Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Poplawski.
Hi Chris, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Like most young adults graduating college and searching for their first job, I quickly found myself stuck in an office job selling marketing services. Zero creativity- just talking with strangers about what we can do for them. After about six months, I think the lack of passion really set in. I managed to save enough for my first camera and started going on three-day weekend trips (10 off days for the year meant 10 three-day weekends). Looking back, I was nowhere near the photographer I am today. I hardly understood the basics, my composition was far from perfect, I logged minimal hours on editing platforms and the fact that I had never taken a photography class was evident. But, I also look back and see a young man with a passion for traveling the world and a motivation to pursue something bigger than anything I had ever done. So, as cliche as it may sound, I quit my job and told my friends I was going to figure this out. It started with shooting anything and everything I could get my lens in front of. My first paid client was this third-party business that re-sold rims, and I had zero plan for the shoot. Then somehow, I ended up shooting for a real estate company, then some engagement photos, and just all these random opportunities. What I gathered from these first six months of trying to stay afloat was basically just learning how to operate a camera and produce content for people.
Then one day, a travel friend of a friend reached out and said he was started a phone case company. One conversation led to another, and I was essentially a one man marketing team- using my income as a means to seeing the world. Taking personal photos of gorgeous places while mixing in the phone case to build the brand. As my work really brought his company to life and I could see the quality of work shifting after each trip- I quickly realized that traveling for brands around the world was exactly what I wanted to do. Two years later, I partnered with my best friends and now wife to launch The Untold Narrative (www.theuntoldnarrative.com) a small creative agency that does exactly what we all love to do. It’s been another incredible two years growing this and focusing on what we love. Travel and creating. We work on everything together- from videos to photos for brands small and large. What I find most amazing is that every step of the way has been a building block. From communicating with clients in my first marketing job and developing that personal relationship to build trust, to understanding what pursuing something and needing a passion for it to become successful, to laying the foundation and figuring out what I wanted to do, to finally figuring out that brands were my passion, to launching something that brought it all together.
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?
I think every freelancer struggles with the notorious “no, I’m not interested”. I sure have experienced my fair share of denial. Although I think every road comes with its struggles and with the right perspective- I have found mine to be fairly smooth. Perspective being the key to why it’s smooth. Working in an office, I learned that I was lucky to even get a response from 1 of 20 emails. And the likelihood of that response being good was even less. So I learned to accept denial/negativity/defeat/no/not today/whatever it was as a means to continue. To keep pushing forward and keeping my eyes locked on the goal. More things I have struggled with along the way is finding an adequate sleeping schedule, eating correctly while constantly being on the road, gear that gets ruined, the 2020 pandemic creating bigger obstacles none of us were truly prepared for. But again, handling those all comes down to having the right perspective (that you are going to figure it out) and being patient with the process. Everything takes time.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
If you follow me on Instagram (@chrisroams), you know I specialize in finding unique compositions of landscapes and experiences around the world. That is truly what I love and what I find the most interest in. Fortunately, I partnered with Olympus Cameras two years ago and am officially an Olympus Explorer (an exciting platform for creatives who use and love Olympus). But if you know me from a client’s point-of-view, you know I also specialize in bringing start-up brands to life and complimenting an established brand’s effort to expand their marketing via social media. This now includes working with models weekly on direct campaigns, directing commercials for global distribution, curating videos for Facebook and Instagram, and basically offering the closest thing to an internal marketing team operating as an external team.
Once you take that leap of making photography a full-time career, the passion for creating can very easily be lost. Work has a tendency to steamroll ambitions and take you down a money path. Because I have been able to explore the places I want to go and shoot both photos of products as well as my personal landscapes, I have been blessed to maintain balance. I think the two things I am most proud of is: 1) I have kept a passionate balance of loving photography from a personal standpoint while balancing this as a career. 2) After four years of learning the ins and outs of this industry, my team directed and produced not one but two global commercials for Liquid IV. I view these accomplishments as things I take pride in today, but also as something I see as cornerstones for what’s to come. You have to love what you do, and you must be proud of your accomplishments big or small.
How do you think about happiness?
Simple, being able to create and having my favorite people next to me every step of the way. When this all started, @mlbourne was just a travel buddy I enjoyed spending time with. Then we tackled branding projects. Started really hitting it off in Iceland. Became official in Bali and got married in California. Together we met our business partner @philngyn in Germany, which led to more partners in @zeekyan and @jaybkaufman. Sounds crazy messy and all over the place right? But that’s what makes me happy. We’ve always done what we love and keep meeting incredible people along the way and this life just keeps growing. We all get to create together and we all share memories all over the world together.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.theuntoldnarrative.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/chrisroams
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWjHu0vXi4iv4OugXz95jjQ
- Other: https://vimeo.com/theuntoldnarrative