top of page

Episode 47: Everyone's A Photographer with Andrew Chad

Just go shoot. Action Sports Photographer Andrew Chad joins us on the podcast and talks about becoming a photographer, working with professional athletes, and negotiating the unforgiving outdoors when shooting. Andrew gets real about photographers working for free and negotiating brand-photographer relations.

Follow Andrew:

Follow Wheelie on Instagram: @wheeliecreative

Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes every Thursday and leave us a review to let us know what you think about the show!

Andrew's photo of skier Corey Seemann.


Episode Transcript

Lisa: What's going on all you outdoorsy creatives? Welcome to another episode of Outside by Design.

Iris: I'm Iris

Lisa: and I'm Lisa.

Iris: And we're your hosts.

Lisa: Yeah coming at you live from Whitefish, Montana out of the Wheelie office.

Iris: Not live, but close enough. We're continuing our theme of negotiation the month of April and we have a really great guest and also a friend of Wheelie on the show today.

Lisa: That's right. We have legendary photographer Andrew Chad. Andrew’s like our favorite photographer / transient van lifer. He can be hard to track down. He's elusive like a unicorn but when he's in town and all the stars align and we get to do a shoot with him it's pretty... it's pretty magical. So sometimes we shoot in house and a lot of times we work with Andrew. It kind of depends.

Iris: Yeah, and I think this is a great episode for anyone trying to become an action sports photographer or just a photographer in general. Andrew shares kind of his journey into the world of photography. He talks about working with athletes as a photographer and how it seems like everyone is a photographer these days and as well as negotiating the outdoors. Staying warm, using your camera as a tool, all those things.

Lisa: And because... yeah, because Andrew is a visual artist he does reference certain photographs. And so we will have that posted on the Instagram feed as well as in the show notes so that you can take a look at it and see what Andrew's talking about so extensively. And then next week it's going to be interesting because we have the skier, the athlete Cory Seemann who's in Andrews photo that he speaks about so much. He's going to be talking about what it's like to be an athlete working with a photographer. So this will be fun because it's kind of a two-part episode, the first time we talked with the photographer and the second time we talk with the athlete. So it's a good one. It's a fun one.

Iris: Yeah, so let's get into it.

Lisa: Hey Andrew, thanks for being on the podcast today.

Andrew: Hey no problem, stoked to be here.

Lisa: So the first question we ask every guest is to describe where they are and what they're looking at.

Andrew: Well, I just got back to Whitefish which is home for me. I'm in the back of my van. That is kind of dirty after a month on the road in Canada. I've got my assistant, which is my dog in the back with me right now and we're looking at a bunch of melted snow and rain right now. It's kind of heartbreaking.

Lisa: When you got back... How long were you gone?

Andrew: I was up there for a month.

Lisa: Oh. Wow. No wonder I haven't seen you.

Andrew: Yeah, no, it's been fun. It was also balmy and 50 degrees for half of it. So the skiing is questionable.

Lisa: What have you been doing for a month?

Andrew: Let’s see I went up early in the month. I went to Blanket Glacier for my third trip this year, which is always a good time. And from there bumped over to Whistler, was my first time out in that region, which is a great time. It was fun to just be a flat-out tourist at that place and just sit on patios with sunglasses and enjoy the sun. And then went back to Golden for a little bit. Which is probably my favorite ski town in North America. And then went on another Blanket trip. A lot of time with the Blanket this year.

Lisa: What are you doing for them, shooting photos and skiing and making jokes?

Andrew: Yeah, you know, bunch of dad jokes. There was some photo-taking and some pretty good skiing, surprisingly, for not having that much snow in Canada.

Lisa: That sounds awesome. Well, welcome home. I'm glad you're back.

Andrew: Thank you. Good to be here.

Lisa: Yeah and negotiation - that's our word of the month. So what does negotiation mean to you?

