How to Break Into the Cycling Industry: SRAM’s Photo & Video Wonder Twins
At virtually every SRAM press launch and event we attend, Adrian Marcoux and Taylor Sage are there documenting it.
The action photos you see on SRAM’s Facebook pages, website and collateral materials are largely from Adrian. In many cases, the action shots you see in reviews here and in other media are his work, too, including the photo above of me riding at the Avid Elixir 9 launch this past February.
Meanwhile, Taylor films and edits the lifestyle and inside educational videos. Together, they do a great job of capturing what goes on at the launches, the ever growing product catalog from the component manufacturer and the lifestyle of their sponsored athletes. Not surprisingly, the camera rarely turns towards them, so what you see here is the result of their efforts, not of them personally. No, they’re not really twins.
Much of their time is spent riding with us. They’re always with us at some pretty great restaurants as the SRAM crew travels around the world. Just this year, I’ve ridden and hung out with them in California, France and points between. But it’s not all fun and games. While we’re sleeping or grabbing a late seat at the bar, often times they’re back in the rooms editing and uploading so we journalists have everything we need to tell our story. Personally, I don’t think they’re complaining, and here’s how they got the gig…
Shooting the video is just the beginning. Adding effects, text, transitions, music and making a full week’s worth of riding, working, racing and testing come together as a cohesive short story is the rest.
BIKERUMOR: Who are you and what are you doing here?
ADRIAN: My Name is Adrian Marcoux and I am a photographer. A job title that can be worded as Freelance or Contracting or even “for hire” for that matter” One of the nicest things about my “position” is the vastness of it and how different it can be from day to day. I currently spend most of the season working closely with SRAM and their marketing department, producing ad content for all four brands and almost all other imagery needs including catalog and web based media. SRAM is a power house in media relations and it is a huge pleasure to be a part of. It is a great feeling to be given the opportunity to document so many different avenues of the industry from athletes to those that create the products that we all love to use.
TAYLOR: My name is Taylor Sage, I am the chief cinematographer at SRAM along with freelancing for various other companies.
BIKERUMOR: What was your first job or experience in the cycling industry? How did you “break” in?
ADRIAN: My first experience within the industry was providing a couple of different manufacturers with single images for ads. I soon learned a lot about the business side of things when unlicensed images popped up in a couple of places that where not discussed. To put it mildly the introduction to the industry was not for the faint of heart but yet the quick witted and the fittest of negotiators. I don’t really consider that my break-in point as I had many submissions of all kinds come back with the generic letter letting me down in the most professional manner. I was introduced to a couple of companies that found my imagery to suit their needs, SRAM being one of them. I would consider this to be the point where I “broke in”, I was finally able to pay some bills and buy groceries with money made from image licensing.
TAYLOR: When I was 19 I started to feel like the career span of a pro mountain biker was a short one, Cameron Zink and I decided to make a video called Git Sum. That same year Derek Westerlund of Freeride Entertainment offered me a job filming for New World Disorder. I was already a close friend with all the riders so it seemed to fit, I was thrown right into the fire shooting 16mm film. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but I faked it til I made it.
BIKERUMOR: What’s your educational background?
ADRIAN: I studied Professional Photography at the Western Academy of Photography in Victoria, BC. I was lucky enough to study in a time when film was still the mainstay in the industry, this was a huge influence on me, as well as extremely important as it instilled on me a foundation of true photographic fundamentals.
TAYLOR: High School and some community college and then I was accepted into film school, I stopped going to class because I was getting film jobs so I enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks. I spent the first 2 years of my career poking the camera because I didn’t know how to use it, but it’s hard to say if college would’ve paid off.
BIKERUMOR: After that first experience/job, what was the path to your current position?
ADRIAN: Lets say the path was seven years and binders full of UN-seen and/or UN-used Imagery. The key for me which is relevant to this day is learning to sell your craft and understand the business, how to properly sell imagery keeping the level of integrity and worth at a professional standard.
TAYLOR: I worked for Freeride for three years. Shooting film was being phased out so I bought a HD camera and started doing behind the scenes stuff for them. Quickly I started doing freelance jobs and Tyler Morland (Ed: now SRAM’s MTB media liaison) saw potential in my work. He gave me some odd jobs and each year we escalated the production value to coincide with my skills. SRAM just let me grow as a film maker and now we are where we are today.
BIKERUMOR: What’s a normal day for you?
ADRIAN: Contrary to what some might believe the time spent in front of the computer definitely out weighs the time in the field….for the most part. Personally, most of the recent assignments have required a lot of travel, ending with mega editing sessions, followed by distribution of requests. Shoot, Process, Send, Repeat…. Everyday is truly different, subjects change along with vistas and the light.
TAYLOR: A typical summer day consists of 8 hours in the bush filming and 3 on the computer processing, while a typical winter day consist of Cheerios, leisure activities and Mexican food.
BIKERUMOR: What are the highlights of your job?
ADRIAN: Highlights are definitely the opportunities, the rides, the places, the people, and let’s not forget seeing your imagery used for an intended purpose. Nothing better than when the people you work with are also proud of the body of work produced by an entire team.
TAYLOR: Freedom. The thought that I do whatever I want and people pay me money to do it is a nice thing to fall asleep to.
BIKERUMOR: What could you do without?
ADRIAN: I could do without Image Cataloging. Ask Morgan Meredith (Ed: SRAM’s former MTB PR manager, he now works at BIKE), he spent a entire year trying to teach me how to properly catalog my shots…haha. You’ll have to ask him how I’m doing. Image management is the worst.
BIKERUMOR: What advice would you give to someone looking to follow your path today?
ADRIAN: Study your craft, shoot some film and learn the business. Understand the standards and keep them high for all of us. As much as it seems we are all competing for a piece of the pie, we need to remember to work together to ensure our worth and value.
TAYLOR: Shoot a ton and if there is potential in your work someone is going to take note, the money-givers are always watching for fresh talent. On the camera side, turn off your brain, thinking is the main cause of poor shots, eye it up and shoot it where the tripod lands. Also, you didn’t miss the shot, the rider looked sketchy.