Q&ATravel VidaComment

Jake Chams Q&A

Q&ATravel VidaComment
Jake Chams Q&A

Jake Chamseddine is a professional photographer from Portland, Oregon. He’s been on tour with Lorde, Galantis, and Panic! at the Disco. We wanted to learn more about Jake so we did a little Q&A!


Q: What made you take an interest in photography and how long have you been doing it?

A: My interest in photo and video began at a really young age. My friends and I would steal my mom’s camcorder and record ourselves skateboarding and snowboarding. I would try to pull stills from the video or put together an edit with the footage we had. It was real low budget stuff!


Q: What caused you to switch from shooting landscape to concerts?

A: I really didn’t get into shooting a lot of concerts and events till my college years at Oregon State University. To be completely honest though, there never really was a direct transition from landscape to concerts. I always loved shooting anything that was in front of me, whether that was a wild landscape or sneaking my point-and-shoot into a concert. I loved taking photos of everything and still do to this day. Naturally, my career has grown in a certain direction as all do. Luckily, mine grew in the direction it did!


Q:  Out of all the places your camera has taken you, which has been your favorite and why?

A: This is always a hard question to answer. Obviously some places are more impressive than others, but for me, it is extremely circumstantial. As far as wanting to see insane nature, epic landscape places like Banff National Park and Iceland stand out. If you want to experience raw culture and great food, places such as Tokyo or The Amazon River peak my interest. Traveling is by far my favorite thing to do and I am so incredibly grateful that my job allows me to do that so often.


Q: Who or what inspires you?

A: Inspiration for me comes in a bunch of different ways. Recently, I have been trying to pull inspiration from my own day to day life by trying to capture moments that are real and authentic. An example of that is images that showcase the mood of that exact moment in time. Additionally, I think the biggest form of inspiration for myself and many other creatives out there is new life experiences. I think that getting outside of your comfort zone and experiencing something new really pushes you against your limits and forces you to feel inspired.

I also get inspired by seeing other people’s work. I am always sorting through different accounts or blogs trying to find things that stand out to me.

Lastly, I just wanted to take a second to say that I think there is this sense that everyone feels the need to always be inspired. On social media and throughout other forms of social pressure, people are always trying to be “inspired.” It’s really important for people to realize that it’s okay to not feel inspired. Don’t ever force inspiration because it will always impact the final result of your work. Let it happen naturally. It’s just as normal to feel uninspired as it is to feel inspired.


Q: What is your lens of choice and why?

A: I love to always switch up my lenses when shooting. It helps me stay inspired and see new angles. It also really helps me grow as a photographer and videographer. It’s important for people to use different focal lengths in order to present the story that they are trying to tell. That being said, my go-to lenses are always the 24-70mm f/2.8L and 70-200mm f/2.8L. I am always on the go so these lenses help me travel light.


Q: What has been your wildest experience while traveling over the years?

A: There is no way I could narrow this answer into one specific experience. Traveling has helped me grow in every aspect of life. From getting lost in Tokyo till the sun comes up, drinking with random strangers in Germany, bears walking up to our car in Canada, or watching the northern lights dance above Iceland, I can safely say that traveling has put me in some of the most amazing and most uncomfortable situations in my life, and that is what makes it so special.


Q: What is your favorite photo you’ve ever took and why?

A: This question is pretty much impossible to choose, but here are two images that I absolutely love. Both are moments in time that are rare to capture.

The first one is of Lorde. I was lucky enough to document her Melodrama World Tour. During this part in the set she usually would stand on top of the box, but for some reason she laid down over it this time. Luckily, I was in the photo pit just as it happened. I later came to find out she was out of breath, moments from passing out, and had to lay down in order to take a moment to rest. It was a very unique moment with incredible colors. I am very happy with how I was able to capture it. 

This second moment is from the first leg of the Panic! at the Disco Pray For The Wicked Tour. Shooting the same show night after night makes it hard to find new and interesting angles. This specific night, I decided to shoot from under the stage looking up at Brendon while the pyro went off. I had never gone below the stage during this part of the set before. Randomly, B made eye contact with my camera and posed for a second while the flames went off. Again, this was crazy timing and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.


Q: Last but not least, if you could give advice to anyone who is looking to pursue photography, what would you tell them?

A: I have been asked this question time and time again. I want to start by saying this is just my advice and I’m still learning every single day. There is no direct way into this industry, but I hope that this helps.

1. Start by having a love for photography, and I mean a real love for photography. Don’t do it for the wrong reasons.

2. Build a portfolio on a free app or website. Instagram is the #1 way to do this. This can take awhile, sometimes years.

3. Build and/or find a community of photographers. Learn from each other and shoot with each other. Some of my biggest inspirations have become some of my closest friends in this industry and that’s extremely important.

4. Be humble, kind, work hard, and the rest will come naturally. This shouldn’t ever become a competition.


Big thanks to Jake for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions. Make sure you check him out on social media and give him a follow. His work is crazy.

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