Andrew: Oh, it's all over the board. To be honest. I think the big one almost every day is just negotiating with yourself to get out of bed when it's nice and cozy. I struggle with that actually almost daily. The back of the Van’s quite cozy and when it's super cold outside, it's hard to get up and put on cold ski boots and catch the sunrise. It's absolutely the last thing sometimes you want to do. That daily negotiation with yourself on how to like stay motivated enough to keep yourself busy.

Lisa: You don't seem lazy though. You get a lot of sunrise shots.

Andrew: Yeah, but it's always a battle. Every time it seems to be a battle with me. And then of course when you're out there and you're seeing the sunrise, you're always like, this is the greatest thing I've ever seen in my life. And yeah, I think half the battle or half the trick is just reminding yourself of that when you don't want to be outside.

Lisa: Yeah, do you enjoy doing van life?

Andrew: It's been fun. It's got its ups and downs right now. The van is in some poor shape. After this winter, so that part of it I don't. I do... I think the most fun thing is the winter van life because you meet some interesting characters that are parked in a lot of these ski parking lots in Canada. And you get your own little communities of kind of van lifers that are all suffering in the cold.

Lisa: Are they all photographers as well?

Andrew: There's a couple every once in a while. Most of them are just a bunch of ski bums trying to avoid reality.

Lisa: I don't blame them.

Andrew: Yeah, no. It's great. And it's yeah, the cast of characters is just insane sometimes.

Lisa: It's true. It's true. So you, for our listeners who maybe don't know, you're an amazing photographer and just a damn good dude all around. So what's that journey been like for you?

Andrew: It's been a fun one. It's something I never really considered growing up. I didn't really didn't grow up in that type of culture where... or at least I grew up in a culture where it was basically like Business, Law School, something along those lines. So to take the leap kind of late 20s - to pick up a camera and be like, hey, this is... This is a lot of fun. This is what really what kind of lights your fire every day - was a bit of a leap and it took a while but I'm glad it happened. But yeah, kind of three years ago I really kind of started focusing on it, took a few workshops through the Summit Workshop group. They do like an adventure one in Jackson Hole every summer. So I did a couple of those and each year, like, things kind of progressed fairly quickly and then yeah, got the van and was like… I got some advice from one of the photographers, he's like, “hey, just go around and shoot absolutely everything.” And at the time I just wanted to do skiing. But I didn't really have the portfolio or kind of the people skills for it. So he was like “yeah, just go, go to a coffee shop. Shoot the coffee shop. Shoot people walking down the street. Go to... you know, a lacrosse game, shoot lacrosse…” do all these random things and that was... that was kind of a huge... huge stepping point was to not be afraid to be kind of that nerd with the camera at every single event taking photos. Yeah. That was also a big learning one just being comfortable outside with camera in front of a lot of people and kind of... kind of look like you know what you're doing. Yeah, there's a showy side to it. Right?

Lisa: I'm really interested in what you said that you didn't have the people skills to do ski photography. So tell me about that. That's a really interesting statement.

Andrew: Um, well, I think... like I've always... I've always enjoyed skiing. It's always, I think it's one of the more fun social sports out there. Like you come here to Whitefish and just stand at the summit for five minutes and you'll find some friends on any given day. But when it came to the people skills, it was just being comfortable asking people to essentially, kind of... not waste their powder day, but maybe do their powder day a little bit slower. And that was, that was a tough one to get around. A lot of us just want to keep skiing. No one wants to sit around in the cold for some kid to figure out how to take a ski photo. So there's a little bit of a confidence issue at the very beginning. And then I think what helped with all of that was having the knowledge in the backcountry, taking those higher-level Avalanche classes, to where you can, you know, kind of dictate and make decisions back there and people, you know, start paying a little bit more attention to the fact you have a clue.

Lisa: I love working with you because you're very dependable, and like, you don't really... you always get the shot and I never even see you do it. You always like go crawl in a tree well or something.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, you know you look back at our first shoot that we did over Christmas. And yeah, it was basically like hiding in a tree well in all black. Kind of hoping it's going to work. Yeah, it's always been super fun working with you guys. It's about as easy as it can be.

