Creator Chronicles: Photographer Chris Labadie

Chris Labadie's photography repertoire spans celebrity portraiture to corporate shoots, all imbued with his signature empathetic touch. He focuses on emotive storytelling and is a Getty Celebrity Photographer whose clients include: Sundance 2023, Vulture Magazine, GQ, and Compass. 

Creator Chronicles: Photographer Chris Labadie

Chris Labadie began his journey amidst the rigidity of a strict upbringing, a catalyst that propelled Chris to continually challenge himself and expand his horizons. Eager to break free from constraints, he actively seeks discomfort, viewing it as fertile ground for personal growth and evolution. This relentless pursuit of self-improvement mirrors his approach to his craft, where each frame is an opportunity to transcend boundaries and capture the essence of human emotion.

Chris channels his background in acting to capture emotive storytelling in his work.

Chris' path into photography was paved through his role as a casting assistant, where he keenly observed the disconnect between actors and their headshots. Drawing from his own experiences as an actor, he recognized the need for a photographer who could bridge the gap between subject and image. Thus, he embarked on a journey that saw him both behind and in front of the camera, cultivating a unique perspective that seamlessly integrated the needs of clients and subjects.

At the heart of Chris’ creative process lies a profound curiosity for his subjects. Approaching each shoot with a genuine desire to understand the individual before him, he cultivates a personal connection that transcends the confines of the studio. Prioritizing comfort and trust, Chris creates a safe space for his clients to express themselves authentically, capturing moments of raw vulnerability and unguarded emotion.

Approaching corporate projects with a blend of innovation and compassion, Chris embarked on a transformative assignment with LegalZoom, setting the stage for a two-day shoot in the illustrious locale of Beverly Hills. Tasked with translating the company's vision into visual narrative, Chris delved into a comprehensive PowerPoint outlining the objectives of the project. Drawing from his extensive portfolio, which includes collaborations with esteemed entities like Compass Real Estate, Chris was primed to exceed expectations.

Navigating a meticulously planned itinerary, Chris encountered unforeseen opportunities to infuse creativity into the shoot. Proposing alternative locations on the fly, two of which ultimately became pivotal settings, he showcased his ability to adapt and intuitively identify elements that accentuate talent. For Chris, success lies in remaining receptive and attuned to the nuances of each moment, ready to seize opportunities as they arise.

From individual portraits to dynamic group shots capturing employees in action, he meticulously curated each image to convey the essence of the brand. Collaborating closely with his art director and the shoot's director, Chris underscored the importance of cohesive teamwork, where communication and synergy are paramount.

A unique challenge Chris faced was coaxing authenticity from tax experts and attorneys unaccustomed to the spotlight. Recognizing their discomfort, Chris assumed the role of a reassuring presence, fostering a sense of ease and confidence during the brief windows of interaction. His efforts bore fruit when clients expressed their delight upon receiving the edited photos, some even reaching out personally to request additional images. The resulting photographs served as a cornerstone for LegalZoom's website rebranding initiative, breathing new life into the Beverly Hills division's digital presence (You can check out these amazing photos here).  

In the realm of celebrity photography, Chris adapts his approach, recognizing that his subjects are already accustomed to the limelight. He embarks on each shoot with a singular objective: to unveil a fresh facet of the individual that transcends familiar portrayals. When MetroWeekly sought a distinctive photoshoot featuring Mike Manning, Chris embraced the challenge of capturing unseen dimensions of the renowned figure.

Collaborating closely with Manning, Chris deftly translated his vision into striking visuals. Manning's desire to juxtapose formal attire with a pool setting sparked Chris's creativity, inspiring him to infuse the shoot with spontaneity and vibrancy. Recognizing Manning's affable nature and penchant for social interaction, Chris sought to encapsulate his infectious charisma through images that exuded warmth and approachability. Steering away from rigid poses, Chris orchestrated moments of movement and action, inviting viewers to engage with Manning on a more engaging level. By immersing Manning in unexpected scenarios, such as being playfully pushed into a pool, Chris elicited genuine reactions that resonated authenticity.

For Chris, photography transcends mere visual representation; it is an opportunity to craft immersive experiences that invite audiences to connect with the essence of the subject. By pushing boundaries and embracing spontaneity, Chris transforms static images into dynamic narratives, each frame a testament to his unwavering commitment to capturing the essence of his subjects in all their complexity. His work on this project (available here) is a testament to his emotive storytelling.

In the realm of behind-the-scenes photography, Chris aligns his visuals with the tone and aesthetics of the film in the making. He engages closely with the director to understand the color palette and thematic essence of the film, striving to make the behind-the-scenes shots indistinguishable from stills plucked straight from the film itself. This symbiotic relationship with the director allows Chris to immerse himself in the filmmaker's creative mindset, offering a unique perspective that both compliments and inspires the ongoing production.

Chris was brought on to capture BTS feature film Crossword, directed by Michael Vlamis, which follows the grief of a family after the death of their daughter. In order to mirror the aesthetics of the project, Chris delved into a world characterized by a palette of yellows, greens, and hues of blue. By skillfully harnessing the available lighting and set design, Chris expertly captured the essence of loss and grief, central themes of the film. 

Each BTS image serves as a poignant reflection of the characters' emotional journey, conveying the profound sense of isolation and introspection that accompanies the grieving process. “I wanted to focus on the loneliness and isolation that comes from grieving. I captured an intimate moment with an actress wrapped up in herself, going over her lines. The image shows her holding herself, as though she’s rocking herself to comfort; that photo showcases a deep emotional truth for this character.” Whether it's a solitary figure enveloped in self-reflection or a fleeting glimpse of vulnerability, Chris’ BTS shots encapsulate the very essence of the narrative, offering viewers a glimpse into the soul of the film.

A BTS still from Chris Labadie's work on Crossword

In Chris’ world, photography is more than just a visual medium—it's a means of exploring the intricacy of the human experience. Through his lens, he delves into the heart of the story, capturing intimate moments that resonate with authenticity and poignancy. Chris invites us to see beyond the surface, to delve deep into the soul of his subjects. From his perspective, empathy is the cornerstone of creativity, and every frame is an opportunity to illuminate the human spirit.