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Inspiring Conversations with Ryan Kanaly of Smallhands Creative

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Kanaly.

Ryan, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up playing soccer and had aspirations to go pro. Never really had an interest in anything “creative”. As life happened, I couldn’t continue down that path due to some financial reasons, so I finished out high school just focusing on studies.

When I started college, I purchased my first smartphone (an iPhone 4s). I had not really ever played around with taking pictures, but for the first time, I had a tool that could do it! I started taking photos of anything I found on hikes, around campus or just about anywhere else I went. I would throw edit on top of edit on them, having so much fun just messing around. I finally saved up enough to purchase a little canon rebel camera- and from then on out, I was hooked.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Is it ever really a smooth road to anywhere? Haha. Starting a freelance business was one of the scariest endeavors for me. I’m the type to not shy away from a risk, so when I took the plunge, I really went all in. I feel like every single week was just a ball of stress trying to get everything off the ground. If it wasn’t strumming up new business, it was finishing something on time or trying to come up with the most creative ideas of my life. I love being challenged, so it was definitely not foreign for me to be stressed. After a while though, it definitely started consuming more of the fun parts of what I get to do. When I finally realized freelance life was not for me, a lot of the “future” stress I was having finally subsided. I learned I worked much better in a team environment. Going from freelancer to small-business just made the most sense. Obviously, that comes with new stresses and problems, but I found myself being much more okay with those.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Smallhands Creative?
Smallhands Creative is a brand imaging studio. We specialize in creating consistent and compelling brand assets that serve as ad, email or social campaigns. We believe that the rollout for content needs to have a strategy in order for it to be successful. As a freelancer, I loved being a source of guidance in coming up with the ideas, but that meant getting familiar with marketing. I ended up having a process that was much more than just “show up and shoot it”. So as Smallhands has grown into a small team, we’ve had a blast being more than just photographers. We become partners (and friends) with our clients; we fit with whatever need visually our client has! Creative brand strategy and individualized brand voice is so important for how business operates nowadays. With each client we take on, we want to not only believe in them as people, but propel them towards success.

What’s next?
We are always trying to plan out next move. We have just hired on a new intern, Emily Jones! She is helping on the pre-production side of our sessions, and she also is a talented stylist/web developer. On the client side of things, we are trying to work more in the adventure lifestyle space. We all love being outside, so being able to tell more stories from that perspective is a space we want to be.

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Smallhands Creative

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