Ask Chase — FAQs

I get asked these basic questions A LOT, so it makes good sense to post some FAQs here.

Q: What brand of camera do you shoot?
A: I shoot Nikon and Hasselblad. I primarily shoot top of the line digital equipment. I use Nikon’s Flagship D2x system, and shoot medium format digital with the new Hasselblad H2D. For the occasions where film is preferred, I shoot the Nikon F5 and Hasselblad’s H1 and 503 cameras.

Q: Do you prefer film or digital cameras?
A: I prefer digital without a doubt, as I’m a bit of a technology geek, however, when I’m being paid to shoot on assignment, I’m happy to shoot whatever the client prefers. That said, I’ve had only one (yes ONE) client request film in the past 4 years).

Q: What computer platform do you use?
A: Our studio is entirely Mac. We’ve got a half dozen workstations, numerous G5 towers, a huge pile of Powerbooks—both 12 and 15”–, Macbook Pros, all Apple Cinema Displays—from the big 30 inchers down to the more modest 20 inch models, and a full Apple X Serve Raid server setup. Heck, we’ve even got a Mac Mini that just serves up non-stop music!

Q: If I want to pursue a career in professional photography, how should I start out?
A: Good question. The competition for up-and-comers is fierce, so you’ll have to be innovative and love your job more than most other things in your life. That said, here are some very general directions:
-Call yourself a photographer.
-Get a professional dSLR digital camera—it will speed your learning curve.
-Shoot more than you can afford to shoot—spend the time learning.
-Get good equipment as soon as you can.
-When you start out, only work another job as much as you need to survive. All your other time should be spent pursuing your passion.
-Be very critical of your work and compare it to what you see in the magazines. Promote only your very best work–quality over quantity.
-Put yourself around the professionals in the industry. Assist, intern, meet other photogs, athletes, and models. Learn the ropes.
-Get the book ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography and read every page. Twice. If you want to be taken seriously, you’d better have the business to back up your photography like a pro.

If you have other quesitons, please add some comments/questions to this entry so that others can view your questions-and my responses- here as well. Thanks!

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Brett says:

Hey Chase,

Do you take interns? I'm in the market for a summer internship this year, and, like you said, internships are a great way to "get going."

admin says:

In response to the comment above, I would rather have that RAW file a few years down the road than just that high res JPG. Storage is falling in price by the day. In fact I just saw a 1 terabyte internal hard-drive for 200 bucks. As a photographer, especially a digital photographer, storage is your 2nd most important thing after the camera and lenses.

Chase, would you care to share any of the odd jobs, internships, part-time work that you have experienced on your quest to become what you are today?

In another blog you said to “save your data in RAW format”. If you have the capability to do so, is it really necessary for the amateur photographer? Not everyone can afford a vast network of computers and RAW takes a huge amount of memory space. I suppose if I was shooting for a client like BMW I would do it but just for my portfolio…

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