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#CreatorConversations: Highlights From Our AMA With Chris Burkard

Photo by Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard)

#CreatorConversations is an AMA (Ask Me Anything) series hosted by @sonyalpha on Instagram. As part of the series, we were joined by photographer Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard). See some of the highlights below as the Sony Artisan shares tips for navigating client rates, why he shoots with Sony and more. Visit the Instagram post for the full AMA and make sure you’re following @sonyalpha and #CreatorConversations to stay connected.

"As an artist all we can hope to do is share the places we love and fear losing most.” – Chris Burkard #CreatorConversations

“I’d love to ask how you navigate rates for clients. I feel like the big name photographers keep this on the DL usually. I think it’s an important discussion for all of us otherwise it results in the newer photographers severely undercharging and hurting the industry. I’d love to hear your thoughts since you crush the business game!” – @charlysavely

Chris: “The golden question, and I agree an important one to talk about for the sake of all photographers. However, there is no easy answer here. I have a day rate set that I aim to earn for commercial shoots because it is what I think I am worth, but it can change greatly depending on the client and the project. If it's a project that I really care about or has a good mission, I'll sacrifice some pay. That said, rates depend on what the images will be used for. Rates for social media images are very different from a big TV commercial spot. Lots of things to take into consideration!”

“What made you choose Sony over any other brand?” – @jofarrisphotography

Chris: “I shot with other brands beforehand and the Sony simply delivered better. At the time they were the only brand with the mirrorless system which was a game changer. Today I still think they're ahead of the rest and most photographers agree. They're amazing in low light, super fast auto focus, the resolution is amazing for print, etc. Lots of reasons and they get the job done!”

“What advice would you give to someone looking to put out a first book?” – @samuelaustinrich

Chris: “My advice to every photographer is to make a book, even if just for yourself. It's incredible for your vision and thought process, it changes how you look at photos and selecting them. I think you could do a broad book if you wanted it for yourself or for friends and family, but a broad book won't really sell. You need to have a target market that you are curating photos and a book for. I started with surf. All my books were surf focused and I honed in on this market, and from there expanded slowly.”

“Do you think the Sony α7 III can be used for high-end professional jobs?” – @dario.explore

Chris: “100%. That camera is a slayer! And miles above the best cameras just a few years ago. I still bring an α7 III on most commercial jobs these days, as well as the α6500. Shots from either of those cameras can deliver incredible photos that are print and client worthy!”

“When trying to shoot landscapes I find myself thinking ‘there's thousands of photos like this on Google,’ and it puts me off. I prefer to photograph people or specific unique moments. Is this something you've felt before and how do you respond to it?” – @clym

Chris: “Yes, absolutely. One of the big reasons I decided to seek cold, unknown surf breaks over the well known spots. The best picture is the picture of a place no one has ever seen!”

“Any advice on trying to get out of your own head when trying to compose an image? Or simple tips on composition?” – @mike_zapp87

Chris: “There's no short answer unfortunately. It depends on the situation but if I've spent too much and am getting in my head and can go back, I'll often go back to the spot a few times to rethink it. I also always scout locations so that I don’t have to make these big decision in the moment if possible.”

"What are the main lenses you use for your Sony α7R III/IV?” – @kylereefturner

Chris: “My go-tos are the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master, Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master, Sony 20-700mm f/2.8 G Master. With these three you can do just about anything.”

“How do artists view their role within the storyteller? How does art play a pivotal role in changing people’s perspectives on the climate crisis?” – @elizabeth.and.captain

Chris: “For me and many artists, it is all about telling a story. That's what I use my photography to do. In terms of climate crisis, I think art plays an incredibly important role. The science is important, but a lot of people don't take the time to read it, don't understand it, or just aren't interested. In the case of art and specifically my photographs, I believe something like a beautiful image can draw people in. It can grab their attention, make them interested, and from there you can explain and educate and work to make a difference.”

"What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from or advice you have gotten throughout your photography career? + Do you have any advice for a starting Sony mirrorless camera and lens?" – @capturetheworldaroundus

Chris: “The first one is a tough question. The best lesson I have learned is to follow and pursue the path you're most interested in and best at. I chased assignments that I didn't truly like for editors and eventually knew surf was what I wanted to pursue and gave all of my attention to it. Part 2 - for a buyers guide check the FAQ section of my website. If you already have it - shoot as much as humanly possible. No better way to learn!”

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