Chris is a smart guy. He’s worked out that the technology chase is not necessarily the best option, Swapping his 7d for a 1ds mkII he believes he is getting much more bang for his buck. This is definitely worth a read.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Well, my name is Chris Kale. I’m a 34 year old, married for 10 years, father of 1. I’m also a 2nd gen native to Charlotte, NC. That’s rare around here these days! I have a busy life, between a 40 hr/week job, Cub Scouts and photography. A busy life has forced me to become a more consistent shooter. I have limited time, and I hate spending hours at the PC. You read that right, PC. I love Apple and hope to have a Mac next year, but for now I’m getting it done on my good ole HP. I enjoy both natural light and strobed/studio photography. My photography idols are Richard Avedon (master of capturing emotion), Jonathan Canlas (all film and brilliant), Jordan Voth (natural light ninja), and Zack Arias (white seamless and all around humble guy)
A completely random fact about me is that earlier this year I was bitten by a Copperhead snake on my back porch. After a couple days in the hospital and about six weeks of recovery, the whole experience is now just a one upper story and a way to break the ice with a new client. Of course, I like shooting in fields and find myself constantly looking down.
What made you get into photography?
I have always liked photography. I grew up in a house where my dad was a hobbyist and always had cameras around. He had a Nikon with a 50mm on it that I would use to take pics of my truck with. I remember having to wait to get my film back. I loved and miss that part of photography. It was kinda like Christmas, having an idea of what you got, but never really knowing till you opened the package. After moving out, I couldn’t afford a nice camera, and photography consisted of automatic 35mm’s until digital P&S’s came along.
When I got married, I married into photography. My wife’s step-father, at that time, had been shooting weddings for about 10 years. They had a small studio and we were always having our pictures taken. I guess, that re sparked my interest.
How did you get started?
At the end of 2008, my father in law was looking for an assistant to carry gear and just help out at weddings. At one event, he put a 20D in my hand and just ask me to shoot. I remember everything about that wedding. He must have seen the excitement in my face and the hundreds of questions I had might have been a clue, but he knew I was hooked. The next week he bought me a 40D with a kit lens. I spent the next several months second shooting to get that thing paid off. I have been a sponge ever sense that day.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I mainly shoot portraits. It’s what I love! One on one contact with a person is when I’m in my element. I like to think I’m building a relationship, not just taking a picture. You can see that in most of my work. I try to capture people as they naturally are. That means, if you smoke, there is going to be a cigarette in the shot.
I also shoot weddings and family portraits, but have recently started to try and get my foot in the door at some local tattoo shops. I love the atmosphere and people. As I narrow my vision of the photographer I want to be, I see tattoo work in my future.
What gear are you using?
I’m a firm believer in buying a used BMW over a new Honda. I shoot Canon, used Canon. After shooting with the 40D and trading up for a 7D, I realized there was better bang for the buck gear out there. I sold the 7D and now shoot with a 1Ds II and a 5Dc. My lens collection was a 24-105L, a 70-200 2.8L and my glued to the camera 50 1.4. Now that I’m shooting mainly portraits, I’ve started making the switch to primes. I have a 35, my 50, and an 85mm. Notice no L’s behind any of those.
I’ve also started to get back into film. I have a Yashica 124G and a couple Brownie Hawkeye’s. I’m hoping to pick up a EOS 3 in the near future.
And how can I forget… my Fuji X100. I love this camera. The only time my Canon gear leaves the house now is on assignment. The Fuji is with me 90% of the time.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Simple. My 50 1.4. It’s sweet spot is f/2, but I don’t care. You could glue that lens to my 1D and I’d never complain. It’s fast, sharp and makes me think about composition. I hover around f/2 most of the time.
I will say though, I just picked up the 85 and it’s nice. Not a 50mm replacement, but… we’ll just have to see.
How are you marketing yourself?
I have a website, but it is outdated. I have a wordpress/static page in the works that should launch soon. I use Facebook and good old word of mouth. Believe it or not, I have picked up jobs from Instagram. I love social media, and it’s free!
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
It changes so often. Every shoot, I have a new favorite. I really cant pick 1, so here are 2. My favorite studio, and my current (this week) favourite.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
The internet is a great learning tool. There are so many resources available online. Forums like www.photography-on-the.net and sites like Creative Live would have to be my favorites. My advice is simple, take advantage of the all the interweb goodness available to us, then Go Out and Shoot! That’s the most important thing. You can have a head full of knowledge that doesn’t mean a thing if you aren’t pushing the shutter button.
Second thing would be to find photographers you admire and Stalk Them! Just kidding about the stalk part, but find people you look up too and follow them. I recently took the OneLight class offered by Zack Arias. I knew a lot of the information he went over in the class, but hearing it, and seeing it put in action by someone you admire is rewarding. Also, when you get encouragement from people you admire, it gives you the fuel to keep going in this business.
Don’t get caught up in gear. Guys were doing it 50 years ago without auto focus and L glass. Photography can be much more rewarding when you are shooting because you love it, not because you have to pay off a $2000 lens.