Chris Bogard on Creativity, Lighting, and Collaborating with Others
There’s nothing unusual about taking pictures of friends. Nor is there anything unusual about taking pictures of landscapes and people you meet when traveling. Chris Bogard had long enjoyed photographing friends, landscapes, and people he met when he traveled to places he had never been before. As he became more comfortable behind a camera he began photographing models in editorial-like settings in a bid to see how far he could push his photographic skills.
His first camera was a basic point-and-shoot, which was soon supplanted by his father’s Minolta SRT-202 – a 70’s vintage 35mm film camera with a 50mm lens that enabled him to better understand the basics of photography, which in turn enabled him to stretch his creative sensibilities. With time he began realizing he had hit a creative wall and if he truly wanted to shoot the kind of editorial assignments he now only dreams about he would have to up his game, especially when it came to lighting his subjects.
After a short search of photography schools in his area he chose Sacramento City College, also known as ‘Sac City’, in Sacramento California. The campus was local, the schedule fit his work schedule, the faculty resonated with him, and most importantly, the equipment locker contained a large stash of Profoto lighting gear. “The first time I stepped into the studio and saw those lights I was hooked.”
Chris’s first studio portrait was taken using a single softbox with his subject sitting in front of a black background. As simple as it was, he was immediately taken by how much drama he was able to create by changing the angle of his lights, and much texture and detail he was able to capture. “It looked ‘professional’. From that point on I only wanted to shoot in the studio”.
Browsing through Bogard’s portfolio it’s easy to see there’s a connection, between the Chris and his subjects and it's directly attributable to his love of collaboration. Unlike some creative types who for whatever reasons prefer working solo, Bogard enjoys the interaction between himself and others who he works with on projects.
In the studio Bogard has become a big fan of Profoto D4 studio packs and Profoto Acute/D4 Flash heads. For shaping light Chris’s favorite light modifiers are the Profoto Softlight Reflector White with diffusers and Profoto RFi Softbox 2x3’. He also makes good use of Profoto Zoom Reflectors and Profoto Umbrellas as needed. When shooting environmental portraits on location, Chris relies on Profoto B1 Off-Camera flash systems and Profoto OCF softboxes and Profoto OCF Beauty Dishes.
Chris currently shoots with a Sony A6000 with 55mm/f1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 lenses (75mm and 130mm equivalent focal lengths when used with the A6000's APS-C imaging sensor). For triggering flash with his Sony, he relies on a Profoto Air Remote TTL-S wireless flash trigger.
For inspiration, Bogard looks to icons including Annie Leibovitz, who he appreciates for the breadth of expertise in multiple genre of still photography, celebrity portrait photographer Luke Fontana, Chris Knight, Romina Ressia, whose portraits take him back a century in time, and Chris Burkard, whose career path he’d love to follow (and with time maybe improve upon).
Chris Bogard's long-term goal is to one day pack up his cameras and a few cases of Profoto battery-powered flash gear for a large-budget fashion assignments in an exotic location for flagship publications like Vogue, and he's already thinking of who he would like to collaborate with when he gets the call.
Chris Bogard’s Toolbox:
• Profoto D4 Studio Packs
• Profoto B1 Battery-powered Off-Camera Flash
• Profoto Acute/D4 Flash Heads
• Profoto Softlight Reflector White
• Profoto RFI Softbox 2x3’
• Profoto Zoom Reflectors
• Profoto Umbrellas
• Profoto OCF Softboxes
• Profoto OCF Beauty Dish
• Profoto Air Remote TTL-S Wireless Flash Trigger