Who's in the Crew? - Spotlight on Chris Noakes
NAME: Chris Noakes
Crew Profile: https://headshotcrew.com/noakes.photo
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I’m Canadian, but don’t have a hometown per se. My father was Canadian Armed Forces so I grew up moving all around the country. I must have loved the lifestyle because I continued the tradition myself.
Most recently I am in Kingston, Ontario - a few hours east of Toronto and south of Ottawa. (Peter, if / when you come to Kingston for sailing let me know!)
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SHOOTING HEADSHOTS?
I don’t even know. Taking it seriously, probably eight-ish years? Maybe longer… I’m absolutely horrible at tracking time. Seriously, it’s a real problem, if someone asks me how old I am I usually have to do the math (good thing I stopped aging 20 years ago).
WHAT IS YOUR LIGHTING SETUP FOR HEADSHOTS?
I’ve tried a few different setups over the years but my go-to is a sort of parallel setup using two Profoto D2s with medium Softlighters. I saw Kevin Zehnder doing it way back in the early HSC days and I loved the look. I reached out, he walked me through what he does, and I’ve been using that setup since. It’s my safe, works well for everyone, setup.
But I’ve also used everything from a more butterfly light setup to traditional Rembrandt lighting.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR STUDIO. DO YOU OWN IT? RENT IT? OR LIVE IN IT?
My studio is my living room - sort of. Because I move a lot I’ve always just used a corner of my home as my studio. It’s a dedicated studio space, however.
My wife and I both have passions that require a lot of space. For me, it's photography, for my wife its sewing, quilting, and embroidery. If you think photography is expensive… try marrying a sewing enthusiast. I use the living room space, she uses the master bedroom, and we sort of squeeze our living space into whatever room is left.
Kids moved out recently (!!!freedom!!!) so that helped.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOOT?
I always say that people are my passion, photography is just the tool.
I love to empower people and photography is my way of doing that.
Aside from headshots, I shoot a lot of fine-art portraiture. I also enjoy shooting what is best described as creative headshots. Headshots with dramatic lighting, bold colors, crazy make-up, or wardrobe.
Not shooting exactly, but I love the retouching process. I’ve spent just as much time learning to retouch as I think I have photography. All my work is retouched by myself... it definitely slows the process down a bit, but I love having end-to-end quality control.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER PH AND THE HSC?
Well, it was PH2PRO when I discovered it, but I wasn’t really taking things seriously back then. I just checked and my first post listed on the HSC was 3 Nov 2013.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO JOIN THE CREW ONCE YOU FOUND IT?
Gah; all these questions about time… I have no idea but it wasn’t long.
WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE WOULD NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU?
I am an avid martial artist. Have been since I was a child. Everywhere I moved I tried something different, so no black belts, but I have belts in Karate, Aikido, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. Now though I’m mostly a spectator, and while I may have used to look the part, now I look more like a potato.
Oh, something else. I successfully survived raising two kids, on my own, into adulthood… and we’re all still sane! Well, subjectively.
Oh oh oh another one! I have been married for just over a year, which actually breaks my record from my first marriage... and this one still tolerates me!
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOU?
First; I feel my best when I’m helping other people reach their best. I love to empower and I love to teach.
The second; you know that voice most people have in their heads that tells them “I shouldn’t say this out loud”... I think mine is broken.
If I may add something. So straight up, I’m not as active a HSC member as I wish I could be. Unfortunately, my job often gets in the way of my being able to take part in events. But I wanted to say, regardless of how active I am, that being an associate member of the Headshot Crew remains one of my proudest moments.
Peter has created, what is in my personal opinion, the most welcoming photographic community that I’m aware of. Aside from the amount that you can learn here (which can’t be understated) I have seen virtually no drama or angst among the Crew in my long membership here. I have made many good friends. And everyone seems sincerely interested in helping others grow.
It’s wonderful to witness and to be a part of.
So thank you to Peter, and to everyone that keeps this group amazing.