A picture can express a myriad of emotions and moments, playing host to vivid imaginations and capturing memories. With photos featured across the New York Times, People magazine, American Idol and millions of Pepsi cans, celebrity photographer David Molnar has brought to life a string of popular brands that we see today. Albeit the success story, a glimpse into his journey to clinching success will narrate a different take on life. At just about 19, Molnar was involved in a terrible accident which forced him to undergo several reconstructive knee surgeries, nearly bringing most of his career plans to halt. Despite the odds, he took this to be an opportunity and channeled his energy into building an ultra-successful business and one of the fastest-growing platforms online. He found very early success by realizing his life’s calling, persevering to build a company that is now mentoring over 80,000 students in photography – right from understanding camera aperture, to shooting natural light portraits – helping them realize their goals.
David started out with plans of becoming a pilot, while continuing his love for sports. He enjoyed surfing, and was taking up wrestling. He decided to leverage his exceptional progress in wrestling to get a scholarship for college, eventually using his college degree when trying to earn his pilot’s license. Ambitious and career-driven, David wanted to push his boundaries and explore the many opportunities outside of the idyllic town where he grew up. However, his plans came to a halt after the tragic car accident. The accident left him shattered, particularly because he had pinned his hopes on building a successful sporting career. At a time when David was performing extremely well in the wrestling arena, the accident left him physically and mentally shaken.
Over time, David’s attempts at rebuilding his life and piecing together his goals paid off. Although devastated, he knew that he had to prod himself to move on and forge his path. Not knowing what to kickstart next, he took up volunteering projects with a non-profit organization. The experience there really helped his perception, and he was encouraged to use his photography skills to build his career. Through a mutual friend, he was able to connect with Tammy, his now-wife, who helped him score a gig to photograph one of his favorite bands. This launched one of his first projects with the camera, and he was smitten. Photography was more than a passion to him, and he was soon driven to make it his career.
David spent over two years working as an assistant to other photographers. He hustled. One project led to another, and his sheer hard work opened up ample opportunities for him in other areas of photography. David scored gigs in the entertainment industry, eventually becoming a full-time photographer. The going wasn’t an easy road. David had to reach out to multiple contacts across Nashville, until one of them reached out to him and checked if he could turn up right then for a gig. He grabbed the opportunity and didn’t look back. He spent years honing his skills and learning from the experiences he gained, soaking up as much knowledge as he could.
His career as a photographer took him places, and after spending over a decade as a wedding photographer, he decided to switch directions and find a more scalable way to get work done. Despite the hiccups that came his way, David did not shy away from taking up the various challenges. He had planned to write a book for around two years, but once it was out in the bookshelves, it was one of the biggest factors that spurred him to chase his other dreams. David decided to re-prioritize his projects and spend more time with his family, focusing on work that he was passionate about. His plan was to automate his business activities, and transition to curating educational content, tutorials, online courses, and building an audience for his book. The business took off extraordinarily well, and his initial audience base more than doubled – from around 500 subscribers, it touched over 13,000.
The biggest takeaway? He picked up a lot of learning on the way, and stayed committed to what he wanted to achieve. David began by reading a lot on running the business, and provided his subscribers with free and extremely useful resources they could tap into. Although his distribution base doubled overnight, he stayed committed to meeting his deadlines. Oftentimes, it’s easier to hold back and not provide free and useful services, but what one misses is the scope for building a new relationship. To amplify your business, this is crucial. David didn’t stop at just one model – he tried to find more ways to bring value to his services, and it worked exceptionally well, helping his business achieve robust growth.