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Meet Luke Pearsall of Luke Pearsall Studio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Luke Pearsall.

Luke, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I got my start in photography during the summer of my Junior year in high school. I grew up in a beautiful beach town on the Jersey Shore and had the opportunity to start taking college courses at the local community college the summer before my Senior year. Like most high school kids burned out from a long year in the classroom I just wanted to make something fun that I might be interested in. This was 1999, and digital photography was still in its infancy, and the course was a 35mm film course, so I borrowed an old SLR camera from a neighbor and signed up for the course.

The rest of that summer was the summer I fell in love with making images. I learned how to develop my own film, how to print my own prints and became enamored with the idea of learning more. I was the president of my class, an honors student and athlete. My whole life all I wanted to do was compete to be the best student so one day I could get into a prestigious school and get a good job. I was one of those kids. The sort that you kinda hate to a certain degree when they raddle off their college resume of clubs and activities they were part of. That summer course changed it all for me.

I wanted to be a photographer, I wanted to study photography, and I wanted to make it my life. In the fall of 2000, I started my degree in Photographic Illustration at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. It is the oldest and most prestigious photography college in the nation. Although some might argue the Brookes Institute or Yale as alternatives in that discussion. I spent four years learning with some incredibly inspiring people who really were part of the Photography world back when it wasn’t so saturated with everyone calling themselves Photographers.

In 2004, I graduated RIT and being newly in love with a wonderful girl we decided to have an adventure and move to Hawaii. What we didn’t really know was that Honolulu isn’t really a hotbed of activity for emerging photographers and there weren’t really many people to even assist for or work with. Without savings accounts draining I decided to look into other means of employment and got myself a job as a Production Assistant on the ABC television show LOST. Lucky for me, right place right time, the show won an Emmy Award for Best Drama that year.

I was sucked into the Television in Film world for almost six years after that working on a laundry list of shows and films. I moved to L.A. in late 2005. In 2007, I left the show I was working on for a year hiatus to work as an Adventure Guide in South America working for a British company called Kumuka. It was a wonderful time exploring places I didn’t imagine I would have ever seen in my life and I believe one of the real reasons that I have become Travel and Outdoor Photographer and Influencer as the kids call it.

I came back from that hiatus from TV and struggled through a few more years of doing something I didn’t truly feel fulfilled with but knew that it was my way to earn a living and stay close to the entertainment industry. I will always appreciate the things I learned in those many long days on set and have the greatest admiration for the people who make films. It is by no means an easy job. As my desire to make photography my life again. I started to photograph some of the models’ friends I had made a living in Hollywood and being a young 20 something year old it wasn’t long before I was shooting quite often.

This was before social media was a thing. When did become a thing I think I realized the Instagram was the perfect platform for any photographer to use for free marketing and since the struggle to make it as an image maker was real, I adopted it the best I knew how and it sort of took off for me. Along the way, as my photographer became better, I had a few really big breaks that I am so grateful for. One was working with Samsung Mobile USA, and after that, I knew I had the skills to work at a high level even though even to this day it feels scary sometimes.

The client list has grown over the years, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with my great brands and more importantly great people. I’ve been able to teach workshops which I love and really connect with young photographers which felt so rewarding to me always.

Eventually, in 2015, I felt the adventure bug drawing me in. I planned a trip to solo hike The Camino de Santiago a 550-mile Pilgrimage Trek starting in France and crossing all of Northern Spain. With the support of some wonderful friends and family, I was able to raise enough money to make this happen. In the course of my time on the trail, I came to realize that the life I wanted to live wasn’t necessarily in L.A. fulltime anymore. I picked up shop and moved my studio to Denver Colorado. I do still operate in Los Angeles as work might dictate, but home base is in Colorado.

There are no models on my Instagram feed any more only mountains, travel stories, and adventures around the world. I have filled the empty void I was feeling in my work with an immense feeling of satisfaction working and living the life of a travel, adventure-driven creator. It is a life that isn’t always easy, isn’t always financially rewarding (although it can be at times), but I have become rich with the experiences of life, with pursuing the work I am passionate about and going to the places that take my breath away.

I am obsessed with the idea of sharing what I see, telling stories about my adventures and hopefully inspiring people to go explore, get outside, travel, and touch the lives of others as well. To me, it isn’t necessarily about the billboards or advertisements in magazines (although they are very cool I have to admit), its about the how rewarded and blessed I feel to receive a message from someone that says you inspired me to travel, or get outside, or see something new because of the work that I’ve made. That’s the greatest gift of all, to be able to have a job that allows me to create something that can touch other people.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Photography as a career feels like it is always a struggle. One month you can feel like you are the hottest Photographer on the scene and then the next you are riddled with self-doubt wondering why you haven’t had an inquiry in two weeks. It’s the nature of the business as you learn over time, but it can be absolutely brutal if I’m speaking in all honesty.

The hardest part has been in the past five years as social media has taken over the world by storm and incredible digital photography and filmmaking technology has become so affordable. Everyone and anyone can buy the equipment download an app or make images and videos as simple as using an iPhone.

The market has become saturated with “photographers,” and I am all about sharing the art I love with people but because these types of creators are unfamiliar with the business they have been really accepting very low rates to produce work which has driven down the day rates for models, photographers and all the people who were once highly skilled business people in the industry.

As great as social media has been for business and up and coming types of creatives it has really had a negative impact on the business of photography in my humble opinion.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Luke Pearsall Studio – what should we know?
In recent years my business has shifted to focus on the Outdoor, Travel and Lifestyle categories which are becoming so popular. The goal is to work with clients who see the work we create in our personal travel and outdoor endeavors and match that with the vision of their brand. We love to travel, see new places, and work with other creators as well.

The most important part of our business is establishing long-lasting relationships with the people we work with. We have a large network of talented media professionals in almost every area film, television, and advertising and can handle budgets that are much larger but also the budgets of companies that we see the potential in and want to help grow.

Additionally, the studio has a large base of influencers to draw upon if the client needs promotion or notable influence for their brands as well. That is where we stand apart.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Some people might say that creating good work is the most important thing to succeed. Now, I agree with that, but I would put it second behind being the kind of business that puts people and relationships first.

The reason Luke Pearsall Studio will work with a client over and over again is because truly enjoy the relationships we have made with the people we work with and a product of those relationships is a trust that we will produce great work for them and that they will trust us with their brand.

Another characteristic I think is important in succeeding is understanding that you should always be learning something new and pursuing the things that inspire you to work hard, create better work and achieve the things you want to achieve. It’s all cliche, but I’d be damned if some of it isn’t just true.

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