Owner & Creative Director, Canvas Commercial Media Group

The key to photographer Travis Howard’s success comes from a remarkably simple philosophy. “As long as you pour your heart and soul into the project and the client is really happy, it comes back to you tenfold,” Howard says. As owner and creative director at Canvas Commercial Media Group in Branson, Howard has followed that philosophy to significant success.

From the beginning, it’s been all about composition for Howard. “From an image standpoint, I think composition is one of the biggest battles that photographers have,” he says. “To be able to have that composition just felt natural to me.”

Everything that Canvas does is commercially based, from photography and design to videography, and Howard loves that. “I am a sucker for product photography,” he says. “It’s really challenging to bring life to a product.”

Canvas has quickly expanded beyond the Ozarks. Howard will soon be wrapping up work for an organization called Fight Colorectal Cancer that had him doing photography and videography with Lady Antebellum, members of the Tennessee Titans and Sheryl Crow. “The opportunity to branch outward and upward with that has been pretty awesome,” Howard says. “It’s one of the most inspiring pieces to do photography and videography with. We’ll be in NYC while it plays on the Nasdaq screen in Times Square.” —J.H.

417 Magazine: How would you define the secret to success?
Travis Howard: I don’t think there is really a secret to success. I think it’s one of the most apparent things you can see. Companies that pay attention to their clients and the work they do are often the most successful.

417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
T.H.: Through a series of fortunate events. Though I had been an artist from childhood, five years ago I picked up a camera and fell in love. As a self-taught artist, I soaked up any and all knowledge I could from a variety of mediums until I knew I had the skill set to make it happen. I used the business sense I had to quickly grow Canvas into a full-scale media company.

417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
T.H.: I find my passion through fellow artists, business owners and friends. Whether it’s through their encouragement towards my accomplishments, or their own accomplishments, I am always growing because of the growth of others.

417: Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
T.H.: I am the lucky father of three. Two boys, Harper and Cannon, and a new baby girl born in March (or early April?) I married the most wonderful woman six years ago, Jennifer Robinson, who has been my biggest inspiration in what I have accomplished.

417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
T.H.: When I am not working I am 100 percent dad, so right now my hobbies include playing in the sandbox, building blanket forts and changing diapers.

417: Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
T.H.: One of the great parts about what our company does, is the opportunity to work with some amazing non-profit organizations. We have been able to work with Ride Nature, based out of Naples, Florida as well as working on a national campaign for Fight Colorectal Cancer, based out of Washington, DC, as well as other wonderful organizations.

417: Are you a member of any professional organizations?
T.H.: I am a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America).

417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
T.H.: My favorite thing about my career is the endless possibility for growth. We are always brainstorming and there is always forward motion.

417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
T.H.: I have had such great opportunity for growth through local businesses and clients, and to this day they remain some of my best clients. I love the relationships we’ve built.

417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
T.H.: I would tell myself not to worry. Everything happened the way it should, and I am right where I need to be.

417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
T.H.: I’d say I was a committed Elvis Presley impersonator.

417: List three traits that define a successful career:
T.H.: unremitting consistency, and humility

417: Why are you a 20 under 30?
T.H.: I am a “20 Under 30” because I learned how to be happy being me no matter what I was doing as a profession. That has allowed me to grow into my own shoes. It’s the right fit and I can excel at it.

417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
T.H.: Canvas has the opportunity to create some fantastic works for current clients over the next year, nationally and internationally. We are looking forward to putting some new pins on the map, in all aspects of the term.

417: What completed project are you most proud of?
T.H.: We just wrapped up a nationwide campaign featuring members of Lady Antebellum as well as professional athletes and other public figures. We just returned from New York City for it’s release on NASDAQ’s time square screens during the month of March. It was definitely a highlight for great things to come.

Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

417: _____ makes life worth living
T.H.: Purpose

417: A day at work wouldn’t be complete without _____
T.H.: a little people watching

417: Ten years from now, I hope I’m _____
T.H.: still learning and still exploring.

417: If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would _____
T.H.: keep doing what I am doing, only with better shoes.

417: The best part about being a 20 under 30 is _____
T.H.: seeing how far I have come in such a short time and knowing how much potential lies ahead


Celebrate with the Class of 2013 on Thursday, April 25 at Highland Springs Country Club. 

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