photographer is going to run into is the fact that if you make a lifestyle-based photo or video, you now have a video edit, and you have photos to process, it doubles your work time, which is going to be the big hurdle on something like that. Whereas a fitness channel, you’re just creating a piece of content. You do not have to double dip like you are with photos and video. So, that will always be the hurdle, but I think the fitness world did the same thing in the past. People keep coming along where they know more about how to edit. Their edits are better. They know more about how to use camera technology, and you’ll see these super high-quality fitness channels that didn’t exist five, six years ago. It’s typical stale internet content, so I think it’s just crazy in general to see where YouTube has gone in a short amount of time.
Pierre Lambert: Yes. I feel that you got in at the right time for the photo ward.
Evan Ranft: Yes, if I had a perfect world, I wish I knew more about the video when I started, because I just jumped into it, with no experience whatsoever. I mean, I jumped in. I knew what I was doing with photography, and even then, my photos have evolved dramatically over the last couple of years, but I jumped in. I had no idea what I was doing with the video. I did not know how to edit a video. I did not know how to use premiere. I did not know about frame rates. I knew nothing and I’ve always been that type of person where if I have an idea, I’ll do it and figure it out along the way, but I wish I had known a little more when I started because I think for the first year and a half, maybe even after two years of the YouTube channel, I was learning on the job essentially.
Pierre Lambert: Yes. How do you think your style has evolved? Let’s take it maybe more on the photo side of things because of the video status. I find it a bit more difficult going down sometimes, with the types of videos we do, but in terms of the photo, you just mentioned that you felt there was a big shift. What has changed? What has triggered that change?
Evan Ranft: The change in my photos came. I can remember specifically; it was a shift I had in my mindset. I have talked about this before in my content. Some people might have heard this. It is easy to get stuck in a pattern. The pattern is okay with the commercial and the business side of photography. If you are a portrait photographer, you probably want to have a pattern. If you are a wedding photographer, you probably want to have a pattern because it will make you better at your job. I do X, Y, and Z. I do it well, my clients are happy, I get paid. That is one thing, but, when it comes to what your channel is based around, which is this more creative side of things, getting stuck in a pattern can be a negative. I found that for a few years, I was doing the same thing over and over. I knew this was how I shoot. It is how I edit. It is the final product, and I would repeat that over and over. One day, I had this epiphany moment, where I was doing this and not putting the maximum effort into this creative side of what I am doing. I am treating it the same way as I treat work, and that is not why I am doing this, so, I refined the way I was doing everything. Anytime I go out to shoot now, I think a lot more. I try to be more engaged. I try to have more of a vision of what I am trying to do. I try to look for more layers and more depth than images. Images that are more compelling and then, when it comes to the post-processing side, I spend a lot more time thinking about what I am doing. I take time to refine the edits. I clean up the photos a lot more with retouching. Not anything crazy, not crazy over-the-top retouching, but small stuff like taking out little pieces of trash off of a street or getting rid of that small light on a building that does not need to be there. Stuff like that. I had this ‘aha moment’ where I realized that there was so much more I could be doing with this.
Pierre Lambert: That’s awesome to hear. I get that question all the time like how do I define myself, how do I find my style, and how come your photos are so clean, etc.? What you touched on will explain to people that aspect of not always doing the same thing. If you’re into commercials and doing weddings, obviously you want to because that’s what people hire you for, and you’d better deliver what they saw in your portfolio, but if it’s for the pure art form of photography. How do you feel about switching all the time? Let us say you want to shoot underwater tomorrow, then you’re going to be shooting studio portraits, and then you’re going to be shooting on the street? Do you feel, as an artist, it’s something we should steer away from, or it’s something we actually should nurture?
Evan Ranft: That goes back to what we were talking about before the audio cut out. That is where I struggle because I like to have the reason why I am doing this? or your example, say you are brands that your building is based around nature stuff, it makes sense to do anything in nature because that is where your brand direction is going, and if you are making a brand, and you are out in the city, and you want to be known as a street photographer, it makes sense to do street photography, but 2020 is the way it is. I think it’s probably one of the first times where everyone is trying different. I mean, it is all over the map, so, I am trying to embrace that thing that you just said, trying different stuff, and trying not to worry as much about the direction of my work and more about what interests me, but it is tough. I mean, even saying it right now, I do not know if I would advise people who’re trying to make a career out of photography that jumped all over the board. I think it might be good to hone in on one thing, but what do I know? I am still figuring all this stuff out, years into it. I am interested in a lot of different things, and that question of building a brand and a reputation as a photographer versus what you are personally interested in. Two things conflict a lot. I think, with most artists. You asked the question that I am still trying to figure out myself.
