Chase Jarvis RAW: 12 Tasty Photo + Video Tips

95% of the gear I use to create high-end advertising images, videos, and commercials is the highest end stuff you can buy. Tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and production often comes together for much of the commercial work you see. This gear all serves its purpose, and there’s good reason for every single piece of it, but….

PROBLEM: I understand that, for a huge cross section of this community, this high end gear is completely outta reach. You probably don’t own a RED camera or a fleet of Nikon D3s’. You don’t have Fisher dollies and and a Digital Asset Manager to wrangle your data after every shot. So, for a long time, one request that’s regularly come up from this community is, that when I get the rare chance, to please feature some mid range or lower end gear, some more DIY solutions, and some ways to keep things on the cheaper side while still getting cool results.

SOLUTION: Not long ago, I shot the launch campaign for SanDisk’s new line of Extreme Pro cards, and SanDisk was kind enough to let me share the “making-of” that campaign, with tweets, Facebook posts and daily videos while I was creating the work. Was the first time anything like that had been done, and it was a blast. Well, we’re back at it and just wrapped another campaign for SanDisk (images will be sprinkled throughout summer and fall). No play by play this time, but there’s another interesting twist: It was part of my assignment to shoot images with a wide range of cameras and cards for them–from point and shoot cameras with standard cards, all the way to the top of the line Nikon gear with the Extreme Pro cards, and lots in between. Totally unique approach. SanDisk were again cool with me making a behind the scenes video, and this time they even provided me with a a clean slate and some vid budget to do what I wanted. So I figured, what a perfect time to deliver on a long standing wish to marry a wide range of gear with some inexpensive and effective DIY solutions to get some cool and unique photos and to manage data. That said, we baked that down into the above video, and I’m happy to present ChaseJarvis RAW: 12 Tasty Photo + Video Tips. If you’re a pro, this vid won’t make you salivate, but if you’re an aspiring shooter, you just might pick up a thing or two that could unlock your next great picture or video.

AND: I’d be remiss for not thanking SanDisk for again backing my desire to share the black box of photography with this community. Big ups to those guys. And I’d also be remiss if I didn’t let you know that they’ve got a contest going on right now, giving away several thousand bucks to inspire your best summer shots. Check it out.

Lots of behind-the-scenes photos, some snapshots, and…alert for gear freaks…and entire gear list after the jump

Here’s a shot of the talent on Mission Beach, San Diego. Sunset.
chase jarvis volley ball

Yours truly setting up the remote Nikon D3s with PocketWizards using a magic arm.
chase jarvis sets a remote Nikon D3s with pocket wizard

Snapshot of Erik’s point and shoot attached to the skateboard. Good for shooting P.O.V. stills or HD video.
Chase Jarvis attaches a point and shoot camera to a skateboard

“Poor Man’s Dolly”. A Nikon D90 on a cotton hat, sitting on a skateboard makes for an impromptu dolly.
Snapshot of the Nikon D90 on a skateboard, acting as a poor-man's dolly.

Chase Jarvis shoots skater with off-camera flash

Sweet kickflip frontside varial heelflip from Chad.
Chase Jarvis.  Just a sweet kickflip in action.

Fitting Brandon with the Contour HD helmet camera.
 chase jarvis photo of skater brandon with Contour HD helmet camera

A fancier “poor man’s dolly” built with PVC and skateboard wheels.
Poor Man's Camera Dolly using PVC and skateboard wheels

Grabbing a p/s snapshot of talent behind the scenes.
Chase Jarvis grabs a snapshot of model with point and shoot

Yours truly with the no-look skate shot.
Chase Jarvis photographing skateboard action

And here’s the gearlist extravaganza…ng>

Marian says:

Amazing work … you’re great guys !

Easily, the post is really the greatest on that precious topic. I harmonise with your conclusions and also can thirstily look forward to your incoming updates. Simply just saying thanks can not just be sufficient, for the extraordinary lucidity in your writing. I will certainly quickly grab your rss feed to stay abreast of any kind of updates. Genuine work and also much success in your business endeavors!

samantha says:

chad bartie! we used to be neighbors in encinitas. sweet as.

