Chat with a Pro: Fashion/Beauty Photographer Christopher Kern

The greatest models aren’t trying to be someone else – they just exist – inspire and are professional.

Any time you see a photo of a beautiful woman, you know immediately if it’s anther hot chick pic, or  the work of genius. I met Christopher on set a few years ago, and we’ve created some of the best work in my book together. He’s one of those shooters whose work screams genius from every pixel: fresh, crisp, moody, his images are simultaneously rich and subtle, and he manages to consistently capture what every artist seeks: two conflicting emotions at the same time. It’s a completely overused expression but what can I say… the man is a genius, which is why he’s one of the most sought-after shooters in California. He took a minute to answer a few questions. Check it out:

CP: How long have you been a professional photographer? How did you get into it?

CK: I’ve been shooting professionally since May of 2003. Embarking on my 10th year. It’s a process – i’ve spent many of my years assisting other great photographers. From LA, SF and all over the world. Photography has taken me all over the US and even to Paris and Brazil. In 2003 I was running my own Internet Marketing Company and going to undegrad where I was studying business. Had a chance to take an elective – and it was photography. Within 5 minutes I decided to change majors, sell my business to my partner and pursue photography. Beyond assisting and shooting in OC/LA – I decided to go for my MFA in Photography at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I spent 2 and a half years shooting my thesis project, assisting for advertising photographers, and shooting both advertising and editorial work of my own.

CP: What’s your specialty? Commercial Print? Editorial? What makes that type of photography exciting to you?

I’ve spent the first 10 years of my career shooting both fashion and beauty images for editorial, catalog and advertisements. I’ve spent the last couple years shooting mostly for HP, Bauer Hockey and Benefit Cosmetics. I’m looking to expand into more of an advertising focus toward technology and an active life focus.

CP: For new models, what do you suggest?

CK: Shoot with as many photographers as you can. Be open to creating and most of all be open to critique and collaboration. Meet as many people as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take a deep breath and be yourself. The greatest models aren’t trying to be someone else – they just exist – inspire and are professional.


CP: No diva-action…

CK: Exactly. Treat even the free test shoot as a business. Be on time and professional.

CP: If you’re working with first-time models, they’re nervous as hell.  How can they prepare for the shoot? What should they bring? Any pose advice?
CK: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be on time – get sleep the night before the shoot. Take care of your mind and body. Be comfortable.

You can love Christopher here.

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