Pierre Lambert: Which is great. That’s how we can bounce off ideas. If you are listening to this right now, if you’re in your car, if you’re driving, if you’re listening and painting, for example, we would love to hear your thoughts. Maybe hit us up on Twitter on that question: as an artist, should you go in all directions or stick only in one way? Evan, when you get hired for your jobs, is it always for the same thing?
Evan Ranft: I try to take jobs in three categories. I take jobs that are within the same categories. I’ll never take a wedding. I’ll never book a studio product photoshoot because that’s not what I do. On the artist side of things, I’m more of a street and lifestyle photography person. I translate those skills to client stuff. For the most part, I’ll do lifestyle-based shoots, I’ll do look book type stuff, I’ll do lifestyle product photos. Depending on what the client wants, I’ll do portraits and headshots. It just can’t be extreme formal type stuff. That’s not what I do. To answer your question, I think when it comes to working, I stick to a small group of things, which is very important. I do not think like a professional, and you should try to be the Swiss army knife of photography. I think it’s good to know what you’re good at, stick with that, and then when people try to hire you, they know what they’re getting.
Pierre Lambert: Yes. That’s the best advice one can give when it comes to character to character. I guess you have the same questions as me from people who are asking what I was saying already, or should I stick to one thing on that? If again, I think it’s what’s the goal with your photography? Even people ask you, how do you get so many followers and what’s the goal with your photography? Do you want to be an influencer? Do you want to become an artist? Do you want to make a career and make money out of shooting jobs? What, what are you, or do you want to have fun? Which is what I recommend a hundred percent of the people is don’t think about it just as a career – having fun with photography is amazing.
Evan Ranft: Yes, I would agree. That’s why these conversations are always weird when you get to talking about the subjects we’re going over because there are two sides to it. You have one side, where art, creativity, photography, everything, in general, can be 100% business, and on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, it’s a hobby. It’s a creative outlet. It’s a way to get fulfillment for yourself. Those two things don’t necessarily need to overlap, but the reality is they do. When you decide to either dedicate yourself to a craft or make a decision to make it a business, those two things don’t always work well together. I think that’s why these conversations get weird because, on one end, you’re talking about money. You’re talking about business with a camera, and on the other end, you’re talking about all the other things that come with using a camera for fun, as a creative tool, and making things for yourself. Does that make sense? That’s why these conversations are always strange because they’re almost two separate worlds.
Pierre Lambert: Yes. I think it makes complete sense. I’ll add to what you just said If you’re a person who is asking yourself those questions. The first question you need to answer is, what is your goal? What are you trying to do? That will define everything else and help you channel your energy in one direction or another. If your goal is to have fun, just do everything. Go shoot horses tomorrow, and then a studio, and then whatever, just shoot whatever you want, and have fun with it.
Evan Ranft: Yes, you just answered our question from earlier about being motivated to do pictures and why this year is weird and everything. I agree with you. If you want to start as a career artist, if you’re trying to get a following and have people know about you, you have to start with a direction and with a goal in mind. When you hit that spot, you are allowed to pivot, and you can figure out, do I want to try this? I mentioned that book project so I did this book of Atlanta Street and city photos and the theme of that was Atlanta has never been known as a photography city. I wanted to capture it in a cool and interesting way that could resonate with people who didn’t live here. If you did live here, people would say, wow, I’ve never seen the city look like before. That was the point of that project but everything I did as far as a brand leading up to that project pretty much was like an arrow pointing towards it, most of the videos I did on YouTube or street photography city videos, most of the things that I published online, or street and city photos, so when the book came out, it made sense. That’s what this guy has been working towards and that same formula can apply to anything. If you want to be a music photographer, start shooting music photos, sharing music stuff, and meeting people in music. Once you get to your goal of being a professional music photographer, you can pivot and figure out where you want to go next. I think that’s back to the beginning of the conversation. That’s kind of where I’m at right now, where I’m trying to figure out where my pivot is because the plan was to pivot into travel stuff. A giant pandemic happens and now we’re pivoting differently, and right now, I’ve just landed on doing what I want, which is probably not what I would recommend to someone who’s starting, but sometimes, it’s just about having fun too.