Lisa: It’s true. We're not that demanding.

Andrew: No. No, unless you like, you know talk trash to the strong arm.

Lisa: It's true. We we just demand excellence.

Andrew: There’s a high standard at Wheelie.

Lisa: It's yeah, I find that it's really fun to work with photographers, but it can also be very difficult. And you're probably my favorite photographer to work with because you're always just down. You're always like yeah, we can figure that out.

Andrew: Yeah, and I think you know going back to the people skills. That was... it's quite fun to be on the other side of it now. Where you ask for... you have a problem that you need solved and I enjoy that problem-solving aspect of it. Because you guys, you always put me in some weird funny situations.

Lisa: We like to put you in weird situations. You're our go-to guy for that.

Andrew: Yeah, even when you need me to be a third wheel.

Lisa: [laughs] Oh yea, you were in front of the camera once, that was fun. What has been the hardest thing for you about your journey to become a badass photographer?

Andrew: mmmm. I think... I think the big one that I'm still getting my head around is things just don't show up. Like every once in a while, you'll get a random email or a message on Instagram, like hey, I got this project for you, great. And then you think, you know, one of those is going to lead to another and then another which it actually doesn't. Things just don't start rolling in. Once you do one good project it’s kind of a bunch of little projects and then goes to dead silence. And I think the biggest business learning challenge has been to figure out how to gap those projects with other things in between. Yeah, and then at the same time creativity just doesn't show up. You kind of have to… you have to keep shooting, you have to keep wandering around in the woods. Things will start showing up then. But nothing good shows up when you're debating on whether or not that sunrise is going to be a good sunrise or if it’s going to be a good sunset.

Lisa: You cannot negotiate with the sun really.

Andrew: No, you can’t negotiate with weather. I try every single day.

Lisa: [laughs]

Ad Break: Lisa dating can be really hard. / It can be really hard to know what you want in life / when you're trying to find the right person you have to go up to someone in bars or you have to download an app and you gotta swipe in different directions. It's really complicated. / You know, sometimes it's about timing and fit like who's available at the time. / Yeah / sometimes it's about going with what you know, because your friends said they liked someone. Or going with someone that your friend tries to set you up with. / Yeah, we've all been on dates like that where it's like this just isn't a good fit. When can it be over? / Yes, luckily, there's an app for that for dating but you know what, there's not an app for but finding the right creative agency. / There's so many creative agencies out there. How are you going to find the right fit? / Let's just save people some time and tell them about a really great creative agency we know called Wheelie. / Oh, yeah, we do know that creative agency! / There's a fun-o-meter at Wheelie and so you have to like fun, be outdoorsy, have products that make a difference in the world, and basically not be boring. / Yeah, so if you thrive outside, you should swipe right on a great creative agency called Wheelie and visit / If you're boring swipe left.

Lisa: I really enjoyed that Andrew touches on the importance of customer service and people skills when you are a creative.

Iris: Yeah, I think as a photographer... if you're an aspiring photographer, you're obviously going to dive into how your camera works and all the different ways to capture a great photo, but there's a whole other side of it, which is working with the people you're photographing.

Lisa: At Wheelie we like to call that custy serves.

Iris: Custy serves.

Lisa: Short for customer service and I'm always talking about our custy serves.

Iris: That’s just... I don't know, that's probably an aspect of getting into the photography industry that people don't necessarily think of. So I'm glad Andrew brought that up, having to learn how to work with people and not be shy asking for people to get in front of the lens.

Lisa: It's also really awesome that Andrew cares so much about snow safety, obviously when you're working in the backcountry in avalanche terrain that is a major skill set. It's actually incredibly complex to become an action sports photographer in the backcountry because you do have to be physically in shape and talented at your craft as well as Avalanche aware and Avvy savvy. So big props to Andrew for nailing all three of those things.

