We had a chance to sit down with Cody Baker to ask him what it's like shooting photo & video full time, and grab some tips for anyone looking to get further in their own creative fields.
What inspired you to start creating? When did you first pick up a camera?
I first got a camera back in 2018 after leaving university when I decided the program I was in was not what I wanted as a career. A creator on YouTube by the name of Casey Neistat was my original inspiration to start creating, and my love for it grew from there. The content he made was far from the content I planned to make, and even what I do now, but it was the idea of creating things that you envision to tell a story that inspired me. When I was in university my goal was to finish a degree in History, then continue on to teachers college in an effort to educate in an area that I was passionate about. I hoped that this would inspire students of mine to do the same. Looking back on that now, I find it interesting how I have chosen a new career path that will essentially allow me to do the same thing, but in a new way. Not only will I be sharing my story with others, I'll also be able to see the world and have the most incredible life experiences.
What is your favourite medium? (i.e. photo, video, etc.)
Photography is my favourite medium because of the challenge it brings in telling a story to those who have no idea who you are, or what your work is about. I find that with video, as challenging as it is, through movement and sound design you can tell a story easier. I find that photography is left almost entirely to the interpretation of the person looking at it. When I share a photo on social media without much context, I’m always curious to see what that interpretation will be, and have discussions with people to see what they gather from the photo. The other challenge I like about shooting photos is that it forces me to go out with a purpose to really create something that will be able to tell the story that I'm hoping to share with my audience.
I know that you recently became a full time creator. When did you know you wanted to commit to this path?
The goal when I moved out here 2 years ago from Ontario was to become a full-time creator, and although it took a little longer than I had hoped, I think now is the perfect time. I think something most people don’t realize is that being a full-time creator is something that you just have to commit to at some point and have a belief in yourself that you can do it. Your schedule and success depends entirely on you and the choices you make in your daily life. It comes down to how hard you work and how much you want to put in to really achieve the goals you have in this field. Recently, I met and teamed up with a few other creators who helped me realize that it is the perfect time for me to fully commit to this career path. Not only do I have the support around me from my team, I also have a group that I can collaborate with as we work towards similar goals in our careers.
Photo by Cody Baker
What are you trying to accomplish through your work (why do you do what you do)?
My outlook on being a full-time creator has always focused on one main goal, inspire those that follow me to chase their own goals and let nothing get in the way of that. The best part about creating content is it not only inspires other creators, but I have found that it inspires others outside the creative community to chase their own dreams. Often times I get people that reach out to me just to say thank you for inspiring them through the work I’m doing, even though they have no connection to the creative community. To me, that’s the coolest thing, being able to influence and inspire others beyond your field of work. It's definitely something that I will continue to try and do throughout my creative career.
Photo by Cody Baker
Is there a favourite spot of yours in Alberta to create or shoot?
This is a tough one because Alberta has the most incredible landscapes to offer, but I would have to say Kananaskis Country. It's the spot where I tend to create the most because it feels like a bit of an escape when I’m there. Kananaskis Country has the best hikes and when you reach just about any summit you are greeted with lake and mountain views that never end, there really isn't anything much more special than that. I would say the Tent Ridge hike has to be my number one favourite spot to create because of the views you get of the lake and mountain layers after such a short hike.
Photo by Cody Baker
Do you have a favourite shot that you can share a bit of background on?
My favourite shot ever would have to be one of the Three Sisters in Canmore from a sunrise hike back in the summer of 2019. I hiked up Cascade Mountain in Banff and saw the best sunrise of my life. The hike was in late summer, so we knew we had to start as early as 3:30am in order to reach the summit for sunrise and get the light that we were hopeful for. I remember approaching the summit as the sun was starting to rise and still being too far away, so I ran up the mountain as fast as I could to make sure I wouldn't miss out on the moment of light that was soon to pass. By 7 am we reached the summit with no time to spare and I got the best photos of my life. I can definitely say it was worth the early morning grind.
Photo by Cody Baker
Do you have any tips for someone starting out that hopes to become a creator full time?
I have two main tips for people starting out that are quite simple at their core, but crucial to think about critically and understand.
1. When you make the decision to go full-time, make sure you’re organized and giving it 100% of your time and effort.
2. Work hard and save money early to allow yourself the ability to commit full time, as I really think that is the way to be successful in this field.
Another tip, for when the current social state of the world allows, is to reach out and meet as many people in the creative community as possible, and take every opportunity offered to you. The community around you is the greatest way to learn and grow in this business.
How can people get in touch with you?
People can get in touch with me easily through my Instagram page @CodyBakerPhotography, (linked here). I’m always interested in talking to people about their goals & inspirations, and will do anything that I can to help them reach those goals.
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