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Beyond the Uniform

Beyond the Uniform is a show to help military veterans navigate their civilian career. Each week, I meet with different veterans to learn more about their civilian career, how they got there, and what advice they'd give to other military personnel. www.beyondtheuniform.org
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Jan 4, 2017

“From the process of going through West Point and then being an officer and then deciding where you're going to next, one of the first things that is told to you is that you can go do whatever you want; you can write your own path. I think I took that to heart. If I can do whatever I want, this is what I want to do. It was a thing where I picked up a camera and started photographing a few things, and really, really enjoyed it. It was very intuitive and I liked that. It was the closest thing I had found to playing sports, where I was building muscle memory and then let that instinctive ability take over and get lost in the flow of what's going on. And I really wanted to keep doing that - if I got to choose what I would do, that's what I wanted to do. Then just dove neck deep in it and tried to figure it out."
– Chris Pestel

Chris Pestel is the Founder of Pestel Photography, and has worked as a freelance photographer for ESPN for nearly 9 years now. He started out at West Point after which he served as an Army Officer for five years. After his transition he started out as a photographer at Carolina Sports, before moving on to Playboy Enterprises as a Junior Designer & Photo Editor. He’s also served as the Director of Public Relations for his high school alma matter, Montini Catholic. Chris has run his company - Pestel Photography - for over 9 years, making him on the verge of the 4% of entrepreneurs who keep their company running for 10 years.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • How Chris got his start with photography
  • How Chris found his first job in photography with Carolina Sports
  • What Chris' day-to-day life looked like at his first job with Carolina Sports
  • How Chris trained and improved himself as a photographer
  • What day-to-day life was like at Playboy
  • How Chris founded his own company, Pestel Photography
  • How Chris got started with ESPN
  • And much, much more…

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Show Notes

  • 2:45 - Chris' background
  • 3:28 - Chris' decision to leave the Army
  • 4:35 - How Chris got his start with photography
  • 6:20 - How Chris decided to start a career in photography
  • 8:10 - How Chris found his first job in photography with Carolina Sports
  • 10:57 - What Chris' day-to-day life looked like at his first job with Carolina Sports
  • 13:30 - How Chris trained and improved himself as a photographer
  • 14:58 - Specific resources Chris would recommend to other aspiring photographers
  • 19:32 - How Chris transitioned from Carolina Sports to Playboy
  • 27:39 - What day-to-day life was like at Playboy
  • 30:00 - How Chris approached the opportunity at Playboy
  • 32:50 - How Chris' approaches mentors and role models as an artist
  • 37:12 - How Chris founded his own company, Pestel Photography
  • 40:31 - How Chris got started with ESPN
  • 43:24 - In what ways Chris' military service has helped him and in what ways he's had to break habits
  • 49:34 - If Chris could give advice to himself when he separated from the military, the one piece of advice he'd give to himself
  • 53:39 - Final words of wisdom
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