Friday, February 11, 2011

Q&A with Sam Hassas

Sam is from my hometown which automatically makes him awesome. When I first started my photography business, he was one of my inspirations. 3 years later, he never ceases to amaze me with his creativity. His personality is evident in each and every one of his images. In a nutshell, that is what you call style. Please join me in welcoming him to the first Q&A of 2011! =) Thanks Sam!

Chris: Let's start with a little bio, tell me about yourself 

Sam Hassas
(SF Bay Area) San Jose California
Official website:

Chris: How did you become a photographer?

Sam: I have 7 pictures of myself as a child. Why? Parents never saw the need to take family photos. This pissed me off. Enough so to purchase an SLR camera, (Canon Rebel) in Spring of 2007 in honor of my first sons birth. After his 1st birthday and having been on the planet 365 days he had his picture taken over 10,000 times. Overkill, no. I love them all.

My venture into photography never started with film. I am a TOTAL digital baby. I couldn't load film into a camera if you asked me to. I also of a very additive personality. Luckily for the family, photography was a "good" drug to spend money on. After my initial purchases and further research, gear envy to over and I found myself wanting more, better, sharper, pro gear.
As my gear list grew, so did my skill level. I took the advice of a random photography blog that suggested shooting 100 images a day of everything and anything for 100 days. After the 100 day I compiled the best 100 shots and edited them. This exercise made me a better photographer and is advice I give to new photographers who email on a weekly basis.

Chris: Why should I book you as a photographer?

Sam: My motto is "I make you look good". A bit arrogant perhaps but goal I reach for every shoot. Some photographer pride themselves in capturing the subjects as-they-are. While thats perfectly fine and very respectable, I make no qualms about the fact that MY goal is to make my brides look like models and my groom like studs, seniors like celebrities and rockstars like well....rockstars.. It's sort of an alter ego sometimes. Every subject can channel a superhero-ness about themselves they didn't know existed.

Chris: How would you describe your style?

Sam: Whimsical. Creative. Editorial. These are the adjectives I hear most often from clients and contemporaries.

Chris: What's in your camera bag?

Canon 5Dmk II x2
Canon 5D original, (backup)

Canon 15mm F.28 Fisheye
Canon 16-35L F2.8
Canon 24L F1.4
Canon 35L F1.4
Canon 50L F1.2
Canon 50mm F1.4
Canon 85Lmk II F1.2
Canon 100 Macro F2.8
Canon 70-200L IS F2.8

I own 6-580Ex2 speed-lights. Nothing else.
Each one of these is equipped with a Canon CP-4

Off camera lighting gear:
Radio Popper JrX system
3 senders
4 receivers

Think Tank Airport Security rolling bag
Think Tang Belt system


~About $400 in reachable AA batteries, (Power EX and Enelope)
~Another $300 in cords and plugs for off camera light from Flash, (WONDERFUL place)
~Monfroto Stands, tripods, heads, monopods.
~Reflectors from Tri-grip

Chris: If you had to pick your favorite piece of equipment, what would it be and why?

Sam: No camera like the 5DmkII. It's daddy the 5D original was a game changer and so is this one. The Raw files are delicious, the screen is a thing of beauty. Coupled with a 24L or 85L and you have the makings of magic.

Chris: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

Sam: There are very few photographer prodigies in my opinion. I AM NOT ONE OF THEM.
I've gotten to where I am by blood sweat and tears. I study more then most, read more then most
and want it more then most. Putting in your time is a MUST. There is no magic wand to super-photographer

Shoot a lot! Buy good gear. Get through your "over-cooking-in-Photoshop" phase FAST. Once thats out of your system, focus on shooting good compositions and let the extra editing compliment an already good photo.

Check out a few of Sam's recent phenomenal photographs! 

Frosty glass - Reflects my motto well I think, "I make you look good"

News paper stand shot - Ordinary folks in an extra ordinary moment

Lincoln Memorial - The sunset made this image wonderful as it was. Waiting the extra 3 minutes for the plane took it over the top.

Mirror play - a photo that could be a painting one day. I love this shot so much.

The Bride and the Painter - The juxtaposition is why I love it so much. The same reason we feel old barns and rusty tractors make a good backdrop. The painter is the rusty tractor here.

Walking groomsmen, standing bride - Probably my favorite photo of 2010. The "still and move" slow shutter technique is one I use often.

Mickey and Minnie - Shot at a Disney World wedding last year. I do a different ring shot every wedding I shoot.

The Ladders - The single most talked about shot in my whole portfolio. Sorta molded me and where I went with things. This image has booked many weddings. :)

Cheers friends!


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