In this episode of “On the Rocks with Joe Warren,” Joe talks with Ben Chrisman. Ben is a long-time friend, tennis opponent and co-founding photographer of Chrisman Studios. Joe and Ben met in a coffee shop in downtown Charleston years back. Once they got to talking, they quickly became friends. Joe was telling him about his recent move to a new house with his kids and he just couldn’t figure out how to make it feel like home for them. Ben suggested they spend a day playing throughout the house just taking pictures and making memories-and that is exactly what they did. Ben and Joe have been friends ever since.
Ben says “photography is a unique talent” and it is important to put feeling and truth into every shot. After having gone to college, Ben realized it was beneficial and guided him to where he needed to go but for some people may be unnecessary. He says “the most successful photographers are hustlers.” So, if you are looking into being a photographer, getting a higher education might not be the right path for you if you are a hard worker. When starting out, one of the biggest struggles for photographers is finding their “look.” Luckily from the day Ben started, he knew exactly what he wanted his photos to look like and has never changed.
First, Ben was a documentary photographer. Now, he enjoys wedding photography the most with his wife Erin. Together, they realized during Covid-19 that instead of meeting about 500 clients a year, we wanted to meet about 50 and build really good relationships with them. They find the clients that truly understand and appreciate the work that they do because that is what is important to them. As for wedding photography, that is where their best work is done because they love being immersed in all of it. They love getting to know everyone there, and seeing how people’s personalities change from their wedding day to 6 months after. Ben and Erin understand the pressure and stress of a wedding day. They love these relationships they build so, further down the road, they can see the true personalities that were hidden on the wedding day. “We assume we are going to be friends with them for years” so they do not want to let them down in that moment.
As for the “On the Rocks” time in Ben’s life, his biggest obstacle was losing his parents. After being in a deep state of depression and having no family support to turn to for help, he pulled himself together. He decided he was going to take time to do what he wanted to do, with no regard for anyone else. This ended up helping him obtain surreal opportunities. He saw it somewhat as a sign from his parents that they were still there, helping him along the way. Ever since, it has made it strong but also soft and sensitive to those going through loss, seen as he understands it so well.
Listen to this episode to learn more about Ben Chrisman’s life as a world renowned photographer. He also gives some tips for starting photographers, in terms of cameras, filters, and how to get real reactions from people so their photos come out natural.