We’re excited to introduce you to Jai Long of Free the Bird! Jai is a serial entrepreneur based out of Australia. Not only is he an amazing photographer, but he’s a visionary and an advocate. Over the years, he has grown his studio to include multiple employees, launch a podcast (Listen here: Make Your Break), create course material and e-books, and to invest in other business. You definitely will want to check out more about Jai!
Meet Jai Long of Free the Bird
Gamut: Tell us more about your origins, Jai! You’ve had quite the start in life
Jai: I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up on the north coast of New South Wales. We lived on the road for my younger years and we ended up in government housing shortly after. Growing up in the projects and not having much education early on definitely helped me grow ambitious and want more from life. I always have so many opportunities that come my way and I am so thankful for my upbringing and the life I live now.
G: How did you first get introduced to working in a creative field?
J: My dad played guitar in the house every day and my grandfather is a painter, so I think those things inspired me to create. I started my career as an electrician and I have done many things since then. The moment I moved into a creative field, was the moment I felt like this is what I am suppose to do with my time.
I have been a full time wedding photographer since 2013 and I have been teaching creative entrepreneurs since 2015 to help them better understand business and turn it into something they actually enjoy. I am so passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others with the things they find difficult, so they can concentrate on they fun things, creating work they love.
Make Your Break: Creative Business Podcast
Make Your Break is a creative business podcast show that’s aimed towards helping my community push their businesses to new heights. I’m packing it with stories, inspiration and tangible tips designed to help anyone at any stage of their creative business take action to improve their situation.
Download Jai's E-Book!
Cash Flow’in Like A Boss is a free eBook with a 5-week challenge to help you keep your cash on track and the dream alive.
G: With having such a wide variety of experience and running so many things simultaneously, how do you keep yourself “inspired”?
J: When I do anything creative, thats when I am in my happy place. It doesn’t matter if it is photographer, playing guitar or working on one of my businesses. I find them all equally as creative and I love that I can bring creativity into things that some people would find mundane.
What keeps me motived and inspired is the fact that I do so many different things and work is never repetitive. I think everything I do, I do it because I love it and I will continue to do that. whether it pays or it doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter. I believe when you are passionate about what you spend your time on, you can’t go wrong and you would never have to find extra motivation. I don’t think I have ran out of motivation, even for a day, since I decided to take control of my life, and work on my own terms and by my own rules.
G: A lot of people find the “mundaneness” of some of the more monotonous work can just tank their motivation. And editing tends to be at the heart of that. [Editing] seems to be the bane of most Photographers—yet you’ve seemed to thrive in that arena. When did you first find yourself drawn to color and how it impacted the way you saw the world?
J: Colors effect mood and that effects the feeling it evokes to a viewer. I love thinking about the mood I set in my scenes and images and how it will make someone feel and if I am best creating the right feeling for what I am trying to portray. Colour also shows quality. If you have beautiful tones and colours that work well together, the scene or images looks more thought out and pleasing to the eye. For example, if you are using HDR and over saturated colours in your work, it can give a cheaper and less quality feeling to your work.
G: Color aside, what makes your work different? Why do you think you’ve stood out?
J: My work is my work and only I can create my own work. It is a combination of my own experiences, how I feel and my own emotions, what inspires me and what makes me truly happy to create. I don’t think you need to purposely try to create something “different” for the sake of being different. Most of the time our clients can’t tell between you and 90% of everyone else anyway. So if you concentrate on creating work that you truly love, your clients and peers will love it as well.
G: All work aside, what are some things that have been bringing you joy recently?
J: I have been enjoying creating my podcast lately and that takes up a bit of time. I also enjoy working and driving my 1967 Chrysler Valiant and heading out of the city for a country drive.
G: You’re just at the beginning of what seems like it will be a very incredible life and business. At this point in that journey, what do you think you are most proud of?
J: I am proud I have built I life that I love and I get to help the people around me. I am proud I get to help my family and I am able to inspire the people that mean the most to me. I am proud that I get to share my knowledge with people that want to do the same. It’s an incredible feeling really. I am also proud that I have never been held back by fear. No matter the risk, I have done what I wanted to do and it has always worked out because I work hard to make it work.