Pierre Lambert: This pandemic shifted things. I feel for people, even for me, I mean, for myself, especially because I was already in the travel space. I had all those travel plans and I remember you telling me also before, it’s 10, 20 hours. I want to travel more and get into it. Now, everything is upside down and we’re like, Oh, okay, how is that going to happen? It just puts everyone in limbo. I’m curious about the book. Can you tell us about your creative process for the book? I think I find the most difficult part about those is, how did you decide on the images you were going to put in them in the book and the arrangement? What was your process?
Evan Ranft: I love that piece of the process. On my Twitter and even on Instagram, I love curation because curation is the missing ingredient for many people. I might have told you this before. There is that quote. I am paraphrasing it. I am not saying it right. « A photographer does not always take the best picture. It is about knowing which one is the best picture. » That is the whole idea of the photos that could have been in that book I had thought about putting in there. I did not put them in because they did not fit into any spots, so let me bring it all back and explain this whole thing. The book came together because I had that ‘aha moment’ about how I was putting my photos together, how I was shooting. For about a year and a half, I continued on that vision, on that trend, and took photos in a certain type of way and it came to probably around last summer. I was going through my Instagram and going through all the work I would put out and said there is a cohesive feeling to this work and I had some previous work that I went back and re-edited, and I started to feel that I had a solid body of work. I think I had over 135 selects that I ended up pulling and putting into a folder on my computer, and then, I went and got them printed just at a Costco. I think it is 50 cents a print or something. Those are relatively inexpensive to do a small, basic print like that, so I printed them, came home, and I had a field notes notebook. I put tape on the back of each photo, put it into the book, and tried to curate the pages next to each other, so I said, this photo, and this photo look good together, and I started trying to put everything together like that. It was just a process of me refining it, and then I printed a test copy, looked through it, and said I need to change this. I need to move this around. I would look for errors and pull away at a sculpture as I described it until the final product was there
Pierre Lambert: That’s interesting and that’s personal, that section of choosing the photos and arranging them is the most difficult. Have you found that medium? You mentioned, clipping them in a notebook helped you more than others. Was there software you used before printing them out, or did you go straight for paper?
Evan Ranft: It’s funny. In 2015, I did a gallery of photos, and I showed it at one gallery, and then I had another gallery approach me and ask if they could show it as well. I showed it in two places, but the work and the layout had to change, so what I did there was I put all the work in Photoshop, and I moved it around like it was on a wall and tried to figure out how I like it, the way these photos look next to each other. They were pretty big prints. Most of them were like 30 by forties, 40 by sixties. I had some smaller ones so I would get into Photoshop and I would move them around, and I think there are programs out there for things like Instagram, but I don’t know if there are necessary programs for mock book layouts or mock gallery layouts. I’d have to do some research on it, but Photoshop is easy. I mean, you move the stuff around, and it’s hard to say if it’s a skill you can learn or if it’s just you knowing your work, and knowing how things flow together, and I guess like the Fung Shui of all of it, but I always enjoy that. I have enjoyed that piece of the process because I think you can position work in a certain way to where it’s even more aesthetically appealing to a viewer.
Pierre Lambert: Yes. Especially about grabbing this story with only one image might be limited.
Evan Ranft: Yes. That’s why I love Twitter so much.
Pierre Lambert: Tell us more. Let’s switch gears. Tell us more about Twitter because you’ve been more involved in it lately.
Evan Ranft: Well, if you are making a lot of creative styles of photo work, and you are trying to tell stories of what you are doing, Instagram lends itself to hero photos. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s difficult on Instagram. You post that one image, so when someone sees it, they see it, and then they have to swipe through. But on Twitter, you can put four photos right there on a post so someone can see it and they can see how all these images work together, and then they can go through them individually. I think just creatively, depending on the type of photography you are doing on Twitter, the format makes a whole lot of sense because of that four photo layout, versus on Instagram. It is just one image, and if you look at any photographers’ body of work, you rarely have photos that stand alone as one image by themselves, even some of the greatest of all time. Someone I was talking about on top of my head, Stephen Shore, is a good example. If you look at Stephen Shore’s book, the whole book together is a beautiful, cohesive thing, but there are probably 10 or 15 photos in that book that can stand alone as these larger-than-life type images. On Instagram, you have to make every photo one of those because you see it by itself. Where on Twitter and any of these other photo social media platforms, you are getting to see a collection. To see these images, work together and can tell a story. I think it just works better for the viewer.
Pierre Lambert: Everyone, you can go check out Evan Ranft on Instagram while we are speaking. If you’re not doing anything dangerous, like driving, you can look at something. You’ll see what he’s talking about with the four photos layout and being able to tell a different story. Now I start paying more attention to the photographs that I see on Instagram and the way you’re sharing it, Evan, I do personally feel what you’re saying, instead of having one photo hero, as you mentioned, you have those four or three or two that will work side by side in one message that will make it interesting and give you a quick glimpse of the story. It’s something I haven’t tried though.
Evan Ranft: I saw your post the other day. A prime example is you posted the other day about how you went out in the rain to take some photos, and you were saying that you were, I might be kind of mixing up how you said it, but you were saying that you felt more excited about making the video than you did about any individual photos you made that day. Is that right?
Pierre Lambert: Correct.
Evan Ranft: Okay, but part of that feeling might be because of some format, like in Instagram, where you posted four photos, and when you go through those four images, you get this idea of how the day went. You feel that this is a variety of photographs that he made in Chicago in the rain. These are cool, but when you are forced to have a cover photo that has to draw people, to get them to see those other photos, to tell the whole story, it becomes a different artist to viewer dynamic. Whereas, if they watch the video, they see all the photographs, as the day goes on they can pick their favorites again. Or if you share all four of those in a gallery on a wall, someone walks up and immediately thinks these are four photos from a rainy day in Chicago. I like how they worked together, the light changed this and that, or the other is a variety of perspectives here, ones from the street, ones of a city building. Instagram is always a part of the business of things and getting your work out there. It’s just the format. It can be tricky at times depending on the type of photos you’re making and what you’re trying to say with your pictures. I think.
Pierre Lambert: Yes, I see what you’re saying. It’s great. I think what you’re sharing is super important for anyone listening, and I love your approach around gallery-type viewing, where you can see the photos work together. And it’s true, even though the carousel on Instagram doesn’t do anything because it feels like it’s almost every time a different set or different photo because you never see them together as one, you always see them separately. It’s like you’re flipping a book’s page, but you do not see those four on the same page. Have you noticed? I think you did one or two. There’s been this concept on Instagram where people would layout three photos and kind of a cinematic format in the same post. Do you think that stemmed that frustration from some artists who were not able to tell a full picture?
Evan Ranft: A hundred percent.
Pierre Lambert: Why?
Evan Ranft: Okay. The pictures say something together. They say a lot less by themselves. It’s the equivalent of, for example, let’s say you have a music album, and you put an interlude in one of the songs, and track five is the 32nd interlude. You pull out that 32nd interlude and put it in the forefront, and it’s the only thing representing that album. People are going to say, What? I don’t understand this. When they listened to the entire album, that interlude made sense. The same concept can apply to pictures. There might be an image that says nothing by itself, but when included with a group of photos gives the story context.
Pierre Lambert: I love it. I love what you’re saying here. It’s the concept of series telling better stories.
Evan Ranft: I think it’s more of a product of the genre of photography you’re doing, where certain types of photos can stand alone a lot better. You’ve had Chelsea on this podcast. A lot of her, I mean, some are because of where she lives and the type of photography she makes. Her photos are so stunning that they can stand alone. Every single one, you would say, this is so crazy, and then she will add other photos into sets that tell a story of what’s happening, but she’s a prime example of someone whose work and brand and style do have that standalone quality and the same thing for big-time landscape photographers who might be out West. They’re able to make these images that stand alone, but, when you’re someone doing street photography or someone who lives in a smaller town, and you’re trying to be creative, you might never come across these big standalone moments, but you come across a lot of stories that can be told with a group of photos. I’m just thinking about what you’re shooting and how you are, but I think it opens options for people, honestly.