Bram Timmer says:

Built the DIY dolly for myself and documented it. Figured I’d share it with your audience in case they have questions.


Skunk says:

I have an S90 and a Nano clamp, that is a cool clamp there. What are you using to mount the camera onto it? I went to the camera store looking at the grip gear but not sure how you got it to mount at a right angle! I’d love something lighter than the Superclamp / Magic Arm combo.

Chase, I understand that you use the D90 for video. How do you capture the stereo audio? As I understand the specs, the D90 can only capture mono and that too not in the best fashion. Any tips on how best to capture audio if I am to make a video with the D90? Thanx, Malhar

Sam says:

Has anyone that is subscribed to Chase’s iTunes podcast been unable to sync them to their ipod/iphone?

Nantha says:

Mr. Chase Jarvis you really awesome!, im from Malaysia, you are my guru…thanks for the tips….

Brandon says:

How do you underexpose your background with out going over your cameras sync speed?

Chase Jarvis says:

@ brandon: with the aperture.

Anonymous says:

saludos chase jarvis ,,,saludos de santiago de chilesur america

bernardo says:

saludos del pais mas largo,,,, del mundo,,,chile buenisimo tu trabajo y tus ganas de enseñar ,,,admirable,,,hay mucho que aprender,,,,gracias.

Andrew says:

Thanks, just love viewing what you’re doing and your philosophy on photography, the web etc etc

Andrew says:

Will these and the other gtreat videos here make their way on to your podcasts in iTunes?? Would love to download them and watch while travelling for work.

Chase Jarvis says:

@ andrew: yes! check my iTunes podcast. it should be there now….

Glyn Dewis says:

Superb video Chase; thanks for putting that together. All i need to do now is to work out a budget way of getting that California sun over here in the UK :)


Jeff says:

Standard Disclaimer: Chase Jarvis does not endorse ever standing on the top rung of a ladder since this is inherently dangerous. Always follow manufacturers safety recommendations and use a spotter! ;-) Cool video.

jlmiller says:

Another great video Chase, I have several Magic arms and they are the bees knees in my grip bag can’t do a lighting or camera setup without it.

very tasty chase. i’m soo going to build one of those dollies, thats a great idea. i’ve been planning to shoot an off-road bike video with friends, this would be a great way to get some sweet shots. thanks for the tips.


Thank you for the tips, and and enjoyable interview on the Seattle Channel! I dig your approach and openness!

Nice. What’s the brand of the clamp holding the S90 to the skateboard?

Chase Jarvis says:

@scott: it’s a california sunbounce.

i scared the lady next to me, becuase at the end, when you showed the images from the video of the volleyball player jumping, i yelled “ohhhhh!” :-)

thank you so much for this. not only is it helpful, but it reminds me how much fun this all is.

淘宝网 says:

嘿嘿 说的没错~

Neville says:

this is great!!! tnx for the tips =]

MK says:

At first i thought i didn’t learn anything from this video and, as you said at the end, you owed me one. But today i was shooting at a small, really really small open air festival in my hometown… (of course i was doing it for free because i have an opportunity to shoot many many things during this one or two days which is a good learning experience for me + I’m still not a pro). So i was using a no-name 16GB SD card in my D90, and i shot about 600 images already and then i wanted to shoot my friend/the head creator of the event as she was walking towards me. I press the release button and nothing happens. I look if i didn’t turn the camera accidentally off but it was on, and then I noticed that my back LCD said that there is some problem with the SD card and that i should either format it or use another one. I had a back up but that was just for the case that I filled the first one up. So i cursed like mad because I shot those 600 images which no one would give back to me. And right then and there I remembered this video and swore to myself that i would never ever use no-name SD cards, and i also remembered a saying used in my country: “We aren’t rich enough to buy cheap stuff”.
So thank you for teaching me not to save on the important aspects of photography.

