I’d like to take a minute to talk about addictions.

Another tip from my (slowly, taking forever, when will it come out) BOOK! If you would like to be notified when more sneak peaks come out, please email me and I’ll get you on the list!

I’ve been blessed to not have any addictions to drugs or alcohol. I stay away from these because I know my addictive personality. I would have would ruined my life in a heartbeat. I know I have an addictive personality because of a strong vice for video games.


Proudly proclaiming that I Turn Hobbies into 1099s. I was able to make an excuse of video games, because I excelled enough at a few of them to actually make money. One game in particular I made enough money to put a down payment on my house.


Eventually having a fair amount of attention-demanding work took over and the video games took a back seat to the addiction of accomplishment in my freelance life.


At this point, I was able to separate my ‘gaming’ from my work computer. “Only gaming on the Xbox.” I said! That way I wouldn’t have the little icon on my desktop just taunting me to come play.


This worked for several years. Some friends of mine, whom are normal 9-5’r workers, were playing this game. Looked really fun… so I installed a video game onto my computer. The evil I speak of is League of Legends.


LOL was the most toxic hate fueled game I’ve ever played. Probably not the most addictive game that I’ve ever played because I’ve played some doozies. This game was fun and challenging and most importantly I was not good at it. I’m sure being a total suck at it was a big reason I was so addicted to it. I wanted to be one of the best. Just like anybody that plays a video game.


Within minutes you could be inside a game that would last anywhere from 20 to 40minutes. More often than not I would be on the losing side of the game, making me angry, I would fire up another game. Sometimes I would win which would make me euphoric and I’d fire up another game.


The worst part about LOL is not the addiction or even the toxic hatred from other players, we can find that in our modern-day politics and news cycles. It was that it didn’t build to anything. The ultra-addictive games are the ones where you would level your character, and continue the progress. Going on quests. Finding loot. And achieving goals.


I probably realized I had a problem months ago. It took me a little longer to take action on it and I uninstalled the game. I was tired of working on something they had no end. No real world value. And nothing to build up on.


Easily three games each night totaling two and a half hours of wasted time. And nothing to show for it. I cringe to think how many days in a row I wasted.


I uninstalled and decided moving forward I could level up myself.


I could focus on growing my business. I could focus on being more of an asset to my own company. I can make myself more valuable for my customers. After making yourself more valuable to your customers you can charge more you get known to be that guy who delivers amazing results and quality.


The following two weeks after uninstalling, were the most productive and rewarding weeks I have had in nearly a year!


What addictions do you have? What addictions are getting in the way of you being valuable to your customer. What addictions do you have that are stopping you from growing to something greater?


Become a travel photographer

The problem with ten year goals is that they are easy to make, set on the shelf and forget. The goal in my mind was to become a travel photographer. You remember these long term goals a couple years later and decide to take a couple steps closer to success. Then, back on the shelf it goes!

The next thing you know, you are making a blog post about your ten year goal and wonder, “When the heck did I start this goal?!”

Become a travel photographer is the goal.

I set the ten year time frame because I know how competitive that market is! Figure ten years to hone my craft should get me fairly close to consider myself a professional travel photographer.

Recently I came back from a trip to Iceland and trip was to focus purely on travel photography. At my company 29 Pixel Studios, we specialize in video production and also photography. To really focus on travel photography I didn’t even bring my video gear!

I have posted <here> on 29 Pixel Studios a little more info, but this is my personal website so I figure I’d share some personal insight here.

One challenge: “How am I to compete with Photographers that live within 10 miles of this location that can wait for the perfect day?!” Sitting at the most photographed place in Iceland I was disappointed because of the low flying clouds killing my composition.

The biggest challenge to become a travel photographer I foresee is, I have no CLEAR idea how to drive income!

A friend mentioned teaching on destination workshops. Which, I think is a great idea. I love teaching but not sure this will be my approach.

Stock photography is beyond saturated and while that option is not completely out, it’s an extreme form of passive income in every foreseeable future in travel photography.

The biggest goal is to eventually be good enough to just cover my travel expenses and break even. I put such a long timeline out there because I want this part of my life to be during / approaching retirement.

I’m open to suggestions on how to earn an income with travel photography so hit me up at nick@nickschale.com

29 Pixel Studios goal; Become a travel photographer

Free freelancer tip from upcoming book! Things I wish I knew before becoming a videographer!

Tip #17 Second shooting for weddings. One of the best schooling. [growth]

This is from my upcoming book on Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Videographer! If you would like more info, free samples and release date please contact me right away!

