Today we’d like to introduce you to Christopher Swanger.
Christopher, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After graduating as salutatorian from Westwood College of Design, and receiving my BA in visual communication I was chosen by Fox Sports before I even graduated and went to work as a photo editor. From there I bounced around a lot trying to get as much experience as I could in as many different areas as I could. My journey led me to work on amazing projects and help such clients as Rubio’s, Swell.com, Billabong, Alpine Stars, Toki-Doki, Pacific Life, and more. After working as an Art Director in a busy advertising agency, I fell in love with the variety of work I was getting. I decided to make a portfolio online and see if there was a way that I could end up helping many clients, and not just one that you would work for. SO I began freelancing, started my own firm www.ux-studios.com and found that many businesses had an issue finding great UX/UI designers for their mobile and web project or photography that needed to be a bit more than just ordinary photography. I decided to work hand in hand with the bigger agencies and become a secret weapon of sorts that they could call at any time and receive great design or photography, or any creative need they had without them having to hire full-time employees. This even allowed me to get clients in New York, Chicago, and other states that I normally would have never been able to tap into. I even started doing some creative photography for many LA based rock bands and musicians such as Quiet Riot, Members of The Cult, Guns N Roses, Scott Weiland, Motorhead, Machine Head, and more. currently, I am consulting on Art Direction projects, Doing design projects and working on some photography books and projects like this one I am doing with my Daughter who is an amazing special effects makeup artist. We decided we loved batman villains so we decided to recreate them the way we saw them or our versions so she did all of the makeup, blood, etc. I did all of the photography and the post-photoshop work, and my beautiful wife was creating costumes, etc. We all played parts and even a few close friends got involved. I even had my buddy Hollywood Yates also known as “Wolf” from the tv show American Gladiators play my “Bane Character” – the entire series can be seen here: www.batmanvillainsreimagined.com
Has it been a smooth road?
There is no such thing as a smooth road in this business. It’s more like a roller coaster, that’s has some missing track in places, but with enough momentum, you might make it across. It’s a feast and famine ride, most of the time famine. One week you land a 60k job, then 6 months later you are still trying to land the next one while doing some smaller jobs in between. But it’s so worth it. The reward to me is freedom and variety. Freedom to work on the projects I really want, and the variety of work. One week you are designing around shoes, then the next its soap, then maybe healthcare to some crazy sports drink or some “internet of things” project like something that is controlled by a mobile phone. It’s a fun ride, but it’s also a scary ride. Here’s the deal, though, If you know your tools, and have enough experience it can be a really fun and exciting ride.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Standing out from others. There are a lot of fish in this pond, and you really need to know your tools and know what you are doing and stand out from the rest. Find your niche. That’s the hardest part is making sure you constantly deliver something incredible each time. That’s not a small task, for anyone.
What are you striving for, what criteria or markers have you set as indicators of success?
Tough question. There are a lot of ways to define success. Personally, I don’t think about it – I feel like I haven’t stopped searching for it yet. If I had to point it to something, It’s value. I feel accomplishment when I have added value to a project, or a product, or even a person.
So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
There are a lot of firms and agencies that are not located in the heart of LA, or Chicago, or New York or any big areas where it’s thriving. I personally would love to be able to be that guy that the agencies or firms call when they need photography, or creative services, consulting or design. It saves them the overhead of a full-time employee, and it’s also hard for them to find a top level pro in their area so they are forced to hire a remote contractor but many of them are not what’s expected. As far as big changes, yes. I’m looking to go full-time photography and creative design, and not so much the UX/UI design route. It’s a bit played out at the moment and seems to be a term everyone throws around pretty loosely.
- Website: www.chrisswanger.com or www.swangerphoto.com
- Phone: 951-805-3116
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @christopherswangerphotography
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/christopherswangerphotography/
- Other: www.dribbble.com/swagdawg