DPC says:

I don’t think you’ll be shooting much HD video with a Canon S90 (the lack of it is one of the camera’s shortcomings).

Simon Peckham says:

Thanks Chase, great tips and its really great to see what can be done without the $10000 set ups and still making fantastic images ….. fabulous

Love it, wish i lived near the beach/skatepark :P

Mark says:

I’m assuming that you weren’t allowed other brand names (as you blurred your adidas logo on the white shirt and the logo on the volleyball)?

jason flynn says:

Thanks for this video … I always sh*t out to be harder than it is, and this proves it doesn’t have to be!

Thatcher says:

I don’t know why even bother with my blog. I should just link all your stuff from my blog. You stay classy San Diego!

James says:

Hi Chase,

I noticed the videos you post download faster now. Great work. Easier for us in Australia that don’t have super fast internet.

Keep up the good work.


Richard Melanson says:

Chase, I’ve decided you’re the Dave Grohl of photography. Much love.

jack says:

Dolly is clever and genuis Chase well done !!!!

Awesome Chase! I’m gonna go do the skateboard thing right now ;)

I so need to make that pvc dolly that is awesome

Your lucky to have head like a kite and saturday knights they are really good!

great vid as always.

Erik Hecht says:

Hell yes. We <3 Head Like a Kite and The Saturday Knights!

william says:

Great video chase!

Sam Perry says:

Chase, you’re the man. Thanks for giving back. You are uber-successful, but still looking back and ‘keeping it real’. All of us aspiring joes appreciate this kind of insight as well as the fact that you even take the time to offer this kind of info. Thanks again!

Love the DIY tips. Before my friends and I had good equipment, we were always figuring out how to rig up a dolly or think outside the box to get that shot we wanted. And it paid off because we still think that way, even though we have good stuff to use.

Jeff Katzer says:

Thanks for including us point & shoot camera guys in the tips video. Great stuff!

Harvinder says:

Chase, you make it look all too easy. Amazing images!!!

Rick Lewis says:

Just great stuff Chase! Thanks for taking the time to produce this.

Jorge Bras says:

Thanks for this !!

Kir says:

hey, why is Scott wearing a winter jacket in California?!?!?!

Morgan says:

Hi Chase,

Totally awesome video! I have a question that’s totally not linked to the video though :D

What model & brand are your sunglasses? I think they’re really cool!


Daithí says:

Excellent stuff and right on time for the weekend… time to get off my bottom and make something.


Khashayar says:

so Chase Jarvis is a skater boy :P

maski says:

i love CJ …. sigh…..

Daniel says:

I liked this idea “A fancier “poor man’s dolly” built with PVC and skateboard wheels”. I will try to do something like this for me!!!!!

Davide says:

Hi Chase, i am italian aspiring photographer near Milan. This video is fantastic, i really like the video that explains how to make pictures. Thank you very much. By

Konstantin says:

Chase Jarvis… A GENIUS !!


merci pour la vidéo. maintenant, il me manque les moyens financés pour m’offrir des bons trigger et autre arm.

Anonymous says:

I’d like to add that it’s simply a myth that good advertising work requires tens of thousands of pounds of production equipment… all my work ( shot with a Canon 5D mkII and ambient light – be that sunlight or interior desk lamps or ceiling lights.

And there are guys far better than me that do the same… check out the personal work of the UK’s most famous advertising photographer
Also try,

David says:

Who is more famous than Anonymous?

Great data as usual Chase. Inspiring more than anything else and inspiration is priceless!

TJantunen says:

Very nice video. I would like to see more same kind of videos. You did more of this kind of stuff earlier and I really enjoyed watching those.

Joe says:

This campaign is brilliant. I know I am being marketed to, and it still makes me want to go out and buy SanDisk.