Iris: Yeah. Yeah safety is definitely important. Should we get back to Andrew?

Lisa: Let's do it.

Lisa: What would be your ideal weather day for a shoot?

Andrew: Um, oh gosh, if it was skiing it's got to be kind of like in and out clouds, in and out storms, Moody, unpredictable, where it's all of a sudden you see the light and it’s go go go go. We gotta do this right now. That's pretty fun. Bluebird powder days are just.... they're easy. There's not much thought behind them. So I kind of like... I like when it's challenging weather and not set in stone.

Lisa: That's that's pretty interesting. You've Advanced to the next level.

Andrew: Well, yeah, and like now that I think of it. We were just up at the Blanket and I was up there with Corey Seemann and few other good friends. And Corey and I were trying to dial up this line for ski shot and the weather had been in and out all day. Things are looking good for that moment. When I asked him to go up to the Ridge and ski down and then as soon as he got up to the ridge this graupel storm showed up and yeah, it was actually one of the more interesting experiences. We learned that there's quite a lot of electricity in graupel storms, especially when you're in the cloud, and so all of us actually started buzzing. So we all thought it was like a summer electrical storm and everyone kind of like just basically ran out of there. So yeah, those kind of moments are ones I remember and think are like... you know, that shot was well worth it - or not worth it sometimes - but that shot had a little bit more story behind it than oh, yeah. We just cruised up on a blue Powder day and knocked out a bunch of shots.

Lisa: What are you talking about, what is this electricity?

Andrew: Yeah, so graupel. There's a lot, you know, it's the same kind of weather system that you get in a thunderstorm where there's a lot of energy moving up and down in the clouds.

Lisa: Mhmm.

Andrew: We only learned this afterwards because we're a bunch of you know, essentially novices when it comes to weather. So we had to ask one of the guides. But yeah, there's you know that up and down movement creates a lot of charge in the cloud and we just happened to be in the cloud. And it created kind of electricity around us. It was the most bizarre fascinating feeling. Yeah Corey was like, “hey, I'm buzzing.” He says it over the radio. I'm buzzing guys. Like it's pretty staticky up here. We're like, “no, we can hear you fine on the radio. What's up?” He’s like “no, I'm actually buzzing.” And so, you know, a few of us walked up 15 feet in elevation and all of a sudden it was like, oh, yeah. Yeah, he's definitely buzzing. I think it's time to go home.

Lisa: Did you think it was like a Coreyism at first? Like, “you guys, I’m buzzin!”

Andrew: Yeah. Well, I mean, yeah, it's Cory. He's always on fire. The kid’s got more energy than I you know, I wouldn't even know what to do with. So yeah, of course Cory's buzzing.

Lisa: You took a really good photo of Corey who... where have I seen that all over the Internet, Instagrams? I think he's in chicken nuggets or something? Perhaps?

Andrew: Oh, yeah, over the valley. Yeah. Yeah. That was one of those days we had no expectation. We're just cruising around the mountain. Okay, let's take a few photos. I have my red jacket on. Yeah, we had really no expectation for that day. And that one actually turned out pretty well. I haven't seen it... haven't seen that shot on the mountain before.

Lisa: Yeah, and now I see that photo everywhere. So that was a good one.

Andrew: It also helps when the skiers are good. It just cuts down on so much work.

Lisa: Well, absolutely.

Andrew: Every time I have to be in front of the camera, it's awkward. I go for the turn and then trip and fall and yeah, it's embarrassing.

Lisa: Do you... do you think there's like a really special relationship between photographer and athlete and what can you say about it?

