John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

NYC Branded Lifestyle Photographer - Blog

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

Push your boundaries


Push your boundaries...


...even if you have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do it!


Although I may be considered a risk taker when it comes to being a business owner, risks that endanger my health are generally avoided like the plague.

But, what happens when the risk is unavoidable?

Well, that very question was posed to me by mother nature recently when I wasn’t exactly expecting it.

A friend of mine from grad school invited me to go for a hike up in Harriman State Park, and I figured, why not - I’ll probably get a chance to snap a couple nice photos, walk a little bit, get some fresh air outside the city - was a no-brainer.

Of course, I assumed we were just going to walk around on a flat surface and just nature watch as we went along. I’m a city kid, at heart, and have no clue how shit works outside of the 5 boros!

Anyway, I pack my camera with a couple lenses and batteries, and, off we went.

It took me about 3 minutes into the hike to realize that this is not just going to be a leisurely walk in the park.

Now, for those of you shaking your head in disapproval at my naivety, stop judging me and let me get to the important part, okay??

As we continue along the trail, we’re walking on rocks, jumping over shit, I’m going up steep hills, holding onto trees so I don’t bust my ass - all the while, I’m worried about my bag of gear.

What the hell did I sign up for exactly?

Well, capturing some cool pictures, for one:

And two, the lesson waiting for me at the conclusion of this hike.

So, once we made our way up to the Summit, my friend and I took a lil break - I, of course, took the opportunity to snap a couple portraits of him, because, you know, that’s what I do, :)

Once we got moving, we followed a trail laid out on the map, but, a problem arose - the map took us to a completely off-course place.

We ended up veering way off the trail into another section of the park.

Ugh, jesus.

As he was attempting to get his bearings, he discovered where he steered us off course. That’s the good news.

The bad news was when he deduced that the only way to get back on the beaten path was to climb down the side of the short hill, swing past a tree and cross a small brook.

And, that’s when the city boy started to freak out a bit.

I asked him repeatedly if this is the only way to get back on track because I’m not a fan of heights and that short hill was not a friend of mine, and the last thing I wanted to do was give my camera equipment a bath in that stream.

Yes, I’m a bit of a chickenshit, and I will admit it, okay! And all of my anxiety came out as Mother Nature was chuckling to herself, watching me uncomfortably flopping around worse than a fish out of water.

But, it was in that moment that I realized I didn’t have a choice, so, I just took a breath, put one foot in front of the other and didn’t look down as I slid down the side of the hill to get my footing, and then swung a leg over to get to an adjacent rock that would lead me to the ground.

Once I adjusted the strap to my camera bag to tighten up on me, I crawled my ass across those rocks.

I stepped on a shaky one and thought, “oh shit, this bag is going for a dip!” but, fortunately, I was able to gather my balance, not twist an ankle, and eventually, made it across without dropping anything.

Once we crossed the stream and scaled up the 25th hill of the day, we made it back on the path.

In the car on the way back to the train station, I had this sense of accomplishment wash over me.

Nope, didn’t scale a mountain or cross a dangerous, roaring sea, but dammit, I felt the fear, and did it anyway. And honestly, it was such a rewarding feeling that I verbalized it to my friend.

It was a reminder that it’s important to constantly push your boundaries, to test and strengthen your mettle, and to just get out there and do shit that makes you uncomfortable, because it’s these moments that truly allow you to show up in the world the way you want.

What do you do to push your boundaries?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.


PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you, because I care, :)