Chase, I’ve been following you for about a year now, and it seems as if I learn something new every week, I’m a big fan of your work, and I love the way you share EVERYTHING with the community. As an aspiring photographer, your my idol, and I hope you keep doing this. You’ve gotten me through some very bad periodes in my photography, but thanks to your videos and blogpost, I’ve managed to stay intrested and to do my best to become someone slightly comparable to you!

Cheers from Belgium

Chase, you trust those huge 32 gig cards? I feel so nervous using those things….putting all your eggs in one basket kinda nervous. Justified? Anyone else using the big cards?

Chase Jarvis says:

i do trust them. flash memory is the most stable memory around. nothing is perfect, but i love not thinking about how much memory i have for hours at a time.

i don’t want to jinx it, but i’ve had 100% reliability for more than a year…

nron13 says:

Chad Bartie! Wow where has he been hidin’, land down under??? By the way he is doing a heelflip varial, NOT a kickflip!! But thanks for the tip!! Keep Rockin!!

jose says:

Great video, one of the best yet. I hope it becomes available on iTunes as another video podcast.

Great tips Chase – Just listened to your appearance on the Photofocus Podcast!

Cool, piece Chase. Outstanding marketing you’re doing for your client (SanDisk) and still offering something up for everyone to learn from. Cool Thanks again.

Jason says:

Wow Chase you have sure figured out how to moniterize this blog. Way to go!

ian flanigan says:

haha that isn’t a kickflip! looks like a varial heel

Cool to see some shots of San Diego! As always, good stuff, Chase! I’m totally diggin’ that PVC dolly!

Paul Treacy says:

I found that encouraging. I’ve just started a documentary on Parkour here in London using the versatile Olympus E-PL1 with Nikkor legacy lenses and the SEMA-1 mic system for HD video and a Nikon D200 system with a few speedlites and Tokia zooms for action stills. I’ve got everything I need with this kit along with a homemade pvc pipe fig rig for the Olympus and a homemade spoked wheel to focus while mounted on the rig.

I guess I ought to do a blog on it all.

Tom says:

Love the video, but how do you constantly keep that 8 o’clock shadow look?

Nice post,

Like the techniques

Jack Pope says:

Thanks for sharing! Awesome photos and video as always.

Luis LS says:

Thanks for these great tips.
I will try to use one or two at least.

Great video chase! Try checking out the chdk interval scripts for the Canon S90, that should spare the rubberband on the trigger, thoug i haven’t tried it out personally.

Peter Hand says:

Love the blank point in the video! haha

Craig S says:

Chase, great video.

Can you (or anyone) tell me what body and lens used to film most of the interview (with Chase). It looked great.



I doing some o’ that ! My daughter and friends play sand volleyball and I have been dyin’ to get some shots. I’m showin’ up with a ladder and pvc next V-ball night. She will die from embarrassment. nah! it’s cool. thank you so much for the inspiration and killer tips!!! great share!

Todd says:

Damn! I just got back from shooting some skateboarding. Wish I would watched this first! haha awesome stuff, havent really gotten into the video with my cam but with these tips Im sure i can do some cool stuff

thanks man you continue to teach and inspire me.

Tyler says:

Chase, you continue to amaze me, gave me some great ideas as a pro who doesn’t have the fundage that you do. You really are contributing a great deal to our field and helping other people make images too.

Thanks for everything you do!

Awesome work as usual Chase. This video is kick ass! I honestly dont think that I or any of the other new photographers following you can thank you enough for the insight. The tips were quick and to the point and the content that you produce is always top notch. I also will be heading to Home Depot in the near future to begin assembly of the DIY dolly! Thanks again Chase.

Hot stuff. Love how “ON” you are in these videos. Great tips, great shots, great atmosphere. Keep it up. \m/


Jeremy Hall says:

I gotta say, this video rocked. The quick tips, DIY and accessible examples; all spot on. Thanks Chase & SanDisk.

Waterboy says:

thanks for the super cool tips! they’re killer
i’ve just one question? why you block the adidas logo on the short, with the three stripes in the shoulders… if someone don’t realise that this is adidas, i don’t know.

