Another dose of creative talent comes to our Interview series, as we get to know Chris Roberge from Clear Images Photography. Clear Images Photography offers services for both professional photos, and videos for your need. This includes portfolio sessions, artist promotional material, live band/dj coverage, special events, and more.
Let’s get to know Chris!
Welcome to Featured Pixels. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’m 30 now, got one kid and another on the way! I’ve also never fancied myself a creative individual before I picked up a camera for the first time.. (only being a couple years ago). Had never had any interest in creating music, writing, drawing, or anything for that matter. Was a lost soul most of my current life! I thought I was destined to work crappy construction jobs or something for the rest of my life!
So, your a transient then? Where do you consider home these days?
In all honesty, anywhere in BC is home! I lived away from here for 14 years and hated every minute of it. I’d gladly live anywhere in the mountains and feel like I’m home. Currently that place is Kelowna, BC though and I got to say, its pretty darn nice here all year round!
British Columbia is a beautiful location, I soon hope to call it home as well. Usually an interesting question is the Education one. Did you attend school for Photography?
I definitely didn’t. I have an incredibly addicting personality and since the minute I picked up my first DSLR a couple years back, its been full speed ahead. I am 100% self taught. In fact I’ve never attended workshops or even hired a private lesson. Its just something I love so I have a huge determination to learn all the time. Typically I spend a few hours every day reading or surfing the web for more knowledge about what it is I am currently in the process of evolving my style into!
How long have you been a photographer?
The First camera I ever bought was just over 2 years ago. I have been a full time photographer for.. 2 years now actually.
What or who got you started in photography?
Hah! Well, this one night, be and a couple chicks thought it would be fun to grab a point and shoot, have them do a bunch of crazy makeup and wardrobe stuff and we’d drive around town doing “photoshoots” all over the place! It was the most fun I’d ever had and it was at that exact moment I know I needed to know everything there is about this industry. I bought my first DSLR the next day, (Canon Rebel XSi) to which it only took a week to realize it was not enough.. and so the obsession began.
How would you describe your style?
Good question.. I don’t really know if I have a “STYLE” per-say… I think I am still in the phase of developing it to be honest. I feel my skill level is always changing with my understanding of new lighting techniques, and processing, which continually evolves my style into new things. All I know is I don’t ever want to find a style and stick with it! This is a creative industry and being stale is not growing. I don’t ever want to feel like “Well I got Photography in the bag..” I love learning and expressing myself through new methods and visions.
What is your current gear setup?
Currently I shoot Nikon fairly exclusively.
D800 for Main Camera Body. I had a D7000 as a backup body, but am picking up the D600 instead.
Lenses include: 24mm 1.4, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8. 50 1.4. – I don’t feel I really NEED anything else, although I would really love the 200 F2 for portraits!! The compression at 200mm is soooooooo creamy… but its not really worth the cost for the usage that would differentiate that I can get out of my 70-200. I use that lens almost 80% of the time. Its my baby!
Studio Lights- 2x Einsteins, with a tons of modifiers. However I pretty much only use my 22’ White Beauty Dish on a boom, or my 56’ Octabox for main lighting. They are absolutely perfect!
What is your favorite photography accessory?
Good question! I’d have to say my Black Rapid Quick Strap system is my favourite. I use it every day. I am not a fan of the straps that come with cameras, I like the sling feel BR provides.
What is your favorite lens and why?
Without a doubt, 70-200 2.8 VR2. Its so versatile, fast, and unbelievably sharp. If fact I feel its unmatched of all the lenses I’ve used. I’ve bought and sold a ton of other professional grade lenses and this is the one I end up always coming back to. Its heavy, but worth every penny. Some people think VR is a waste of money… clearly they’ve never used this lens before! I can hand hold at 200mm shooting at 1/30 of a sec and its still sharp!
What lighting equipment do you take on a regular shoot if any?
I almost always bring my Einstein stobes everywhere with me. I have a portable power unit for them which gives me about 300 full power shots! They are about 640 Watt Seconds if I remember correctly. Not the most powerful, but for the price point they are phenomenal pieces of light. I use the Cyber Commander system which is also amazing! Entirely digital transceiver system.
What is your favorite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer? How about software?
I’m a huge fan of Picasa… No.
Adobe – Lightroom for culling, Photoshop for the major edits. Without a doubt!
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Well it depends on the purpose of the images to begin with. Lightroom covers about 80% of my photo editing needs, except with bigger budget productions, or with anything that requires any sort of manipulation/correction done. I don’t use lightroom for any of my Beauty/Fashion/Editorial work. It just simply cannot do the necessary edits I require.
Are you a Mac or PC lover?
Both. I have 2 really good systems to have the best of both worlds. I love my mac for editing photos/videos, and my PC for gaming… hahah. But truth be told, both can do editing equally as good. PC’s are cheaper and easier to upgrade, but I honestly LOVE the way mac’s operate and feel. Their ergonomics make so much more sense. I grew up hating them, until I got one.
