The Instagram Interviews: Chris Burkard
1. You once stated your work is split up into three ways: commercial, editorial, and social endorsements. How does Instagram fit into your workflow as a professional photographer?
Instagram is pretty much my personal advertising consultant but I get to be the one making the decisions and yet I can still reach thousands of people. It’s now become a very big part of my workflow in that I will push content out on a regular basis so that my friends and fans can see continued new, curated work on the daily and be inspired to get out and see what our world has to offer.
2. How has your experience with Instagram changed since your first started using it as a medium to share your photos back in 2012? Has your style as a photographer changed as well?
At first, I was pretty resistant to social media but I soon learned that I could reach many people and share my work on a global level as opposed to just my website or in print form at an art gallery. Now though, Instagram keeps me from staying stagnant by constantly pushing out content and continually challenging myself to shoot better photos at new destinations.
3. To make a living as a photographer, you need to know how to manage both the artistic and the business aspects of photography. Comparing Instagram, Facebook, ChrisBurkard.com, and word of mouth, which channel would you say is responsible for the majority of your revenue?
I’d say definitely Instagram and Facebook has helped me reach the masses. With that, all my fans talk amongst each other and through word of mouth I find many new folks being introduced to my work. This alone brings lots of people out to my book events or film screenings. Aside from my fans though, IG and FB have helped me book many commercial clients because at a glance they are able to see my portfolio and the fan base I can potentially reach out to for them.
4. Where do you see the future of how people share photography heading to?
I see it growing more and more as a user-based experience that can bridge the gap between professionals and amateurs. Before, we could not directly get in contact with the big names of photography but with the likes of Instagram and Facebook we can easily direct message anyone and start a relationship from that way.
5. If I were going on a 2-3 month trip around the world next summer to see if I could make it as a photographer, what tips would you have on how prepare myself over the next 6 months?
To prepare yourself for the next 6 months (or even 6 years), I’d say you should definitely plan every aspect of your trip beforehand. Yes, the spontaneity and surprising elements can make for a great photo, but more likely than not, bad weather conditions or travel hiccups can ruin any shoot or image. Also, find your inspiration from other people’s works but don’t directly shoot what they’ve shot — find your own angle and vision and keep it true to yourself. It’ll translate and show on the photograph!