So for this week I got to sit down with one of my favorite photographers, Chris Burkard, and ask him a few questions. You’ve probably seen his work with Apple, Volkswagen, Toyota, Sony, Citi Bank, The North Face or a ton more.
Ok, I’ll stop talking and get right to the interview.
How did you get started?
I started shooting photos when I was 19 years old. I realized that it enabled me to do art in a mobile state, to explore and adventure, and show people the beauty in the world around me. I got an internship at Transworld Surf magazine which was an incredibly valuable experience. Through trial and error, I taught myself and began to develop a style. Hard work, persistence, and having passion for what I do has taken me a long way. For the first part of my career I slept in my car and commuted 5+ hours for internships!
What one piece of advice do you have for an emerging photographer?
The best thing that you can do as an inspiring photographer is to identify a style that represents you well, develop within that style, and keep shooting to perfect it. It’s super important to have your images be recognizable by editors and others who are looking at your work. With the large number of photographers that are out there now you must find ways to stand out. The best compliment I can ever receive is when people know my photography work instantly when they see it.
How did you learn what you know about photography?
Being self taught, I Iearned almost entirely through trial and error. Practice and working at what I loved to shoot was a big part of it. I interned at Transworld Surf under Pete Tares which was a great opportunity that furthered my career. I also interned with landscape photographer Michael Fatali which really influenced how a look at my own work.
Do you think it's possible to take great shots with a cell phone?
Absolutely. The best camera you have, is the one you have on you. I have taken some of my best shots with my iPhone.
Besides camera, what do you think the first piece of gear a new photographer should pick up?
The best accessory to a camera is a decent lens. It's the window your camera/sensor sees and captures the world through. The better the quality of that window the better the image. It's as simple as that.
Now, besides camera gear I'd say a good backpack that allows quick access to the camera gear. I have used a ton of bags and no bag/backpack is perfect, but there are definitely good and bad ones - and a bad one has made me miss the shot in the past. So I really try to focus on taking the right bag best suited to the trip to me.
Be sure to check out Chris' latest gear video if you're curious about what he uses.