Do you plan on buying any new equipment in the near future and if so what do you have your eyes set on?
I’m always planning on buying new equipment… and I’m always buying it.. in fact I try put at least 30% of my income back into my business. Last year I put almost 50% of my income into it. New monitors, lenses, new camera body, etc. There’s always something I “Need”… hah. I am definitely a gear whore. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!
Your work really inspires myself and many others to pursue photography in a wider degree. What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such amazing imagery?
So many things in life give me inspiration. I watch a lot of movies and get a lot of ideas from cinematics… although I don’t execute those often, I stew on them, and then turn them into something of mine later on in a project. I spend a lot of time networking with other photographers and videographers from around the world. Its great!
What has been your most memorable or favorite project and why?
I recently have been commissioned for a few large hair competition projects and I just LOVE them!!! I feel right at home with a medium size production team, and crew working together to get that image! It’s really cool working with people and as you take the photos and they pop up on your tethered screen the whole team “Oooohs!” and “ahhhhhhhs!” its amazing! Best part is that it isn’t even the finished product and everyone is so excited! I could definitely shoot hair for the rest of days!
Is there a photographer you would love to say you got your photograph taken by?
Joey L. without a doubt! That guy is pure genius.
Do you have or ever use an assistant/2nd shooter that accompanies you on an projects?
I do often. Its always great to have a lighting assistant. And when I book weddings I always book a second shooter.
Do you have a website and/or blog you visit often? How about forums?
www.500px.com ; www.1x.com ; www.fstoppers.com ; www.slrlounge.com ; and I follow Zack Arias, Joey L, Von Wong, and a few others!
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about being an artist?
Not comparing myself to others and keeping my ego in check. It’s so easy to let the ego take over, especially in a smaller city like where I live. But it’s also the worst thing you can do to yourself and your business. This is also why I routinely check the real world for reality. I’m a small fry on a huge plate.
What do you think of the current state of the photography industry and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
I think the current state is expanding at a rate which will eventually cap. Its exploded over the last few years, mostly due to the availability of cheaper DSLR’s, and information to learn how to use them! I mean I’m entirely self taught because of that information! Also, I blame Facebook for everyone seeing photographers, and thus wanting to be one! But that being said, I also run my entire business from FB (le sigh), but its true! As much as I hate fb, its been the biggest reason I’ve been able to grow as fast as I have. So keep it coming fb!
What photographic organizations do you belong to, if any?
None. Im a part of some groups, but no actual Organizations. Unless you consider NPS (Nikon Professional Shooter) one? But I’d say thats more of a manufacturer benefit program.
If I wasn’t a photographer, I would have loved to have been a writer or film director. What would you have been?
Like I mentioned before, I didn’t consider myself much of a creative individual before I experienced what it was like to actually be one! So if you asked me this question before I found this, my answer would be “In Business.” in who knows what… But now, I would say ANYTHING in a creative manner. I think everyone should be doing something creative, even if its as a hobby! Its the most beneficial experience anyone could ever do with their minds! I highly encourage my daughter to do creative stuff all the time and she just loves it!
Is there a particular person in your life that you could say has taught you the most out of anyone you know?
Its split evenly between my father, and my mother. They are two completely opposite people. My dad is the stern, business type. My mother is the loving nurturer. Between the two I’ve been very lucky to get both where I needed them the most. Its funny how that works out. My parents have been split up since I was too young to remember, and I didn’t see my dad much growing up. But now that I’m passed the dependent stage, and am at the part where business and responsibility are most important, he is one of the closest people in my life. I definitely couldn’t choose one over the other. I know it’s cliche to say my parents are the ones that taught me the most, but its true.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I have many loves in my life! My Fiance, My Daughter, My Job, Myself. I couldn’t answer this simply. I love everything in my life today; including the challenges I face.
What is your greatest fear?
Letting myself be consumed by fear. I don’t want to regret life.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Give most of it away. Money is evil and with my personality would undoubtedly ruin most of my life. Money is not something that can be dumped on most people, my life is accustomed to how much I make now, and is quite manageable. I definitely think I would give most of it to my family, and seek financial investors before I went all Tony Montana on it.
What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?
Exactly what I’m doing today! Working my dream job, raising my kids, and being happy. I’ve had many shitty jobs that I was NOT excited to wake up and go to.. I haven’t had that feeling in a couple years and I love every minute of it. I may not make a ton of cash, but I’m incredibly happy and lucky to be able to do the things I do. I try not to take advantage of it.
And the last question, if you had one wish…
That everyone experiences the feeling I get expressing feelings through art. Everyone should paint a picture today (who cares if you aren’t a pro!), write a poem, write a story, play some musical instrument, or take a picture! Creating something invokes something inside us as individuals, and opens a door to something unexplainable in words. Just do it!