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely, especially in, say, Backcountry skiing. Because it's not just photographer - athlete. It's touring partners as well. I think that's kind of what the basis is. So yeah, you know, you trust them as a touring partner to go make smart decisions in the backcountry. And then there's you know, the development of athlete photographer where you know, Corey and I have been shooting for a couple years now and we know. I know what to expect from Corey when he goes downhill. There's not too many surprises. So I’m like, hey Corey, you need to hit this Mark and he's like, okay, I can do that. And that's pretty special to be able to work quickly. And if you look back at the shoot, we did with Parkin and Maggie they’re like, what, 19 and 20 year olds? I couldn't talk to adults at that age. I wouldn't have a clue. And those two were just such great skiers and they're so good at what they do. I’m like Parkin, can you do this? And he’s like I can do that, no question. And it just streamlines the whole process. There's really no guess work anymore. So yeah, that... that relationship is... it's absolutely crucial. So you're not just wasting time back there and you know wasting good light.

Lisa: Do you have any secrets for not letting your hands freeze off?

Andrew: Oooh. Well gloves, lots of gloves, like my glove collection is kind of absurd. I've got one for every day. If I really needed one. Down mittens, big down mittens. Those are its key. I use like little hand liners, but then I've got these puffy mittens with a hard, you know waterproof layer on top. Yeah, and those are phenomenal. At the same time now that I think of it I just got a pair of those, is it Asterisk loves, you know, those like ones with all the Fringe on them from Aspen. Have you seen those?

Lisa: [laughs] I bet you look really good.

Andrew: Oh, yeah, there's straight up like Dumb and Dumber but they're, you know, we found them on sale in Canada. So they're somewhat reasonable with the discount you get as an American. And those things are the warmest gloves I've ever used, like I'm gonna look like an idiot next year when I'm walking around the backcountry with these like leather Fringe gloves. But I'll be warm.

Lisa: I can't wait to see you like that.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Lisa: I'm gonna be like, oh, look, there's Andrew Chad in his signature gloves.

Andrew: His signature gloves. All black and then these absurd tan gloves. You gotta, you gotta stay warm, you gotta keep yourself happy out there.

Lisa: Well, I have a question for you. Yep. Do you feel like everyone is a photographer these days and if so, what do you do about that?

Andrew: Um, yeah, everyone is a photographer. I think it's great. I love it. Thankfully not everyone's you know, an action sports photographer, but I think it's kind of cool that, you know, everyone can go out with the cell phones these days or whatever camera they want and take a great photo. It's kind of a pain when it comes to competition stuff. But yeah, I think it's one of the greatest things to watch people get excited to make a photo and make a good photo. And it's pretty fun because I have one of those the cell phone cases for the Moment lenses and I usually carry around a couple Moment lenses and you know, I hand the cell phone to someone with one of those lenses and they get a whole different perspective and they just go absolutely wild with this like super fisheye lens, and that's just fun to see. I don't really have a problem with everyone being a photographer.

Lisa: That's the mindset of abundance.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. I... I mean everyone being a photographer. I think the bigger issue is everyone being a free photographer. That's got to be addressed at one point, because you're just kind of undercutting the value of everyone else's work if you're like, oh I'll just do it for free.

Lisa: I agree, obviously, but I think... I think that's a really valid point that people will give their work away for free and then it undercuts the entire industry. So how did you learn how to negotiate for yourself and be like, no you need to pay me?

Andrew: Um, I think there was like a few different ways. Mainly it was because I learned from a bunch of older guys. That all either have families or established in their career. They looked at me and like dude. You cannot do free. Like you're undercutting all of our work, especially in the print industry, which is kind of dying off. There is... there is a battle to stay alive, especially in that like top pool. I learned… yeah, you know, I like having gas in the tank and it's you know, making money that way is kind of a good thing. Keep the van rolling around. But it's... it's also just asking like, you know, everyone's not really expecting free, but they're just used to it. You just throw out a number anything but zero, you know, most of the time it actually kind of works out. People are willing to pay for good product. Or at least find some sort of compensation.

Lisa: Yeah, I think it's really important.

Andrew: Oh, yeah. I mean, you know, when a tourism company contacts you for an image and you have no idea what to pay, a lot of the time it's like getting online and asking all the buddies that have done it before. Like, Hey, what would you do? Okay, that number works. I'll just say that rather than me like oh, yeah, you can have it for free so I can see it online later or something.

