Yesterday was my last day at Calumet Photographic in Oakbrook. Although I’m happy to leave, I’m also sad to leave the team of people I worked with. I worked there for 2.5 years, and learned an insane amount of knowledge in my tenure. My photography would not be where it is today, without that experience, and without the open sharing of knowledge by the Oakbrook team.
My studio skills were improved by Roy Fleith and Steve DePaul, my Photoshop skills were cultivated by Jon Shaver and Michael Barton (not an employee, but a trainer who is in the store frequently), my speedlight knowledge was advanced by Barrett McGiveny, my minescule knowledge of video was increased by Ross Zuchowski, and the rest of the staff helped every day with tips, tricks, advice and so much more.
One thing I liked about working there was teaching customers how to improve their photography. One thing I hated about working there, was teaching customers how to improve their photography. Often, I’d have to teach idiots how to improve their photography, so they could take business they had no business getting. (“I’m doing a wedding tomorrow and I’ve never done one before. Can you teach me how?” or “I bought this camera yesterday and I have a gig to do 50 headshots today. I’ve never done that, can you teach me how?”) About 80% of my work day, was spent teaching, over the counter, which I both enjoyed and hated. I’ve taught countless people basic focusing skills, basic studio techniques, the fundamentals of aperature/iso/shutter speed/white balance. You have no idea how many people own cameras that cost thousands of dollars, and have no idea how to use them. Just because someone is holding an expensive camera, doesn’t mean they’re a professional. P-MODE DOES NOT STAND FOR PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE! Ok, I guess I ranted enough there.
So anyway, a benefit of working there was being surrounded by photography every day. All aspects of it too. Meeting photographers from all areas of the industry was really cool. Talking to nature, wildlife, wedding, portrait, event, photojournalism, and every other aspect, was pretty neat to do. I’ve met National Geographic photographers, Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, Master photographers, and so much more.
Oh! I also wanted to give a shout out to the manufacturer reps who helped train us, and who have supported me and encouraged me over the last couple of years. Alan Gelman (Uncle Al), Mike Romeo, Dennis Nervig, and Steve Ostrander. All of which were in the store frequently, and have always complemented my work, and encouraged me to advance my photography. Thanks guys!
If you’re looking to make a photography purchase, no matter what type of equipment it is, buy it from the guys at Calumet Oakbrook. You won’t find a better team of photography PROFESSIONALS anywhere. The entire sales team are professional photographers. Each has their specialty, but if you have a question about photography, someone in the store can answer it.