In his short time as a professional photographer, Chrisean Rose has already worked with major publications such as Essence, Vogue and Rolling Stone. He’s already done major cover shoots featuring popular entertainment and sports figures such as Jennifer Lopez, Michael B. Jordan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Simone Biles.
Before becoming a photographer, Rose worked as a financial analyst. He worked in that field for over 10 years before the pandemic hit. Rose started his photography journey about four years prior, but changes brought on by coronavirus motivated his transition to full-time photographer.
“I went to school for finance,” Rose said. “I always said that once I graduated with my finance degree and I started working in that field, that I would do something more artistic.”
Rose initially began his journey as an artist through painting before buying a camera. Photography was simply a hobby for him until he realized he was able to make a living from it.
Rose describes his style as stylized portraits. He adds a “little bit of a nostalgic feel” to the photos, which gives them a vintage aesthetic, while still feeling fresh.
“I like to use a lot of vibrant colors; you would see a lot of prints throughout my work, a lot of vivid colors, and just [an] expression of beauty all around,” Rose said. “I always try to bring out the best in all of the talents I shoot.”
Something that has helped Rose as a photographer is his background in modeling, fashion and dancing.
“I used to dance back in the day, and I also started off modeling and then transitioned from modeling into styling,” he said. “I’m still very heavily involved in the selection of the garments and the pieces and the set design of my photos.”
Rose is able to find inspiration in a lot of things, including everyday life. He’s found inspiration in clothing and furniture stores by finding an object that interests him and envisioning how he could incorporate it into his photos.
“I have an upcoming shoot and I saw a print on a piece of clothing on our recent Gucci ad. I took those color palettes and I’m actually gonna use that to inspire what my set design looks like,” Rose said. “I find inspiration in things every day. It can be just going into the store, it can be just going to the park. I always see something that gets my attention and that makes me want to incorporate that into my work.”
Although he hasn’t been a professional photographer for long, Rose feels as though he has grown a lot while turning his hobbies into a career.
“I definitely feel like [my photography is] a business now,” Rose said. “And I feel like it’s a full-time job. In a lot of ways, when I arrive on set and I’m approaching these projects, I’m thinking of it like a job and not just a hobby. It’s not just creative freedom or just my point of view. It’s also me taking into account the talent and their style, and what they want to portray in the images, and also the client and the magazine, what they want their brand to look like.”
Rose is grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively because it encourages him to be open-minded and learn new things that can add to his knowledge and experience.
“A lot of times as creatives, we get in our head and it’s hard for us to see other points of view because we have a way of envisioning how we want our work to look,” Rose said. “And I think for me, I’ve embraced it in a way where I haven’t branched off from my aesthetic, but I’m still open to other ideas and open to my work going into places that I never thought it would. I’m shooting a lot more things than I thought my style would actually be able to capture.”
For photographers who are just starting out, Rose recommends staying true to their style and to try to improve from project to project. Something that helped him was to make each photoshoot more grand than the next in order to attract more jobs .
“Once you have a certain aesthetic, it’s important to build on that, and to build your brand, and your aesthetic as a photographer, and always to invest in yourself,” Rose said. “Before I was making money doing this, I would invest a ton of my money that I was making from my finance job to better myself as a photographer, whether that’s getting new camera equipment, or whether that’s budgeting for photoshoots.”