This tip applies to photographers and videographers alike. So many people who start in both photography and videography  fields want to start by offering weddings. Everyone knows that these events pay well and there are always people looking for these services. This is pretty insane if you ask me.

A wedding is a once in a lifetime event (most of the time) and there are no “re-dos”.  As a wedding service provider, you must be prepared and experienced for any situation that might creep up. From churches that are lit like the dungeon of a castle to having to shoot in the rain, wedding shooters need to have the experience and knowledge to handle whatever happens!

29 Pixel Studios Weddign Cinematography / Videography Kansas City KS MO

Instead of jumping in with both feet, I strongly recommend to new shooters to second shoot for established professionals. Communicate that you are looking to build experience and possibly a portfolio. Tell them up front that you would like to use the footage you shoot to start your business in a year or so. This is important. If the primary shooter is not aware of this and then see’s their client’s footage on your site, that can create a messy situation. However, some are cool with it.

Instead of jumping in with both feet, I strongly recommend to new shooters to look for opportunities to second shoot for established professionals. Build a relationship with an established photographer in your community and communicate that you are looking to gain experience and build a portfolio.  Offer to work for free or a discounted rate in exchange for their mentorship and sharing their knowledge. This will be invaluable for you and your career moving forward.

Explain upfront that you would like to use the footage you shoot to start your business, when you feel ready (in a year or so). This is important. If the primary shooter is not aware of this and then sees their client’s footage on your site, it can create a messy situation (as well as open you up to copyright infringement and issues with model releases). However, with pre-shooting awareness, you can most likely work out an arrangement that benefits both of you.

Every videographer is different, some might release the rights for you to use the footage for a lower contract shooting rate. Some may have contracts that state all footage can only be used by the primary shooter. Communicate with the lead and respect the agreement. After all you will soon be establishing these agreements with your crew and a good relationship with a mentor is an invaluable resource. Most likely, the primary shooter is further along their personal journey to mastery, the time spent on with him/her is invaluable. If you get yourself paired up with an established professional, just watching them work for a few months can rival multiple semesters of film school.

29 Pixel Studios Wedding Photography / Photographer Kansas City, KS, MO, LeavenworthSame for photographers – in addition to having your primary shooter’s permission to share your images, you will also need your client’s. Make sure this is discussed and included in the photographer’s contract. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have captured an amazing image to grow your portfolio and then find out that you can’t use it via a “Cease and Desist” order from the photographer’s client. A wedding day is crazy, and an experienced photographer will know what to expect as far as capturing the little moments that brides love. It’s so much more involved than taking bridal and groom’s portraits – and if your only wedding experience is as a bride/groom or a guest, you have no idea what you will be getting yourself into. A wedding photographer can easily be expected to double as a wedding planner, coordinator and therapist, all while capturing first class images in any given lighting situation. If you aren’t ready to play all of those roles, then you need more time as a second shooter.

I second shot as a photographer for three years. Honestly, I don’t recommend taking that long, but for me, it worked. I had a job that was very comfortable and wanted to get my skills really locked down before being in charge of capturing someone’s wedding day. I understood 100% that there were no options for a re-shoot.

In addition to learning from someone further along in the journey you will get to see how to handle challenging situations. “Act like you’ve been there before.” A popular thing for coaches to say to celebrating athletes. Being there before means, calm down to the excitement and get back to work.

Real World Examples:


  • You are shooting a wedding. You have a few minutes to get the beautiful ring shot. You opt to take the ring outside and place it on a pile of leaves. You line up the shot and then… a gust of wind blows the leaf along with the rings into a pile of unknown mystery.
  • You are a second shooter for a wedding and the main shooter frantically comes out of the church and says, “I just dropped my camera and broke my main lens. I only have one other.”
  • Your teammate is shooting the ladies so you handle the guys. You compose the shot with the man of the hour and the groom looks at you and says, “No.” This by the way happens at the very beginning of your time with him and the groomsmen.

These are just three of the many situations I’ve experienced first hand. These types of situations can be terrifying and, if you’re inexperienced, they WILL throw you off your game. Being exposed to similar situations as a second shooter will have taught you how to handle them with grace and experience. Because if you are thrown off your game and you can’t recover, you leave yourself open to not delivering what the client expects, poor reviews and word of mouth, and before your business is off the ground, you are dead in the water.

Take Away: Find a mentor…or at least someone experienced that will let you work for them as a second shooter so that you know what you’re doing before you promise your clients the world and can’t deliver!

Again, this is from my upcoming book on things I wish I knew before becoming a videographer! If you would like more info, free samples and release date please contact me right away!

