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The ARC Creative Podcast: Educating + Inspiring Creatives to Excel as Artists, Entrepreneurs & Humans.

Oct 23, 2020

Photographer, avid chess player, adventurer, and co-founder of Pixellu and SmartAlbums, Daniel Usenko is no stranger to hardship. At the age of seven, Daniel and his family had to flee his birthplace in the former Soviet Union when a civil war broke out. Growing up displaced and poverty-stricken, Daniel lived for years in poverty until he eventually immigrated to the United States. He has since co-founded one of the most successful photo album building tools and created a new and creatively-fulfilling life for himself.


Daniel’s path was never clear and easy, pandemic or not. Yet, he still finds ways to innovate in his work and craft, and he addresses how you can as well.


In this episode:


  • The importance of empathy in times of hardship
  • The importance of focusing on the practical ends of your photography business
  • Why immersing yourself with business-minded people in different industries will help your business is important
  • The power of failing
  • Finding gratitude in the everyday


6:14 - “How my parents dealt with hardship [...] has really informed me on how I'm dealing with the current situation here.”


11:50 - “My perspective of gratitude comes from an experience of poverty.”


15:03 - “Difficulties make a better person.”


23:21 - “The more you grow, the more you realize how much you don't know.”


25:10 - “[The] number one step is for photographers to invest any time into business education and just running a business.”


25:25 - “I know that as creatives, we don't want to deal with the business. We just want to buy filters and play with Lightroom and Photoshop all day long, but for your business, it is important to have a business education.”


28:22 - “Simply being around people that are thinking business, it's going to already help for you to simply think business.”


28:44 - “Whatever the issues other people are facing, by just listening to them and how they're thinking about their problems, it'll orient your mind toward thinking of yourself and your photography or whatever artist you are as a business as well.”


39:27 - “If a photographer wants to become better, I definitely recommend film because you cannot rely on technology.”


44:33 - “Find what to be grateful for in your life because you cannot change the circumstances around you.”


Personal work:

Pixellu website:

Personal IG:

Work IG: @smartalbums @smartslides


HOST: Sachin Khona


ARC Masterminds: SEO + Marketing