We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Seth Berry a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Seth, thanks for joining us today. How did you learn to do what you do? Knowing what you know now, what could you have done to speed up your learning process? What skills do you think were most essential? What obstacles stood in the way of learning more?
I first would like to attribute my talent in design and photography foremost as a God-given talent. But I did develop my skills throughout school, much practice, and personal learning on my own. Ever since early in grade school, I always had a joy in drawing and other forms of creative arts. In high school, I learned that I could develop my artistic talents on the computer through graphic design with two years of Commercial Design training. It was then, through the reassurance from my teachers, that I realized it was a career I should pursue.
In college at Clemson University, I pursed my graphic communications degree and minored in advertising. During my education, I landed two internships. The first one was working with a printing corporation learning all the ins and outs of the printing processes and departments of a major printing company. I quickly concluded that I’d rather be in and was better fit for the creative department. My next internship was as a graphic designer role for a marketing department of a carton packaging company in the Asheville, NC region. Here I began to learn and visualize my role I could play in the business world by using my God-given and well trained skills and talent.
Meanwhile, as I was in my role as a graphic designer intern in mountains of Western North Carolina, I uncovered a deep passion of wanting to pick up nature photography. Therefore, I took it upon myself to learn how to shoot photography with a DSLR camera. The process of doing so mainly involved me buying myself a Canon DSLR and going out in the mountains on the weekends and practicing and learning on the fly. But gradually along the way, I began to really hound in on developing and polishing my technical skills through watching videos, tutorials, and learning from other professional photographers. The biggest obstacle that I would tend to have was myself being my own critique and constantly fighting the negative self attitudes that would say “I will never be able to become a photographer like (insert many well known inspirational photographers)”. I just had to put my mind and motivation toward achieving who I wanted to become and let the rest take care of its self along the way.
I was blessed right out of college to land a job that allowed me to freely use my blooming graphic design and photography skills and truly grow and develop into a solid professional in both creative avenues. Again, I would like to attribute my success to several of my influential supervisors, teachers, and family/friends who helped and supported me along my way.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I am a professional graphic designer and travel/nature photographer from the Upstate of South Carolina. I serve full-time as the Graphic Design Manager for Columbia International University. There I have completely developed and maintained the university’s brand through logo branding, extensive graphic design production in all avenues of media, and using my creative talents in photography as an asset to the university. My work that I am most proud of while working with CIU is the total creation of the CIU Rams official athletic logos, branding, and design look. I was a major part of the school’s start-up of intercollegiate athletics.
Additionally, I operate Seth Berry Design LLC in providing profession graphic design and photography services. For design, I have worked with clients such as Pig Brig Trap Systems, Midlands Education & Business Alliance (MEBA), Arkansas Center for Data Science (ACDS), IT-ology, an LPGA Professional Golfer, realtors, churches, and more.
As a photographer, I specialize in nature and travel photography who sells work via my website. Proudly, I have traveled to and photographed all 47 state parks in South Carolina and I have been published in The Backpacker Magazine, The South Carolina Vacation Guide, Charleston Magazine, The Views Magazine of Highlands/Cashiers NC, The Outbound Collective, and more. My current long standing goal is to visit and photograph every National Park in the USA. So far I have checked off 20 national parks.
How did you build your audience on social media?
Social media has been my biggest contributor to my growth in photography. When I was starting out, it was mainly my family who saw that my work was excellent and I should share. So I began to use Flickr (at that time was the leading photo sharing social tool) to dump all of my favorite pictures from my travels into shareable albums. I learned how to use hashtags appropriately to generate searches and more views. It was through Flickr and Google searches that led to some of my first contacts of publishers wanting to use my work and clients asking me for my services.
Since then, I have created my own website for my photography and for my graphic design. I primarily use Instagram and Facebook to promote myself on social media now. There are endless ways to use Instagram and Facebook to freely advertise and promote yourself. It just takes much time, persistence, and dedication to make it happen. There are other paid ways that I have used to market myself, but for the majority of my growth it has been through free advertising and word of mouth.
Any resources you can share with us that might be helpful to other creatives?
If I knew in college or grade school where I would be 15 years later in my creative journey, I think I would have made it a priority to learn about business entrepreneurship and management. That has been one of my greatest challenges in having my own business – knowing how to do the business side of things. I naturally tend to just want to do the creative stuff. But also, I had to make a huge effort to learn how to start, operate, and maintain a business – and I’m still learning.
- Website: www.SethBerryDesign.com; www.SethBerryPhotography.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sberryphotography/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SethBerryPhotography/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sethaberry/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2ADbjQKSMpqf-j_xIU2WFg
- Other: https://www.theoutbound.com/seth-berry