Grad on Cover of June 2015’s “Outdoor Photographer” Magazine

By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Film & Production

July 23, 2015

“My work began as an escape, something to do while alone.  To this day that’s still a key element in my images.  Defining and building an aesthetic is something I value highly as well.”

Chris Miele is an adventure photographer and workshop instructor who recently was featured on the June 2015 cover of “Outdoor Photographer” magazine. He lived on the West Coast for seven years and says that exploring its natural beauty has been rewarding both personally and professionally.

 “Experiencing the backcountry of the Sierras and Cascades was mind blowing, the coastal air of Big Sur is intoxicating, and the playa of Burning Man is conscious expanding,” he states.  Chris is now living and shooting in Detroit. “This has been the most challenging place I’ve ever created photos in, and I’m loving it every day,” he says.

What Makes a Photo Great?
Chris says that the foundation of a successful photograph is solid technical execution. “Classical techniques that can be taught.  Strong composition is the root of a good photograph in my opinion.”

When shooting a photograph, Chris says that the subject is the most important part—but without correct composition, the subject will fade off and the image will miss its mark.  “Other things that take a photo from good to great involve recognizing various qualities of light and being able to harness them.  Now take all these factors and use them to tell a story, that’s when a photo becomes great.”

There is no perfect formula for capturing great images, he says, but it is beneficial to understand how photography gear works. “Learning the dials and numbers is how you open the gates to being creative with camera.  After that it falls on (for me) exploration and inspiration.”

He mentions that his work began as something he did alone—as an escape. “The most skilled artists out there know their niche.  They nurture, craft, and hone their style.  It’s how they are separated from the masses.  A good friend of mine recently used the phrase ‘master of their brand’ and that really resonated with me.  When you see someone who is a master of their brand, its extremely inspiring.”

Chris’s Path to Photography
Chris began taking photos and editing video as a teenager. This led him to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Production in 2007. “I was fortunate in that I knew I wanted to be creative for a living and took the steps to do so.  During the final 18-24 months of my [education], I dug in and took my courses and work seriously,” he says.

Chris utilized the tools available at the school to create work that allowed him to show potential employers his skills. “I focused heavily on my graduation demo reel; it’s honesty what helped me land my first gig when I moved to Los Angeles in 2008.  All the initiative I took during that time really set me up to work in the industry.”

In 2014, he spent two weeks last year in Iceland, which he describes as a huge milestone for his photography.

Chris adds that his work as a video editor gave him the means and time to pursue photography. , “My time at the Art Institute in Pittsburgh played a crucial role and put everything into motion.  The creative world is saturated with talented and skilled folks, it really falls on you to give yourself that initial edge and make sure you’re up to the challenge.”

Breaking Into the Creative Marketplace
Chris says that being a creative is difficult—and never a surefire career. “I learned the importance of dedication and sacrifice over the last decade.  You have to be passionate day in and day out about what you’re creating, even when you (sometimes) aren’t.”

He also recommends making adjustments to bring creativity into life. “Creating work that’s true and is an honest reflection of you is the biggest accomplishment.”

Chris’s professional accolades include:

  • Exhibited work alongside Ansel Adams at the G2 Gallery in Venice, CA
  • Celebrity collectors
  • Licensed work to TV programs
  • Published in magazines

Learn more about Chris on his website,

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By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Film & Production

July 23, 2015

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