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Conversations with Kyle Goldberg

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyle Goldberg.

Hi Kyle, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve been into photo and video as a hobby since I was shooting skateboarding back in high school. I always felt calm with a camera in my hand, it gave me a purpose to be outside and explore. Even as a kid, I used to shoot videos with a VHS camera and manually edit on a VCR, I’ve always enjoyed the process. I loved shooting but I didn’t think it was a realistic job at first. It wasn’t until after college that I saw it as a potential career. I was living in Chicago with an undergrad degree and no career path, I was lost. Having a desk job seemed super lame to me, I wanted to be creative and live on my own terms. I realized photography was one of the only things I was passionate about and I started to embrace my skillset as something I could do for work. I bought a camera in 2013 and just ran with it. I pretty much started freelancing from day one, taking any photo job as long as it paid and doing random side gigs for cash. I’d put my work out there so people knew I was a photographer and leveraged my network into more opportunities.

My whole career has been trial and error, say yes and figure it out later. I’m completely self-taught, always trying new things until I eventually found my style. I first started shooting clubs and music festivals then got into events, which was my main focus for a while. I eventually wanted more creative control over my work so I started shooting lifestyle and fashion. I moved to LA in late 2017 and started putting all my energy into that. It’s been a balance of doing paid gigs and personal projects on the side, which then slowly turn into what clients hire me for. Now, I create content for brands doing a mix of both photo and video. I’m currently focused on lifestyle photography, short creative video and stop motion content. I work with a lot of small businesses, cannabis and fashion brands in LA doing content creation. I wish my story was more glamorous, I just work hard and always try to make my next project better than my last.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Definitely not haha. There have been plenty of obstacles. I’ve been pretty stubborn my whole career in that I was hell-bent on working for myself even before I had a big enough client base to support it. It was hard making money for a while and I ran through a lot of my savings while trying to get steady freelance work. I wanted the freedom of freelance so bad that I just stuck it out until it worked. It’s still hard sometimes not knowing where my next meal is coming from but it’s all part of the game. Moving to LA hasn’t been easy either. It’s tough coming to a new city and making connections in a saturated and competitive market. I’ve been here three years and I still don’t feel settled in yet but once I was able to sustain myself it’s definitely been worth it. I love it out here. Another constant struggle is being able to make money without sacrificing my creativity. Not every job is fun. Sometimes I have to compromise my vision to meet the client’s needs and get a paycheck but the goal is to have as little of those jobs as possible. I live by the cliche “say yes until you can afford to say no”.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I do a mix of both photo and video with an emphasis on short lifestyle video and stop motion content. I specialize in creating bite-sized social media content for brands – mainly clothing and cannabis companies but I work with all types of businesses. I’d say I’m known for building hype and catching people’s attention through short form content. The goal of my work is to quickly convey emotion and make people want more. People’s attention spans are so short these days on social media, I try not to make anything longer than it needs to be. I’d rather the viewer feel something and desire more than lose interest and stop watching. I’m most of proud of my video work, it’s what I put the most effort into and I can really show my style through the editing. I use video editing as a way to convey my own emotions to the viewer and the energy that comes through in my edits is always based off something I felt or experienced. My favorite project was a shoot I did with Puma in 2020 for the Birds of Prey movie collab. Both the photos and videos are on my Instagram and site. I love adding cyberpunk elements to my work whenever possible. What sets me apart is my ability to add candid energy to my shoots even when they’re planned. I came from events background, I’m used to working at a fast pace and I embrace a more run and gun style. I like to do a mix of planning the shots and improvising. I find the best shots always come on the fly for me and it gives a more natural feel to the final product. I prefer on location shoots to studio, I try to shoot as little studio as possible honestly. It feels so sterile. I love the raw feel of being on location.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
The obvious lesson I got from Covid is to never have all your eggs in one basket. I never thought my entire industry could basically get shut down overnight and even though it’s back open now, it’s still pretty scaled back. I’m grateful to have experience in multiple facets of photo, video and editing so I’ve been able to take on a bunch of random jobs in order to still make money. My goals now are to diversify outside of photo and video, which I’ve wanted to do for a while but Covid really emphasized the importance of having multiple sources of income. I’m not sure what my side hustle will be yet but I gotta make myself recession proof for the next time!

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Kyle Goldberg/Likes This

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