How Chris Burkard Approaches Photography


Chris Burkard is famous for always getting “The shot”. Whether he is shooting professional surfers in an off-the-map town in Alaska or nailing an outback Toyota ad, he never fails to capture the scene before him in an extraordinary way, bringing elements to a photo that the naked eye often doesn’t even see.

When he returned this week from a Mizu Mission armed with his usual array of photographic splendor it led us to wondering… Just how does he go about his work, and are there any tips we can take away so that we might be able to get even a little bit of ‘Burkardness’ in our own photography? So we figured, what better way to find out than to ask the man himself?!



MIZU: When you are out in nature are you constantly seeing potential photos or do you work with the intention of an image and then find it?

CHRIS: When I go out in nature I don’t go out with a specific shot in mind but first get a feel of the location without even picking up a camera. I walk around 360 degrees from low perspectives, high perspectives, and everything in between. I think it’s important not to just walk into a scene looking around and start shooting but really take the time to see what’s around me and never leave an experience without having enjoyed it yourself.



MIZU: You’ve been to Alaska, Antarctica and everywhere in between it seems! What is your favorite kind of backdrop for your photos?

I really like to make the landscape the dominant subject of my shots.  Anything with a surfer, hiker, etc. in the foreground but showing an incredible landscape in the background is my favorite type of shot. Something that really gives the viewer an experience of these incredible places.


MIZU: What equipment do you never leave home without?

CHRIS: I never leave home without my camera which can also be my iPhone, climbing shoes, and a foam roller. Anytime i’m out shooting I also like to take time to enjoy the places I’m in and do some activity for myself such as rock climbing and yoga.


MIZU: You have a huge social media following. Do you think this is an essential part of being successful in today’s world of photography?

 CHRIS: I think it was an essential part for my work but it really depends on what type of photographer you want to be. If you want to get your work out there quickly to a mass amount of people it really expedites things.


MIZU: Talk us through the perfect Burkard day…
CHRIS: The perfect Burkard day involves waking up for a 6am yoga class followed by a bodysurf session at my home in Pismo Beach with an Acai Bowl afterwards, hangout with family, pop into work to plan some adventures, drink some Kombucha and head on back.