Big thanks to professional photographer Lindsey Slattery! http://www.lindseyslattery.com/ for helping edit and contributing some extra tid bits!

Six words you must ask the client

Nick Schale - 29 Pixel Studios -  Kansas City Videographer and PhotographerTrust me when I say, others value your work. They are calling to ‘kick the tires’ of your business. Maybe “How much do you charge for a wedding?” Obviously, they value you enough to ask the question… then you reply, $2,000. “OH MY!” Is their response. So, they did not value you that much.

Perhaps a client calls needing photography for a product shoot. Understanding that you are not trying to make a few people happy (Bride/groom/family) but the WHOLE WORLD love the photos and that these photos will add value to the company by increasing sales you value your time and talent accordingly.

If the use is not absolutely crystal clear, you as a photographer (or videographer) have to ask this simple question, “How will this work be used?”

In my contracts for family shoots, for example, it says the client cannot re-sale my work. Why? Well, think of how you would feel driving home on the interstate and seeing your artwork of two adorable children running through a field with, “Call Big Bank XYZ and invest in your children’s’ future!”

Wait a minute!? You were hired to do a family session! Not advertise so that a bank can increase profits!

You might be comfortable with your normal rate, I’m not here to judge, lord knows there are plenty of $500 wedding photographers. But I am here to tell you to remember the six words you must ask the client!

“How will this work be used?”

If you would like my company to ask you the question “How will this work be used?” Please feel free to visit my business 29 Pixel Studios and contact me today!

Read more as a new years resolution

Read more as a new years resolution should be more common than most. So much awesomeness in books. I seldom read for ‘entertainment’ because I get so much joy out of business books and self-help books.

Recently I recorded a podcast on Business Tips for Creatives about my top book picks from 2016. Mostly business related but I hope you enjoy!


Small business owner list for the next day

I’m curious, how many people make a to-do list the night before. I did last night. So far, success. This is day one. Let’s see how many days this lasts!

Just like every small business owner out there, I have a thousand things happening all at once. Hiring an employee didn’t really make things less busy either. In fact, I’ve never worked harder. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, just more drive to succeed.

The messy part is, so many of these things are small. Post on 29 Pixel Studios. Record a new business tips podcast for Business Tips for Creatives. Don’t forget NickSchale.com!

Mix those with the ‘big ideas’ that I want to accomplish and you have a mess. Well, last night, I went ahead and took a yellow notepad and not only made a list, but dedicated parts of the day to each section. Yup, made an old fashion schedule!

On my schedule:

  • 8:00-9:30 product photography for a client
  • 9:30-10:00 recap meeting and email to potential client that I met with yesterday
  • 29 Pixel Studios adds a Ronin-M to the mix!10:00-11:30 finally open up my Ronin-M… which, I then had to RMA back to BH… because.. well, bought it used (((TIP ON BUYING USED)))
  • 11:30-12:30 Lunch
  • 12:30-1:00 Podcast work (which got skipped because of planning for a trip to the NAB Show… I blame YOU Sean! Buuuut, ended up finding a cheaper flight by $200, so. THANKS SEAN!)
  • 1:00-2:00 Post to all three of my sites, doing that now, but honestly, probably going to miss one.
  • 2:00-4:00 Work on a MASSIVE spreadsheet for a big ol gig opportunity.

So, guess I better get back to it! … or… pick out a hotel room in Vegas! Sean!!!!!


Videography in Kansas City with 29 Pixel Studios

videography in Kansas City and photographyWhen you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. Not cliché, it’s real. Here is a picture of me at a gig where the client is known by three letters. N.F.L. Yeah, my company 29 Pixel Studios was hired to do some videography in Kansas City for the Fuel Up to Play 60 event for the second year in a row!

Check out the article tomorrow here: 29 Pixel Studios!


One of my big projects for 2017 is going to be redoing my office. Since, you know, well I spend a lot of time there. However, as a freelance photographer and videographer in Kansas City, you get some pretty cool offices. This day, here is the view from my office.videography in kansas city

img_20160513_094755Shout out to CAME-TV and their fantastic light panels. Here is one of the two I brought with me. If you are looking for an affordable and professional solution. These have been in my arsenal for about a year now and I highly recommend them!!


Level up your Life – Book Review

Over the weekend I told myself, “Self! Time to go through this book!” 5 XP earned!

Steve Kamb has crafted a master piece for anyone who has logged more than 50 hours playing video games as far back as the original NES. With constant references to Star Wars, Goonies, Jason Borne, Zelda, Lord of the Rings I started to think that I might have multiple personalities. One of which is a fantastic author!

