Not only is Danilo David an award-winning photographer working with some of New Zealand’s most famous brands but he is also the founder of Thestockmarket.co.nz which removes the limits of traditional stock imagery, giving brands unlimited usage rights and the option for exclusive ownership. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s been a driving force behind the Gentleman’s Ride charity work in New Zealand. We find out what makes this polymath tick and why asking for help is an important thing to learn.
What is it that drives you and what you do?
My ‘why’, professionally speaking, came from my early days taking photos where I loved the idea of making someone feel what I felt when I took the photograph.
In life, I find my goal and I enjoy the ride to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, I am not very good at ‘life planning’ so it can take longer to get there, but as long as I do things with honesty and dignity, and I help some people and the community along the way, I am happy.
What was the draw for you to get into photography?
Photography has always been the number one priority. The catalyst to choose to do it as a profession came when I was 15-16 years old, I signed up to a one year photography course at a philanthropic school in Brazil, bought the camera and all the equipment I needed so one day I could work full time as a photographer. After six years in New Zealand, I managed to achieve my dream.
When you are talking about that kind of timeframe until achieving your dream how do you keep motivated day to day?
I have a theory that when we are single we have a plan and our goals in mind and heart. But once we form a family we have to compromise some goals, adapt and merge dreams together. I get energy from exercising, family time and helping others while I stay on the path to my goal. This probably isn’t the best technique since this can take away from the effective time we have in our hands to achieve our dreams but if I don’t exercise or help others, very likely I would lose the motivation or focus on my dream completely.
Do you find it easy to put your hand up and ask for help?
I have always been fine handling my problems and difficulties and helping others at the same time. I am not as good at asking for help as much as I am reassuring people that they can and should ask for my help. Professionally, many times I should ask for help instead of learning and trying myself. That would have saved me energy, time, and potentially failure.
What tools do you use to make your business run efficiently?
As a photographer, I try to keep myself updated in the software and tools to accomplish my job giving my clients the best quality I can. In terms of the business side, I use Xero to keep my accounts, invoicing and financial side of the business in good shape. Xero is probably the best and a must-have tool for any small business.
In terms of camera and gear equipment, I still have some old equipment that does all I need and some that are still better or the same as newer versions. With new technology coming all the time, it is important to judge what is really necessary, what is a crucial upgrade and if it is worth the investment otherwise one would be working just to keep up with the trends and not making money at all.
How do you deal with stress?
I am lucky that I don’t stress much, if ever. There are things we have to change immediately, there are things we can change later, and there are things that are out of our control. Once you recognise each one we know what we can do at that moment to fix it or forget about it.
I find peace with sports, helping others and working. I always found sports are the best way to erase my “messy drawing board” and start a new plan. Helping others is also a great tool for me to clear my mind and rethink things as listening to others problems and trying to help them is a great way to get a perspective about my problem. In terms of digital tools, apart from photo editing apps, I prefer to tune up to some of my mate’s channels and podcast to find clarity and answers. @drgrahammead Dr Graham Mead is one of them. @thechrisdo Chris Do is awesome too.
You can work long hours and are often shooting during the day editing into the evenings. How do you find a balance between that and time with the family and for yourself?
This is a great and current question that I don’t think I have ‘the answer’ to. Now, most of us have to deal with kids, a partner and work all at the same time. I am very productive at night and I can function for long hours non-stop. I think the best way is to be honest and express clearly when we need time for ourselves or to accomplish some important tasks.
In a recent Xero commissioned study it was found that 93% of consumers say they’d buy more from (and recommend) a business that showed empathy toward the community. In this respect, do you think that the metrics for business success are shifting?
Well, it is great that people like and support those who do good in the community. Unfortunately, this is an easy territory for many companies that want to look good to profit more. I have never been impressed by labels or looks as much as I am impressed by the real overall quality. A lot of people are very naïve and lead by looks and emotion and many businesses know that. When I support someone that apparently does good, I always research about them and their programs first to see if their actions lean towards what they preach or towards their profit only.
Has your “why” evolved since you started?
I would say that it has not evolved, it has stayed the same. Now with a family, I shape my time and energy to stay true to my, and my family’s, ‘why’.
If you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice at the start of this journey what would it be?
Definitely, learn finances, tax rules and the language of money at an early age. Focus on one hobby or activity and become bloody good at it.