Jeff Schear is a professional chameleon whose career took off before his tripod even hit the pavement. A young buck celebrity photographer, he often lives life in Wade’s World. He knows what Kid Rock looks like on the softer side, when thinking about his own kid. And he’s not afraid to bluntly direct the men and women that millions of people put on a pedestal.
“Through my exposure photographing celebrities, I’ve learned how to interact with them, how to be professional, how to read their mannerisms and get a good picture in a very small amount of time,” he said. “Once you understand that celebrity photography is a breed of photography, it’s just like portrait photography on steroids. You can't be a fan; you have to really look at them as normal people, which they are. I’m usually very direct. The thing about celebrities is they’ve done it so many times, they just kind of want to get it over with. So the faster you work, the better it tends to be.“
After graduating from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication in 2008, Schear moved to Chicago to pursue advertising. Overwhelmed but optimistic, he essentially had nothing but a bookbag. But he made sure that bookbag was sitting on the floor of a studio in a highrise overlooking the skyline - as if to say, “How am I gonna conquer you?” He figured it out pretty quickly after assisting on a shoot for Michigan Avenue magazine. One job led to another, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now a near-veteran, he’s often found shooting Dwayne Wade’s charity foundation, which serves varying causes surrounding urban youth. He recalls one time after a weekend-long shoot, when he was sitting with Dwayne in Mama Wade’s church office (she’s a pastor), eating lunch. Schear asked him to sign a ball for a charity auction in Cincinnati - but when he passed Dwayne the special marker, he dropped it on his brand new [not inexpensive] kicks. “So I’m sitting there, and I just ruined the shoes of one of the greatest basketball players who ever lived...and all I’m thinking is, “This is pretty cool. How did I get here?’”
Proving you can’t get near the Heat without catching on fire, Schear’s career is definitely ablaze. He’s photographed everyone from Al Pacino to Helen Hunt to Edward Norton to Robert Redford. His tendency, he says, is to capture them in a more candid way than usual. Instead of posing them, to which they’re so accustomed, Schear goes the other route and allows them to do whatever feels natural and captures the essence of their humanity.
But even amid the seductive chaos of Hollywood, Schear would give preference to one other photographic subject: “I really like landscape photography. Anything having to do with plants or sunrises and sunsets, anything involving saturated colors,” he said. “ It’s pretty simple, but kind of gets to root of what all photography is made of - which is good lighting, and something that evokes emotion.“
Check out more of Jeff's work at: www.jeffschear.com/
Cameras/Lenses/Film used by Schear:
Canon ES5D Mark 2
Canon L lenses
Pro Foto Film
Filed under: Celebrity Photography