“Never stop learning.” Comes out of my mouth a dozen times a week it seems, so I’m a big fan of self-help/growth books. Stroll through the hallways of Amazon.com under self-help and you will be bombarded with rows of great books. Written by gurus, some people just trying to make a buck, a lot of entrepreneurs, and ‘living the best you, you can’ type titles. “Level Up Your Life.” YELLS at me.

The content does not disappoint. Stop living your level 80 paladin’s life and start living YOUR OWN ADVENTURE. Why did we spend days, WEEKS, MONTHS grinding out crafting for our pixel characters instead of spending that time grinding in the gym for OURSELVES?

While this is the creator of nerdfitness.com it’s not just physical health through exercise. In fact, the work out section is maybe a few pages. This is about your life!
Seriously gamers… get this book!

Two good books on Wealth

Those who know me, know I’m fascinated by finances. Going into college as an accounting major I quickly realized that for a few more credit hours I could be a triple major and add economics and finances. *A couple years later I realized that for my happiness, my career had to be in the creative field. Freelancing for 7 years and now about to start year four of my own business, these classes were far from wasted.

Continuing education in your career is important, but continuing your education in personal finance is critical. Well, critical if you want to be financially independent, wealthy, retire early or just NOT live paycheck to paycheck.

Reading articles, listening to TED Talks, financial coaching, and books. These are my favorite ways to broaden my financial education.

The latest two books I went through are: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealth by Stanley Thomas and And 100 Way$ to Create Wealth by Steve Chandler

These two make a great one-two-punch for wealth. I highly recommend getting both of these and starting with Stanley Thomas’ book first. The Millionaire Next Door is fantastic for those who are living paycheck to paycheck and need enlightenment for a mental shift. Keeping up with the Joneses is a guaranteed path to failure. It is easy to see big houses, nice clothes, friends going out all the time, and nice houses. What you don’t see is their credit card debt. Live below your means, frugality, savings are the most common themes among people worth 1-10 million dollars.

Notice that salary or inheritance are not in the most common themes. 80% of these millionaires are first generation millionaires. Following The Millionaire Next Door with 100 Way$ to Create Wealth is a great combo.

My personal favorite is to ask for something ridiculous once a day. I’m going to implement this every day for the next ten days. Then I’m going to flip through the book, find another thing to add and do both of those the next 10 days. I’ll keep you posted!

Oh and in the spirit of being frugal… both of these books are available on Hoopla. A free audio-book app provided by most local libraries!

Memory card strategy on the wedding day

A wedding photographer friend asked me about my strategy with memory cards.

In a perfect world, you have a camera with two memory slots. I’m not sure all the models that do and don’t but my camera of choice does, the 5D Mark III. This might be something to consider when looking at your next camera upgrade.

What I do, is put in a 64GB SD card shooting either full or medium RAW. This has priority over the other slot for deleting/rating (more on that later). Then a backup JPEG going to the 32GB, normally full-JPEG. I prefer SanDisk or Sony. A 64GB Sandisk is only $35 and free shipping on Amazon Prime. Pretty hard to beat that deal.

I have shoot to the SD because they are more affordable. CF cards are still a bit pricier. A 32GB CF card is around $40-70.

If your camera only has one memory card slot, like most cameras. Two choices:

  1. A BIG card; the 64GB is my choice. RISK: If that card fails… you lose EVERYTHING.
  2. Another choice is a handful of 8GB cards. Then I’d say keep them in their original cases. Right pocket “all- RIGHT- to use” Left pocket = “LEFT alone.” If you have tossed the original cases in the trash, get a multi card case. Here is a case that is water resistant and holds both CF and SD cards –http://amzn.to/2aMqMWa, for $20, which is pretty cheap. I prefer the hard cases vs the soft ones.

Another overall strategy I recommend; rating your photographs in camera instead of culling them down. At some point you will accidentally delete a photo while culling and rating them instead protects you from that mistake. I rate the delete photos as 1-star and the signature shots as 5-stars. When I get home I copy everything form the SD card to my computer, then again to an external hard drive. In Adobe Bridge (or Lightroom if you prefer) I then move all 1-star photos to a folder titled, you guessed it, 1-star. This is a very conservative approach but I do not see a down side. Rating photos is just as quick as deleting them, not to mention if you want to do a sneak peak, boom, just use your 5-star rated photos.

This post was created with wedding photography in mind, but honestly I use this method for everything, family photography, senior photos, event photography, etc.

Hope this was helpful!