Lisa: Yeah because seeing it online doesn't put gas in the tank.

Andrew: No it doesn’t. It's weird how Instagram works like that.

Lisa: Yeah or Pizza in your mouth.

Andrew: Exactly. I need gas and pizza to stay alive. And artificial sugar.

Lisa: Yeah.

Ad Break: Lisa, do you ever struggle to find the perfect vacation home when you're on vacation? / No, usually I just sleep in my truck. / Well, yeah, me too. / But some people do, some people rent vacation homes. / Yeah, and there's some pretty great websites that can match you with the perfect vacation home like one that has a hot tub or a big backyard / and it looks like a bunch of letters, but you're actually supposed to say a made-up word when you talk about it now. / Yeah makes no sense. / It's like a creative agency I know that looks like it's pronounced Wheelie. It's actually pronounced WHeelie. WHy am I looking at WHeelie? Well, it's because Wheelie is an awesome creative Agency for people who Thrive outside. / Wow, tell me more about WHat this creative agency does. / it's called WHeelie and it is all the best content, marketing, strategy, branding, video production, social media management, WHeb design. So instead of looking on the internet for houses just book a creative agency. / If you think that sleeping in your truck sounds better than getting a vacation home with a hot tub. / You might be a good candidate / for WHeelie. That is / Wow!

Lisa: Andrew talked about a very important topic to the creative industry. So for all you aspiring creatives out there it is so important not to work for free. And it is so important to stand your ground and make sure that you are valuing yourself and your work and getting paid what you're worth.

Iris: Yeah, and and it's something that happens in the creative arts. More so than anywhere else. I think almost. People asking for free art and free creative labor. And if you're a creative, that's your form of putting gas in the tank then it's your job to ask for money.

Lisa: Absolutely. It really is. And I mean, as the owner of a creative agency where we employ seven people as full-time employees not as contractors. People are always telling me, Oh, like, your prices are outrageous blah blah and I always just say hey, thanks. Maybe you think that, you know, but you get what you pay for.

Iris: Yeah, exactly.

Lisa: And it's okay to charge for things. Important to the whole industry so don't... don't cut the industry down by giving your work away for free.

Iris: Yeah and valuing yourself is important recognizing that you have value in your work has value is like an important step and becoming a creative.

Lisa: That's right. That's what it means to be Pro.

Iris: Yeah. Let's get back to Andrew.

Lisa: Curious, if you come back to the word negotiation and negotiating over and under objects and moving through the world. What does that mean to you around photography? How do you negotiate nature?

Andrew: Nature? Well, you go back to that shot you're talking about with Cory overlooking the valley. He had a pretty spicy line. I think what I had to negotiate was standing on this kind of like rib with just a little bit of snow and being comfortable enough to stand there just for long enough for Corey to go down and then negotiating the terrain afterwards. I think that's... you know, if you like a ski photography, you kind of get one shot on a line before ski track goes in. And half of what I'm doing, especially in like a tree run for example, is going down and bushwhacking through a bunch of Shrubbery to keep some line clean. So I’m negotiating with the forest quite a bit trying to like weasel my way into a spot, not screw up this canvas that we all have set up and then, you know, even more is just negotiating the weather. If it's dumping snow and you've got to change lenses like kind of a battle, kind of got to like figure out, you know all your systems before and if there's been some failure, there's been a lot of snow and some lenses this year.

Lisa: Oh no.

Andrew: It's just embarrassing.

Lisa: Well, yeah, and then I feel like gear is meant to be used. So I'm pretty... like I'm very hard on cameras. Very hard on ski gear.

Andrew: Totally. I mean, as soon as I learned that the camera was not just a fancy toy. It's an actual tool. Especially when you get insured, makes a little difference, then you can start treating it like the tool it should be and put in weird situations when it's dumping wet snow and be like, the thing will work.

