This week we're featuring commercial and winter sports photographer, Jack Dawe! Jack has some incredible images featuring major brands and top athletes. We wanted to get an inside look at Jack's photographic journey so far. So let's get into it!
1. Tell us about how you got started. What drew you to specialize in commercial outdoor and winter sports photography?
I got my start taking photos of my friends snowboarding here in Utah. I've been a snowboarder and involved in the snowboarding community for most of my life so the evolution from riding to documenting happened pretty naturally. The catalyst for me was honestly finding out that being a commercial sports photographer was an actual career option. I met Bob Plumb, a snowboard photographer based out of Salt Lake City around 8 years ago. I didn't pick up a camera until a few years after meeting Bob but he was an inspiration in showing me that being a photographer was not only an awesome job but was also possible.
2. Among the various projects you've worked on, what's been your favorite project to date?
Last spring I got the opportunity to spend the month of April in Valdez, Alaska shooting for Monster Energy. Spencer Whiting was working on a couple of film projects for Monster and invited me along to shoot stills. We shot primarily doors off out of a helicopter which was a first for me and a fun but intense way to capture snowboarding, especially with the Alaskan terrain.
3. Outdoor and winter sports often involve challenging conditions, such as extreme weather and varied terrains. Can you share a memorable or challenging experience from one of your shoots?
I'm often shooting in pretty variable weather conditions. One memorable experience was shooting with the Quiksilver snowboard team at Mount Baker, Washington a few years back. It was probably my second real commercial shoot and Bryan Fox, a team rider who was also producing the shoot, graciously invited me along even though I was pretty inexperienced. The weather at Mount Baker is notoriously terrible and we ended up shooting for 5 days in a constant snow/rain mix. I was almost certain my camera gear was going to fail due to the moisture but luckily it held up. My confidence in Canon weather sealing has been very strong ever since.
4. You have a pretty extensive list of clients you've worked with. In your experience, what's the best way to get your name out and start working with dream clients?
I think putting your work out there for the world to see is the best way to get your name on the map. Clients want to see proof that you can execute a vision and displaying that ability through Instagram, your website, and editorial pieces is crucial. In my experience, one of the best ways to get hired is from past client referrals so when I get a work opportunity I try to "control the controllables" i.e., show up on time, deliver early, be nice, work hard, etc. Creativity can be quite subjective so I try to nail the objective parts.
5. How do you typically prepare for a shoot? What's normally in your gear bag?
Before a shoot, I typically make a mood board of the general look I'm trying to achieve. Making sure the mood board, as well as any of the client's creative direction, is on my phone and easily accessible is key. What's in my bag varies pretty heavily depending on the shoot. I use a Canon R5 for a digital body and also have a few 35mm bodies - Canon EOS 3, Canon Rebel 2000, Canon AE-1, Olympus Stylus. For the R5 I use a 7artisans 10mm 2.8 RF, a Canon 15-35 2.8 RF, a Canon 28-70 f/2 RF, a Canon 70-200 2.8 RF, a Canon 100-500 4.5-7.1 RF, a Canon 430EX 2 on-camera flash, as well as a Profoto B10. For the EOS 3 and Rebel, I use a Canon 16-35 2.8 EF, a Canon 24-70 f/4 EF, and a Canon 100-400 4.5-5.6 EF. AE-1 has a 50 on it. I also have a DJI Air 3 if needed and a Ricoh GR3 for a pocket cam.
Get to Know Jack: