A lot of times, the people that work behind the scenes making the scene rarely get recognized for their work. SociaLifeChicago will spotlight the amazing people that make you and your event look great.

Chicago based photographer Jeff Schear is synonymous with great events and event better pictures not only here in Chicago, but nationally and internationally.  I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff on a rare day off (he had most of that week off, his first in quite some time). Public Hotel library was the perfect setting to sit down and get to know Jeff Schear the man behind the lens.

How did you get started in photography?

I started when I was in high school in Cincinnati,OH. I took a photography class and the teacher took notice of my talent and I found something that I wanted to do.

What educational path did you take to your current career?
I originally enrolled at the Brooks Institute of Photographer in California but my mentor-who is a cinematographer in LA, who I still keep in touch with, steered me towards photography.
I applied to Ohio University school of visual communications and received a Bachelor’s in Visual Communications with emphasis on commercial photography.

What brought you to Chicago?
After college I knew I couldn’t reach the level I wanted to reach in a small city. I came to Chicago in 2008 a small fish in big ocean. I didn’t have any contacts or knew anyone here. I moved into a studio apartment and the journey began My first assignment was a shoot for a jewelry store on Wabash. After a grueling day the owner told me my photos were crap.

Yea he said I think your work sucks but I would be willing to give you a reference on how hard you work. The funny thing is that jewelry store is no longer in business

What excites you about what you do
Meeting incredibly famous people in a personal environment. My goal when I shoot these celebrities and clients is to be so professional that they let their guard down.
I am the photographer for Dwyane Wade’s Wades World Foundation. One day I was sitting in a room with his close family and friends eating and talking and I thought to myself, how did I get here? I’ve been incredibly lucky and I am very grateful for it.

What advice can you give to photographers starting out that might be looking to follow your career course?
I am hustling everyday. I would tell them to be relentless and to always be on your grind. If you are not staying up for days at a time to hone your skills and sharpen your brand you are not working hard enough.
They say 99% of  photography graduates fail. Photographer is more than art it is a business. I have a commercial sense of what my clients want and do what I can to deliver.
Also don’t know that because another photographer is different does not make them better or worse.
We all find our niche a

Jeff Schear the brand?
My brand is Luxury. I’ve worked with brands such as: Hermes, Gucci, la Perla, Agent Provocateur, Estee Lauder. I come dressed professionally for the client. I was at New York Fashion week in the fall shooting for Gucci. Most people will think I’m schmoozing with models buts it’s a lot of pressure.
I see myself as a businessman that’s passionate about what I do.I try to go above and beyond my responsibilities for my clients. I am dedicated to not wanting to be average and to be the best. I didn’t come here to be average, I came here to be the best. I am represented by Getty Images.

Challenges that you face?
It is a very challenging job and the pressure is immeasurable. If you miss a single shot, it could be the end of your relationship with that client. Being under extreme amount of pressure and coming through is what drives me. I stay up to make sure when I turn in pictures to my client each one reflects me and my hard work. It’s really hard to have a social life or a relationship at this point. What I do is not a full time job it is a lifestyle.

“I’ve moved up from the 3rd floor studio to the 40th floor”

Are you dating?
I’m single right now. It’s really tough to have a relationship when you are continuously working. I want to eventually have a family and kids someday but right now I’ve had to pick my career over certain things.

If you weren’t in photography what other career could you see yourself in?
I would be doing something creative. I am a 6th generation entrepreneur and I would want to work for myself, I’d probably do something in marketingMarketing. I would want to do something that fulfils me. I just don’t want to wake up at age 40 and think what have I done with my life-laughs

All images copyright Jeff Schear 2010-2011. All rights reserved

Bolaji Sosan
Bolaji Sosan

pronounced: Boh-la-jee, like the Bellagio but w/o the O. SLC Founder and Editor, loves to write about topics at the intersection of career and lifestyle for today's young professional and future leaders.

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