Lisa: Do you want to know something funny around Insurance?

Andrew: Yeah.

Lisa: you may or may not know but we got kicked off our business insurance after that Super Bowl commercial.

Andrew: [laughs] No way. I'm sorry.

Lisa: Totally worth it. But basically every year somebody kicks us off our insurance plan and then I go get a new one. So it's pretty hilarious and I've just decided that that's how we're going to roll.

Andrew: That's interesting.

Lisa: Yeah.

Andrew: Too extreme?

Lisa: We're just two extreme.

Andrew: Too extreme down at Wheelie.

Lisa: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Lisa: But… back to the podcast. When you were talking about how when you're setting up for a shot for skiing and you only get one shot. Do you ever feel like Eminem? Where you only get one shot?

Andrew: Just one shot? Yeah. Well, I yeah, no, it's... I try to avoid the one-hit wonders. I think they're too high risk sometimes. See I try to keep the skiing fun for people. I want, you know, I want to see someone ski eight turns versus just one in front of me. Yeah, so I try to eliminate the eliminate the Eminem one shot. But sometimes there's one shot and that's why you shoot at 12 frames a second and just spray that thing away and the play numbers games.

Lisa: Yeah, and then instead of one shot you got 300 shots.

Andrew: Yeah, just like fill up that buffer and see what you get. I know... I know it's just time consuming if you look through it all and you like, oh god, I pressed the button way too much today.

Lisa: Do you like post-production?

Andrew: I love it. I think that's... I think half of it for me is creating the image and going out and figuring out, you know, something cool out there and then the other half that I just absolutely love is coming home, dumping in the card and then looking at it for four hours. That… that to me... I mean, I remember learning like color correction through I think it was like a creative online workshop and that was just baffled. That that's how it all worked out. And this is like early on when I was youtubing every day trying to figure out how cameras work. Yeah, to see color correction done well is... I love it. I look at some of those like uber curated accounts all the time. Like God, you guys are so good at that color correction.

Lisa: It's true.

Andrew: Yeah, it's fascinating stuff. And I know sometimes I just struggle to keep a consistent look in a ski image. But yeah, the whole process is fun to be honest, like absolutely every moment is a damn good time.

Lisa: I agree. What's your... what's your advice to Brands to work with a photographer?

Andrew: Um, the big one is... I would honestly like... a visual board is quite nice. Like, when, you know, I'm going back up to the blanket in about a week and I'm working with True out of Portland now. Yeah, we've been talking about like what they're looking for and making sure everyone's on the same page of like this is... this is what we want. This is what we don't really want. And giving, you know, some solid direction of like this is all we're looking for. We don't need any big flare or we need a bunch of big flare. And then having that understanding of like, alright, if you want certain things done understand it's going to take a little bit of extra effort. Things are gonna have to slow down. Whereas I think some brands have been like just kind of... they forget there's a process behind it.

Lisa: Oh.

Andrew: So like oh, why is why do we have to do this three times? Why do you have to do this four times? Since just, you know, understanding that you've hired someone vased on their skill set. Let them do their skill set. Right?

Lisa: Yeah. That's a good one.

Andrew: Yeah, it's... you hired me as a photographer, let me do what you hired me to do.

Lisa: Do you find that some brands are really controlling?

Andrew: Sometimes yeah, sometimes it's just kind of like over your shoulder, kind of like looking at the back of your screen as much as they can. Which is fine like if, you know, if you want to control more of the image. It's just... sometimes it's actually a little bit easier take a photo but sure the client be like, what do you like what you don't like? I also try to avoid people looking at the back of the screen because what it looks like on my camera is not what it's going to look like in the final image. Yeah. So those are always a little bit tricky, but I also enjoy when Brands give you like freedom, like hey, we kind of like your style, just do your thing. Create a bunch of stuff.

Lisa: It's true.

Andrew: The vagueness is tough too at the same time, you like you turn in a project you’re like oh, I hope that was good.

