We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Keuk and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chris, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Constructive Criticism (CC), humility, and the ability to grow and adapt. These are the key factors to my success. Whether it is professional or personal, it has helped me to become a better person than I was 2-3 years ago. The first two factors may sound negative but it depends on how you tackle the situation.

Let’s tackle constructive criticism (CC). I do have a good story and it has stuck with me ever since, especially coming from someone close. I use to not care about CC and blow them off up until a few years ago. That was until you started taking pictures. My friend and I finished a Color Run 1k race, and afterward, we grab lunch and went to White Rock Lake for a last-minute picnic. She wanted to celebrate her 1st race in Dallas and my 1st race overall by taking pictures. I took the pictures on her iPhone. She reviewed all the pictures. Oh boy, her facial expression changed and I already felt the heat before she spoke. I’m going to keep this rated PG. LOL. She said something along the line that I took really bad pictures and critique each one of them. Of course, I had to retake them. LOL. Ever since, I started critiquing work and taking CC from other photographers. They were instrumental in helping me improve my skills. They’re not meant to be negative or to put you down. CC is another tool to put in your toolbox.

I do IT work for a living. Started 10 years ago, and CC is a big part if you want to move up in the industry. Same with my work in photography.

I mention humility. Everyone has their version of success. For me, I’m just a humble, friendly person who puts the needs of others before myself. A quote I go by, “The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” I think of the wider audience when I’m shooting. I don’t think of myself or need to improve my image. I’m not going to say that I’m the best photographer out there. I struggle here and there or there could be someone out there that is vastly more experienced than I am. To me, that doesn’t matter, I just want to create memories and great quality captures. I’ll let my work speak for itself.

I’ll go out of my way to help my clients. I attended a charity event a while back. She was holding a photography cancer awareness workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to raise money for cancer awareness. For me, it was more than just taking pictures. For me, it was being there and being supportive. Where am I getting at? Don’t be there for yourself. Be there for others, be there for your clients. It shows them that you are more than just business. It shows them that you are a friend and that they can come back to you for future opportunities. This is what I see in success. Growing your brand by acts of kindness. The relationship that you build is everlasting. That’s how I gain clients. Has it worked for me, I would say yes.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think on the creative side, I try to stand out and take an opportunity that no one takes. You try to find different ways to make your work stand out. It’s a trial and error. If it works, it works and the end result is amazing. If it doesn’t, you try to improve on it or scrape it.

I don’t do this professionally. I work an 8-5 IT job, which I love but what propels me to pursue photography as a side gig are the people. In IT, you deal with the stress of keeping a business up and running 24/7. I think I’ve done a great job balancing the two. I still get people reaching out to me to schedule sessions and a few of my colleagues at work have reached out to me for sessions, which I’m kind of shocked. They have seen my work and they are impressed with the results.

The cultural environment at work also guides me as a photographer. You treat your clients as guests. As a person that is selling a service to a client, I try to accommodate most of their request. I want to provide that excellent experience. If there is something that I was not happy with or a client is not happy about, I go above and beyond and accommodate them, mainly with a reshoot. That has happened and I definitely comp them for their time.

With all this being said. To be successful in your professional life and career, you have to stumble here and there. No one starts off on top of the totem pole. Take constructive criticism and build on them. It’s there to help you improve, not only in your professional life but personal as well. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are wrong. No one likes a person who is always right. At one point, they struggle to get off the ground. They went through the same mistakes that you went through. They learn from it, build from it and make the changes to improve their image.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow, this is tough. Being a Dallas native, I don’t really have a favorite spot. If I had to pick, It would be the museums in Fort Worth.

My best friend is married so if we’re looking at family-friendly places, Fort Worth Zoo, and the Museums in Fort Worth are a must-visit. I don’t know why but I find them much more interesting than their Dallas counterpart. Don’t get me wrong. Dallas has amazing museums but in Fort Worth, everything is down one road. lol. So you can go from the Kimball Art Museum to the Modern Art Museum in a few mins. Then take a few minutes drive to the FTW Botanical Garden. Not feeling the gardens? The FTW Zoo is a few minutes south of the Garden. lol.

All this traveling is making me hungry. lol. I’m a foodie and coffee aficionado. Along the route, Ascension Coffee makes great coffee. Their food isn’t bad as well. I think Dallas has a great food scene than FTW but I don’t visit FTW often.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are a few people that I like to give a shoutout to.

The most important person who pushed me back into photography is Irina. She is the person that reignited my love for photography. She critiques a lot of my work and in a way, made me a better person.

I would like to mention a dear friend, Sahra. We met up at a Meetup group and ever since, we collaborated on a lot of projects. Some good, some bad but they were all good learning experiences.

Also, like to give Daniel a shoutout. He hosts a Meetup group that I attend. He provides a unique perspective with lighting techniques and location. What many people see as ordinary, he sees art. He makes photography fun.

Lastly, I would love to give a shoutout to all the clients that I have worked with. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Website: www.chriskeukphotography.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chriskeuk/

Other: https://kavyar.com/chriskeuk

Image Credits
Sahra Birkett, Jackie Ton, Bethannie Chousand, Cecile Zeineddine

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.