Interview with photographer #21: Chase Lancaster (USA, Portrait&Street Photography)84LENS
When did you first become interested in photography? What sparked it and when did you decide that it was what you were going to do? Tell us your story.
It all started by bringing my GoPro on family vacations and documenting everything we did. I had so much fun doing it, that my parents gave me their old Canon Rebel XT. What started with me taking pictures in my backyard, slowly turned into my hobby, which eventually became my career! Long story short, my parents saw my spark and helped me become what I am today.
Were you formally educated in photography, or are you self taught?
I did not take any classes on photography or film, but I watched a lot of YouTube and SkillShare videos!
What is your ways of income from photography? Do you sell your photos on microstock sites? What else?
I am a freelance photographer, so I get paid mostly by my clients directly. I do have a store on my website as well for anyone who wants to purchase select downloads or canvas.
What else do you do besides photography?
I also work in digital marketing for a software company. Besides my day job, I enjoy playing rugby, surfing and snowboarding!
What mistakes did you make when you started taking pictures?
I still make mistakes today, we are all human. But early on I didn’t back up my photos to a hard drive or the cloud and unfortunately have lost some old pictures along with some client. What I always tell new photographers and don’t stop shooting and don’t stop saving.
Which photo are you currently most proud of? Tell us a story about this photo please.
That’s a tough question, I am proud of many pictures for different reasons. The picture below is one of first favorites because it was taken during my first professional photoshoot. I was lucky enough to work with a veteran actress and model, Olivia Nikkanen. It was taken in Boston, MA, USA and throughout the entire shoot, the several models I worked with gave me tips and helped me become more and more comfortable shooting in public.
Who have you learned the most from?
As cliché as it sounds; I learned the most from my mistakes. Making sure the settings on my camera are always correct, that I am focused on the subject and not the background, so on and so forth.
How did you find your photography style, and what can you recommend to other photographers trying to find their niche?
I just started shooting everything. Landscapes, product, drone, random stuff around the house. What I enjoy the most about portraits is that I am able to manipulate the photo and set up everything the way I want. Every photo is unique and won’t be recreated by anyone else.
For other photographers, I say they should go around and just shoot everything as well. Until you find the style that excites you the most, there is no such thing as taking too many pictures.
Your favourite accessory?
My favorite accessory is probably my Lowerpro ProTactic backpack. Its sleek, useful and I can carry everything I need for all of my shoots with ease. Plus black looks good with anything.
Favourite photography website?
I enjoy Instagram the most because I can easily find new photographers everyday along with following along with some of my favorites.
12. Top tip for any aspiring in your niche photographers out there?
It’s okay to want to replicate photos of other photographers. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” – Oscar Wilde. You can use other people’s ideas as a starting point to brach off any find your own unique style and vision.
To what degree do you retouch your photos, Photoshop? Lightroom? Aperture? Anything that you like to do in your photos in particular, such as add certain curves?
I try to keep the photo as natural as possible. I will lighten or darken when necessary using Lightroom. As for background objects or adjustments the client wants done to their body, I will use photoshop but as little as possible.
Do you use some photographer’s facebook groups/forums/subreddits/medium to share your experience or discuss something?
Not as much as I should. I am a member of a local photography group to keep me inspired and continue to shoot as much as possible.
Recommend some blogs or instagram profiles about photography you love to read:
What promotion methods do you use? How do you find customers for your photo shoots? I mean facebook & instagram ads, etc.
Typically word of mouth and networking with friends. But I have also DM’d models on instagram and even asked strangers on the street to take their portrait.
What apps do you use to organize your work? Maybe there are some interesting services that our readers would be interested to know about?
I use external hard drives to save all my files, RAW and edited. Along with Google Drive to backup everything and to send my finished photos with my clients.
Final words of wisdom you would like to share?
One thing I wish I was advised when starting out or even in college, is to not listen to anyone but yourself. I was told that photography is not a smart carrier choice and that it’s hard. They were right about one thing, it’s not easy. But the things you want the most are never easy. If you are passionate about something, then the chase to be successful will be worth it and should even be fun. I have accomplished so much these last few years… but I still have so much to learn, and goals to achieve. I will never be completely satisfied, and that is a good thing! I want to forever improve myself and skills.
Thanks a lot Chase! I wish you the most juicy shots!