Lisa: I think it can be challenging though, when... because there's a lot of trust involved when you hire a photographer and like, you know, the brands are trusting you or the agency or the athletes. And so I think there's that dependability that you're able to bring is so crucial. And then that dependability leads to just massive creative freedom.

Andrew: Exactly. Yeah, and the same time you go back to just working with photographer - athlete, you're taking... in ski photography you’re taking someone's powder day essentially to go work on your... I say art project. And yeah, you know, there's a certain level of trust there, that athlete is expecting certain images. And them to be good. Yeah, so that, you know, that can be a little bit stressful sometimes.

Lisa: it's good stress.

Andrew: It's good stress. I remember doing a project years ago where we were doing a like a portrait for I think was Bicycling magazine and they gave us the prompt and it was like a... in my opinion was kind of vague. They're just like, rural cooking outdoors. Boulder, Colorado. Go. We’re like, oh, interesting. And yeah, we all got together and it was just howling winds in Boulder. So we're trying to do this outside fire thing and we couldn't keep the fire alive and we all wanted to quit and I was... I called it at that point, I was like this is... this is just not going to work. At the same time we all came to the conclusion like well, if we don't do it tonight, when are we going to do it? We're all too busy for this. So we kind of faked this fire. We just put a bunch of smoke out of it and things kind of started lining up in our favor and then the sun went just absolutely beautiful on us, still super windy. And while we were shooting the farm owner drove his tractor behind us and just kicked up this beautiful like backlit dust cloud.

Lisa: Oh!

Andrew: And yeah, again, had we not committed to it that afternoon. We would not have had that image. Yeah so that, you know sticking to it, negotiate... you know, again negotiating with weather is never easy. But that's the fun part, I think, is creating something when things aren't going right. That's my favorite. To be honest.

Lisa: I think that's what takes creative work from good to great is when conditions aren't perfect. And when maybe you don't have the nicest camera in the whole wide world or like maybe the weather isn't doing what you want or whatever but you still are able to make something phenomenal.

Andrew: Yeah, totally, you know someone who's like hey, we need rainy shots in... yeah, we need like a rain mountain bike shot in the middle of summer in Montana. The last three Summers it hasn't rained here in August. We're just like full of smoke. And so if you go out there with a bunch of water bottles and a hose and like, make something happen. Yeah. You know, you guys do that all the time. It's a lot of fun working with you guys for that kind of stuff.

Lisa: Yeah, you just you just got to be down and be like, yeah, I can make that happen. I can figure that out.

Andrew: Totally. Yeah, you know that's the best part about photography is just the problem solving of something that doesn't seem possible.

Lisa: Cool. Well, thank you for being on the podcast.

Andrew: I love it. Thank you for letting me be here.

Lisa: Let's see. We'll put your website in the show notes and people should and need to follow you on Instagram. And that is @a.chad.

Andrew: a.chad. Yeah.

Lisa: A.Chad, easy enough. And then your website is...


Lisa: Easy words to spell.

Andrew: Easy words. Yeah, just a bunch of first names.

Lisa: Yeah, Check it out. Cool. Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: No. Thank you.

Lisa: Thank you so much for being on the podcast Andrew. Everybody could and should follow him on Instagram. He's a.chad.

Iris: Yeah, and his website is and those links will be in the show notes as well as his photo of Corey Seemann is on our episode web page which you can find in the show notes or on our Instagram @wheeliecreative.

Lisa: That's right. And like we said before Corey Seemann is going to be on the podcast next week talking about being an athlete who works with photographers and what that relationship is like and how it’s symbiotic. Corey’s a really funny guy. So that should be a good episode.

Iris: Yeah, so make sure you subscribe so you don't miss when that one comes out. We drop episodes every single Thursday morning. Don't forget to leave us a review. We’d really really love it if you just take that half a second out of your day to leave us a review on iTunes. We really appreciate it! Bye.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page