Who is Chris Burkard? Behind the lens of the travel photographer

Who is Chris Burkard? Behind the lens of the travel photographer
Miriam Jaffe
linkedin logoInstagram logoLink to website icon

Miriam is a writer whose content focuses on travel, and other adventures abroad like studying or working as an English language assistant. Her favorite places she's visited (so far) include London, UK, Angers, France, and the entire country of Norway. She loves traveling; when she's not dreaming of new locations to explore, you can find her singing, acting, or dancing (probably all three), fueling her Harry Potter addiction any way she can, or trying to come up with clever puns.

Read more about this author
Travel Videos

One of the best ways to preserve travel memories is through photography. Whether you're using your iPhone camera, or a professional Nikon, taking pictures is a great way to remember and share your trips.

Needless to say, travel photography is a huge part of travel and the travel industry. For some travelers, looking at visually appealing images inspire travel. For others, looking at people having fun while traveling signals them to start traveling again.

Regardless of the inspiration, travel photography has been an enormous factor in inspiring millions of people each year to explore the world.

Travel photography is a form of art, and one of the most well-known travel photographer's names is Chris Burkard. Having worked with corporations like Sony, Apple, and National Geographic, he's well known worldwide as the travel influencer/photographer that really well captures the beauty of nature around the world.

Let's dive into Chris' beginnings, inspiring journey, and beautiful artwork!

Who is Chris Burkard?

Chris Burkard is an American photographer who was born and raised in California. He got into photography by photographing water and its movements, which quickly translated into photographing the world, and commercial ventures. 

His photography of destinations in colder climates, like Iceland, Norway, and Russia, to name a few, has gotten him the acclaim of being called a top travel influencer. With a motto of "have camera, will travel," Chris Burkard is ready to photograph anything and everywhere. 

Chris Burkard travel photographer
Image Courtesy: Explore Inspired

Who does Chris Burkard work for? 

Chris Burkard has his own studio, but he's had many big-name clients as a freelance photographer. These clients have included National Geographic, Microsoft, Patagonia, Travelodge, and more.

Chris is also a strong advocate for conservation and the environment. He has partnered with several eco-friendly companies, enough so to make these jobs an essential part of his career. 

You can find his portfolio of adventure, landscape, and commercial photos at his personal website!

Chris Burkard studio logo
Image Courtesy: Chris Burkard Studio

Has Chris Burkard won any awards?

In addition to being named a top travel influencer, he has won several awards for his photography and cinematography. These include being listed as a top 10 social influencer by Forbes in 2017, winning the PMDA Visionary Photography Award in 2016, and the People's Choice award at the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown in 2018.

You can find a complete list of the awards he's won on his about page on his website! 

Chris Burkard list of awards
Image Courtesy: Chris Burkard

How did Chris Burkard start making money?

When Chris Burkard initially started doing photography, he focused primarily on surf photography. He started making money through his art by selling those photographs on the beach to the surfers.

He really started making a name for himself when he started venturing out to the colder, less touristy locations of Alaska, Canada, and Iceland. The reception was much more favorable to these editorial features.

However, to really earn money, Burkard turned to commercial features and received a grant to take the photos in The California Surf Project. He highlights his love for the outdoors and travels through his commercial work. His career now perfectly blends together commercial and editorial shoots, which have made his business successful.  

Burkard's website notes that his income comes through various sources, including commercial and editorial photography, prints and books, image licensing, appearances and speaking, and social influencer work. 

Chris Burkard photography
Image Courtesy: Chris Burkard on Twitter


Chris Burkard has a very active, travel inspiration-worthy Instagram page with over three million followers. On @chrisburkard feed, you'll find a blend of travel and personal/career-based photos. A worthy follow if you ask me, as long as you love to see amazing photos of the world as you browse through social media!

He also shares some of his photos and articles on his Twitter account if you'd prefer to keep up with him through tweets. 

Chris Burkard Instagram
@chrisburkard on Instagram

Camera and Gear

You might be curious to know what kind of camera Chris Burkard uses if you're looking to become a travel photographer. Luckily for us, he's shared all that information on his website! 

Chris Burkard's FAQ page mentions that he typically uses a Sony A7RIV for about 70% of his work and the Sony A7SIII for night/astro images. 

If you're on a budget but still looking for a high-quality camera, Burkard recommends the Sony A6500 with the 17-70mm lens. 

Chris Bukard photographing a volcano
Image Courtesy Suunto

Where does Chris Burkard photograph?

While Chris Burkard has photographed images from all across the world, he's drawn to cold, remote locations. He's particularly drawn to Iceland, but his photography is mainly of the outdoors and nature. 

travel sunset with
Chris Burkard on Twitter

Chris Burkard's Projects

In addition to his photography, Chris Burkard has also tried his hands at films, podcasts, and even books. Most of his films center around travel and experiences you might have while traveling. 

He has links to all of his films on his website, so that many people can enjoy them! 

Burkard has also produced and taken part in several podcasts if you're more of a listener than a watcher. To hear episodes where he's featured or listen to a series, head here. He's even written a children's book entitled "The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth" and other published books. 

Work with Chris!

If you're a budding travel photographer, Burkard does have a careers page on his website where you can find all kinds of positions within his studio. 

If you're looking to gain photography experience, Burkard sometimes hires interns. When hiring, these positions run for four-month periods (in summer, winter, and fall terms), requiring at least three days minimum a week. Internships are unpaid, but there are paid work opportunities through the studio, plus bonuses. 

Currently, they aren't hiring any interns. Still, you can email with your professional resume and the subject line of (YOUR NAME) - (SEASON YEAR) Internship if you're interested!

Cliffside adventure
Chris Burkard on Facebook

Become Like Chris Burkard

If travel photography is your chosen career path, Burkard has some wise words of advice on the subject. You can find much of his advice on his FAQ page

Still, the biggest takeaway is that you have to have a passion for the art. You have to be willing to keep trying to make a name for yourself and learn new aspects of photography, including the business side of the career. 

You can also find links on that same FAQ page for workshops Burkard occasionally hosts to up your photography skills. Sign up here for his newsletter to be kept in touch on all things Chris Burkard!

Chris Burkard behind a camera
Image Courtesy: Chris Burkard

Start traveling with Pilot

Pilot social trip planner

Whether you're an aspiring travel photographer or just like to document your travel adventures on camera, the first step is to go somewhere new. You can head to a neighboring city or across the globe, but you need a plan your trip no matter where you next destination.

Pilot is your brand new trip planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies! 

Pilot makes it fun and easy to share and relive your favorite travel memories with many useful features!

Did we mention that it's completely free? Try it out now!


Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

Make the most of every trip

Join 14,000+ travelers and Pilot your next adventure!
Get the app
Get the app
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.