Chris Burkard

Who is Chris Burkard?

Chris Burkard is an American photographer and influencer who is active on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and other social platforms. He was born on 12th March 1986 in San Luis Obispo, California, United States. He is known for posting his photographs and videos on his social media.   

Eary life of Chris Burkard   

Chris grew up in San Luis Obispo, just a few miles away from the most beautiful beaches in California. Since he was born, Chris was raised only by his single mother since his father wasn’t in the picture. When he was 12, his mom got married for the second time and began living with Chris’ stepfather and his family of five. Since the house got a lot noisier then, Chris used to run away to the beach, enjoying some alone time. He liked that it was a quiet and beautiful place, usually full of skilled or novice surfers. At the time, he would have never thought to earn money by standing on the beach, admiring his surroundings. 

Education of Chris Burkard   

Chris attended Arroyo Grande High School close to his home and overall did very good. While he got lost in his thoughts sometimes, he never forgot to turn in any assignments or homework. Since he had no issues with his studies either, Chris graduated in 2014 and started looking for some good local universities. At the age of 18, Chris began attending classes at Cuesta Junior College. He had no vision for his future and didn’t want to attend some challenging university for nothing. While studying, Chris had a lot of free time, which he usually spent pursuing his hobbies.   

One of the main interests of him was photography, as he wanted to learn how to capture the beauty in front of him. Chris didn’t want to spend a lot of money on education until he was sure, so he began researching on his own at first. He bought his first cheaper camera at a Goodwill auction and figured out its settings. After a few weeks of researching and trying, Chris had to admit that the camera didn’t work. Luckily, his girlfriend’s mom had one camera which she didn’t use ad decided to land it to him. Chris immediately started taking photos, figuring out the best lighting and settings for each shot. The only education on photography Chris attended was a course by Pete Tarras, a surfing photo editor.   

The early career of Chris Burkard   

In his early days, Chris tried making some money on his own to be able to buy more camera equipment. The best opportunity presented itself as he was visiting the beach every other day. The California beaches were full of young surfers participating in various water sports and activities, such as surfing and body boarding. Once he got the right equipment, Chris took his camera with him and began taking photos of promising young athletes. When he was satisfied with a photograph, he tried selling it on the spot to the surfer himself. While it might seem like a weird way to make money, Chris enjoyed capturing the moments and thought about becoming a surf photographer.   

Once he was confident with his skill, Chris began taking gigs as a wedding and portrait photographer, thoroughly examining every part of his work. Since he was making good money and learning new stuff every day, Chris worked as a freelance photographer for a while. But while his clients were all satisfied with the outcome, Chris realised that he missed taking photos of the beautiful landscapes he loved. Because of that, Chris went back to shooting surfers for a magazine, hoping that he could go back to shooting nature.   

Chris Burkard on travelling   

Since his work was considered one of the best in the magazine, it didn’t take long for Chris to run into a new opportunity. He got approached by a few companies and other magazines, offering him partnerships involving travelling. Once he accepted, Chris got to travel to vacation destinations to shoot promo pictures while getting paid for it. While it might seem like the dream work, Chris wasn’t satisfied with it for long. He realised that he ended up like every other photographer who would never see and capture anything unusual. His dream was to see open spaces, and he was about to end up taking photos of various tourist destinations.   

Chris decided to make his dream come true on his own. He took his camera and surfing equipment and travelled to Alaska. This trip wasn’t paid for by anyone else but Chris, but he believed that it would be worth it. In the snowy landscapes of Alaska, Canada and Iceland, Chris took very unusual surfing photos like no one expected to see. The pictures turned out beautiful, and Chris expected to make a living out of it as well some popularity. Once his check came, he realised that it might have made him popular, but it wasn’t going to pay for anything.   

The California Surf Project  

Once he realised that he wasn’t going to make money just selling his unusual pictures, Chris got into thinking. His travels through the snowy landscapes made him realise that it was his dream, but he didn’t know how to make it profitable. He focused on editorial work for a while and, at the same time, sent work proposals to commercial companies. After some minor gigs like shooting advertisements, Chris came around with an offer he couldn’t say no to. He got a $5,000 grant to create a book about surfing in California. The book’s name was The California Surf Project, and it was meant to contain surf photos from all the coasts of California.   

Once he published the finished book, Chris couldn’t believe his own eyes. People went crazy about his surf photos, praising his work on every corner. Chris realised that with the right assignment, he could create unbelievable things. The California Surf Project turned out to be one of the best and most famous surfing books of all time. Since then, he began taking only the offerings he saw himself enjoying. Chris managed to make a career as a freelance photographer, a photo editor, a landscape photographer and a surf photographer.  

Chris Burkard on Instagram  

Two years after publishing his first successful photo book, Chris decided to take a look at social media. He was aware of the growing trend of travel influencers and wanted to find out whether his work would be appreciated as well. He created his Instagram account in 2012 and began his social media journey by posting his beloved surf pictures in Alaska. Chris was shocked to see how many people absolutely loved his photos and decided to become a social media photographer as well. Once he got settled, his Instagram page started filling up with travel photos. Some pictures were taken on a business trip, some were part of brand deals, and some were just Chris’ personal gems.   

During the next few years, Chris managed to travel a lot, and he never forgot to bring his camera and online fans along. Some of his destinations were located in an unwelcoming nature with harsh conditions, but that made it even more special for him. The more colourful and unexpected his final pictures were, the more loyal fans Chris attracted on social media. Chris enjoys taking photos of nature in general, but some places are definitely his favourite. He loved taking photos in the northern countries because he found the best way to take photos of icy and snowy landscapes. His other favourite things to take a photo of are volcanos, as most people don’t get the chance to visit them. They are also as unpredictable as the weather, which is something Chris loves.   

How much does Chris Burkard earn? Net worth  

As of 2023, his net worth is estimated to be over 1,2 million US dollars. Despite starting as an unsolicited surf and freelance photographer, Chris made himself a name as one of the best landscape photographers in the United States. Besides being sponsored by many brands and doing some sponsored shootings, he has become a brand himself. As of today, Chris serves as a mentor to many young artists around the States, to whom he makes internships and workshops to keep his art alive.   

Interesting facts about Chris Burkard  

  • As of 2023, he is 37 years old.   
  • His zodiac sign is Pisces.   
  • His height is 5’10’’ or 178 cm.   
  • He was raised by a single mother who got married again when Chris was 12.   
  • He graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 2014.   
  • For his higher education, he attended classes at Cuesta Junior College.   
  • He attended a course by Pete Tarras, a surfing photo editor.  
  • He started making money by taking photos of surfers at the beach and selling them the photos.   
  • He then worked as a freelance wedding and portrait photographer.   
  • His first big success came in 2010 when he got a $5,000 grant to create a book about surfing in California. The book, The California Surf Project, became one of the best photo books about surfing in the world.   
  • He joined Instagram in 2012 when his career was at its peak. He attracted fans with beautiful pictures of landscapes.   
  • He has over 3,9 million followers on his Instagram account.   
  • He has won several awards, such as The World Open of Photography 2nd Place Open Winner 2012, Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown April 2013 and the PMDA Visionary Photographer Award in 2016.
  • As of today, Chris serves as a mentor to many young artists around the States, to whom he makes internships and workshops.  
  • As of 2023, his net worth is estimated to be over 1,2 million US dollars.  
  • He got married to his wife, Breanne, in 2007. They have two children called Jeremiah and Forrest.