Jonny says:

Love the cheapo dolley. I am kinda on the verge of buying a $1,250 one…. Now i`m second guessing that idea :)

Jenna Langer says:

I’m happy to have one thing on your gear list – my SB-800 (still need to learn how to get the best use out of it). But my D70 gets the job done :)

Love the idea of a skateboard as a dolly. Such a simple solution, I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that! I like having a point and shoot with me as well. If you are a good photographer and know how the adjust the settings you can get amazing pictures from those little guys.

Thanks for the post!

Jesus Hidalgo says:

Dude, you da man!!
Thanks for this post. I appreciate you sharing with the world the little tips and tricks to make the “Million Dollar Shots”. We all can certainly grow from this.
Thanks a million.

Alex Ö says:

Thank you very very much! Feel a bit a shame since I all ready own much of the stuff but don’t allow me to take the time to shoot pictures. =(

But the video is awesome!

zachbreaux says:

Very nice sir! Thanks for the tips!

Darryl boyd says:

Cool Stuff!! loved it!!

Marco says:

Really great tips!! awesome.

That was a sweet vid. But just one thing.
You said that you placed the camera on a “hat”
I saw no hat. I saw a touque, but no hat.

us Canadians are fussy like that.

Jonny says:

At least he didn’t call it a ‘knitted cap’. Its a toque eh?

Travis D says:

Thanks for making this sweet video! It was fun to watch and had great tips. SanDisk couldn’t be happier. Costco helped me out by having SanDisk.

Casey says:

Very tasty. Thanks Chase!

Cameron says:

Nice. That’s my beach man! I just did a helmet cam skating down the beach.
I’m off to Alaska next to get some photos and video rafting the Kongakut!

Tommy says:

Lots and lots of great tips. Best video I seen in a long time. Thank you!!!

Ghislain says:

Wow honestly Chase, this is one of your BEST tip video ever. So cool and amazing like always.

Quick question: When you use the Broncolor flash with D3s for the SkateBoarders, how can you fix the movement so easily as I believe you cannot shoot higher then 1/250 with External Flash isn’t it ?

Great video and thank you for sharing again and again and again!


Nick says:

Same question here!


The beauty of powerful flashes is that they are powerful enough to become the primary light source even in full sun. This means that it is possible to make the flash duration the effective speed of the shot. So if your camera’s shutter is only shooting at 1/250th, but your flash fires for 1/2500th of a second, it means that effectively you’re shooting the 1/2500th speed as far as stopping action is concerned. Check out this post for a little more info on that subject:


Ghislain says:

Tks Scott, I saw that video before unfortunately I didn’t understand the first time but now I really do.

tks for clearing this out, now the next thing to do is to get out there and TEST IT!!

Cheers and again tks for your feedback!

Tim says:

Loved the read. Video is a “no-go” on my iPad though! Look forward to watching when I get home.

sam says:

thnax 4 sharing

David in Seattle says:

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Kees says:

Chase — The link to Sandisk contest doesn’t work… delete the www part.

Mark says:

Ah, thanks for the post! Great stuff for everyone.

So, how did that no-look shot come out?

caroline says:

We used the PVC style dolly to shoot a lot of my thesis film for my MFA program (plus a DIY steadicam contraption dubbed “Frankencam”). Necessity’s the mother of invention, eh?

Thanks for setting my brain on fire.

Great info as always. Loved the dolly setup!!


David says:

sweet…! this is awesome!

thanks Chase.

Awesome stuff Chase! Always great to see big companies that do big gig commissions but still listen to what the photographers see as their vision and jump on board to help make it a reality!..

Also, we’ve (40/60 Photo) spoken to you about possibly sporting some of our t-shirts in one of your next videos, and can’t wait to see it happen! We were stoked to see one of Zack’s audience members wearing one in each of the classes from Creative Live where you were guest speaking last weekend. And definitely hope to see you and Zack sporting them next time as well!..

Mike says:

Thanks a ton Chase.

As a D90 user I found that really helpful!

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