Pierre Lambert: I love what you just said. I’m bouncing. My brain’s bouncing to everything you said and that aspect of, if you’re in a small town, you might not sound scenic enough for one shot. Having several shots is such a good thing, you just mentioned here. I think there’s a lot of frustration out there from people who don’t have that. I don’t have that epic Hawaiian background in my garden, crazy sunsets. I don’t have that, but what they can work with is what you said, a set a series, and that’s where I think video comes into play also because if you look at some movies, they don’t need epic scenery. Right? You don’t know.
Evan Ranft: Exactly.
Pierre Lambert: Because it goes down to the details, and you show how they work together through the video. It just hit a home run in my brain in what you said. Thank you. At least it helped me.
Evan Ranft: Yes. One of my favorite movies is No Country for Old Men. That movie is what you’re talking about. You keep having these moments over and over where it’s like a snapshot of a scene, and you say, that scene is so cinematic. And then, you think about the next scene, the next scene comes up, and you say, that shot was so cinematic. But none of those moments in that movie would make sense standing alone, but when they create a body of work, be the whole movie, you get something. A lot of people consider it a masterpiece in film, so the same idea applies to photography, depending on how you look at it. It’s a weird conversation to have, and I feel like we’re like, we sound like two, like nerds right now talking about this type of stuff.
Pierre Lambert: Which is great. It’s what we would be talking about if we were sitting at a cafe with a camera after a good shoot.
Evan Ranft: Yes.
Pierre Lambert: That’s awesome. Evan, I’m going to be mindful of your time because I’m afraid the universe is going to drop something on the podcast and kill it, so I want to wrap up on that question, which would be, If you’re a little bit stuck creatively because everything you see looks great, or you see people having all those great creative ideas, what would you suggest someone does? If they’re like, I can’t, I’m out of ideas, I don’t know what to do, but everyone else around me has great ideas. What would you say?
Evan Ranft: I think focus. I’ve said this before. You’ve got to focus on what your story is. If you’re not telling us, if your life isn’t a story, that means you need to make some adjustments in your life, whatever that is, if you’re stuck home in your house, and you say, I’m not making any pictures in my house, I don’t know what to do, maybe try something new at home that inspires you. I’m speaking anecdotally here. This is all made up, but maybe try to take photos of you cooking a meal you’ve never made and make an Instagram story out of it, or if you’re someone who lives in a small town and you drive the same way to work every single day, maybe take a different road that you’ve never gone down before. Tell that story and try to take some photos, and inspire yourself that way. Looking for inspiration in your life and putting yourself in positions where you can potentially get inspired is one way to break out of these little ruts that we get in, and this year is the greatest creative hurdle that I think most of us have ever experienced so, it’s a lot easier said than done, but my advice would be, if you’re struggling, like most of us are, try to switch things up in your life, try new things and give yourself new experiences and try to document them. Have your camera with you and see what happens, explore what makes you curious and don’t think too much, because at the end of the day, we can only control so much. I guess.
Pierre Lambert: 2020 is a good example of that.
Evan Ranft: Yes.
Pierre Lambert: Thank you so much. Where should people find you? Do you want them to look at something in particular?
Evan Ranft: You can look at YouTube, search Evan Ranft. You can go to Twitter and Instagram. Evan Ranft. Check me out there. That’s about it. We got to do another one of these because I feel like we were just warming up with this whole conversation.
Pierre Lambert: We were doing around two, and hopefully, round two goes in smoothly. If you have questions, guys, please hit us up on Twitter if you want us to go more into details, if you have questions about Evan and then that way, the second episode can be tailored, but I think there’s been such a good amount of information in this one about creativity. How to think about our work, how to use it, and go deeper. I want to let people who listen direct the next episode with their questions.
Evan Ranft: Yes, we’re just thinking on the fly here. I feel like half the stuff I said is just working through ideas in my head. If you have questions, or you want to have a conversation or anything. Twitter is going to be the best way to talk to me. Pierre and I are going to have to do another one of these.
Pierre Lambert: It’s fine.
Evan Ranft: We could talk about this all day.
Pierre Lambert: Completely. All right, Evan. Thank you so much. Everyone, go check out. Evan’s work, and we’ll talk to you in the next episode. Bye.
Evan Ranft: Definitely, man. I hope you have a good one.
The Pierre T. Lambert Podcast is where Pierre interviews the best creatives in the world to share their tips and stories. Enjoy & spread the word to your friends about this podcast! Pierre T. Lambert is a travel & adventure photographer & YouTuber followed by over 1,000,000 people. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.