An Interview with Elias Gelpi: Unique Content through Collaboration

Rose Alarcon

The up-and-coming Elias Gelpi is a Fordham University graduate and a passionate professional photographer who was inspired to launch Clear Cut Content. After college, Gelpi’s skills landed him a job with BMW and the chance to work under the prominent wedding photographer, David Dideo. Now, he continues to make a name for himself because of the unique experience and services he offers through his company. Clear Cut Content is comprised of a hand-picked team, each with a unique skillset and resume, which guarantees the utmost quality in every detail of their final product.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a first-generation Puerto Rican whose home has always been in New York. Although photography has grown to be my main passion, I loved to compete in athletics growing up. This led to a successful athletic career throughout high school and college where I played football, rugby, and wrestled. I’ve also run track, pole vaulted, triple jumped, and high jumped. As a result, I’ve come to form a deep appreciation for what it means to be a part of a team and I’ve learned how to competently handle adversity. Furthermore, the importance of dedicating time to your craft and putting in the work to better yourself has undoubtedly surfaced in many other aspects of my life.

What made you get into doing what you do now?

I began to really love photography while in college. I knew I wanted to make a career out of it. After graduating Fordham University with a degree in film and photography, I was hired by BMW to shoot their inventory, but quickly outgrew the role. Looking to expand my creative skillset, I left and was picked up by one of the tri-states’ most renowned wedding photographers, David Dideo. The opportunity to shoot weddings took my photography to a new level. It not only sharpened my attention to detail, but also taught me how to candidly capture beautiful moments in a fast-paced environment. Additionally, I was exposed to advanced lighting techniques and creative direction. Although events are my specialty, I love to shoot product, urban, and travel photography as well. This is ultimately what led me to start my own content creation company, Clear Cut Content.

What differentiates you from others within your industry?

They say if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, surround yourself with people who will bring out your best. We are different because the Clear Cut Content team comes from a variety of media backgrounds who have had professional level experience in photography, videography, and editing. We’ve worked for brands, events (music, corporate, and private), social media influencers, businesses, and media publications. Furthermore, we offer film photography, a medium seldom offered by other creatives. Nowadays, many creatives work solo, as both a photographer and a videographer. While this is doable, it’s not ideal for achieving the best results. Photo and video are two different mediums that require different lighting, editing, and equipment setups. When looking for quality and consistency, the benefit of separating who focuses on shooting photos and filming videos is undeniable.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Being that we are still a very young company, we hope to continue to grow especially within the event space in New York City. We have had great success shooting several events that incorporated brand activations as well as private fitness classes for boutique gyms. All parties involved (the brands, event hosts, and event spaces) have been blown away by the studio-quality content we created without a studio. We hope to continue along this trajectory and solidify ourselves as NYC’s clear cut choice for professional content creation.

What challenges have you faced while building your business and brand?

As it has for so many others, Covid-19 has posed an immense challenge. With no events or social gatherings, we’re being forced to pivot from what was our main target to other forms of clientele. The main challenge this produces is zeroing in on a new target audience that (despite Covid-19) is still in need of content for their brands and businesses. Also, being in NYC, there is a lot of competition when it comes to content creators, so how do we stand out? During the onset of the company, this seemed a daunting endeavor. However, after some researching, I found that there were no true “teams” of professional creators short of hiring a marketing firm (which is unattainable for most). The result was hand-picking a small team with a broad skillset and array of professional experience. Not only do we offer unique services that others cannot, but we also do it with a skillset like no one else.

What have you learned from these challenges?

Facing such challenges has taught me the importance of flexibility. Although we may have a set plan in our minds with a goal, adversity is always lurking just around the corner. Being knocked off course or thrown a “curveball” so to speak can be enough to make a person quit. We think, “That’s it! It’s not working, it hasn’t gone according to plan.” However, if we redefine challenges as learning experiences and react as such, it can open up new doors. Change is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s exactly the boost a business needs to push them in a direction they might have otherwise ignored.

What advice would you give to others while on their journey?

The best advice I could give to others is to be organized. Organization is key! Set goals, give yourself deadlines and objectives. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed. Setting goals and deadlines is an easy way to hold yourself accountable while also making sure to you’re on track. If you give yourself one month to complete a project, it will take a month. If you give yourself one week, you’ll get it done in a week. Push yourself!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell him to stay focused and see things through. Often times I would doubt myself and my abilities which led to unfinished products and unfulfilled potential. As I got older, I realize that seeing things through helped develop my self-confidence. Seeing a finished product, seeing that I could complete the task at hand, and seeing the reaction others had to my work was the confidence boost I needed to begin pushing myself further and further. In would also advise him to ask questions and keep my ears open to the insights of others. Listening to the experiences of others is essential to one’s personal growth. It will often keep you from making any similar mistakes or even help you resolve your own problems.

What is your why?

My “why” is very simple. I love to create and interact with people. I believe that everyone should take some time to pursue something that they feel passionate about. Photography and content creation are my passions. Being able to shoot in different locations with different people is a dream come true. There are so many relationships to be had with so many amazing people, so many stories to hear and to tell. I enjoy this work because it pushes me to challenge myself and break out of my comfort zone. I feel like I’m continually growing and bettering myself.

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