My name is Chris Bilodeau. I am a Portrait photographer from Massachusetts. I am also licensed to shoot aerial images commercially.
My journey in photography began when I was just a child. In the 1980s, my parents let me venture into the darkroom they created out of an old pantry in our basement. Needless to say, I was hooked.
I have two jobs. When I am not photographing people professionally I am treating their illnesses as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Needless to say, photography, medicine, and raising two young children leaves little free time. But, I consider myself blessed and wouldn’t change a thing.
What began eight years ago as a favor to help someone out has blossomed into another career. Photography is my passion and this ‘hobby’ has quickly grown into something more.
I am humbled by the attention I have received. One of my images was selected as the cover of a popular calendar in Massachusetts. Around this same time, I received word that one of my portraits would be featured in a popular worldwide photography magazine.
I want to create images that people look at years later and remember these little moments that meant so much. It is these little moments, when sewn together, that make up the fabric of our lives. They define us. If I can play a small role in capturing these little bits of time, I consider it an honor.
As far as gear, a lot has changed since I was first featured. I used to think one had to carry big ‘professional’ SLR bodies in order to create ‘professional’ images.
I shot with the Nikon D3, Nikon D4, and a ton of heavy lenses. When I switched to a lighter mirrorless system, I went with Sony. However, I felt something was missing.
The Nikon and Sony bodies were great but they felt too clinical, I got good images, but they were just that. Good. They lacked something, then my world changed, I decided to buy a Leica Q. It was an impulsive decision for a travel camera.
After I loaded my first set of RAW files I was blown away, people often speak of a ‘Leica Look’. It is not a myth.
The Leica images are the only images my wife can pick out of hundreds and say ‘That looks like it was shot with the Leica Q’ or ‘That looks like a Leica M photo.’ There is something surrealistic about how Leica glass renders the world. One might argue it is better, but to be fair it is simply different.
My main body for portrait work is a Leica SL. A big beautiful EVF squeezed into a body carved for a solid brick of metal. The SL is spectacular because one can mount Leica M lenses on this body and manual focusing is a breeze with the large bright viewfinder.
I typically shoot portraits with a Leica 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M lens. Sharp, contrasty, and wonderful bokeh in a light package. The Leica M240 is great for photojournalistic work and for those images that you want to take your time thinking about.
I keep a Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron-M lens mounted on the Leica M 240 most of the time. I have a Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M lens for the M240, but with a Leica Q, there is really not much need to use that lens often.
The Leica Q, oh how I love the Leica Q. It is smaller than the M240, it is faster and it has an f/1.7 Summilux lens that autofocuses. The EVF is bright and the files are insanely good.
Oh, and if you feel like shooting macro, it does that too. The shutter is near silent and it is a camera that can do pretty much everything. For environmental portraits, the Q is perfect.
For aerial work, I use the DJI Mavic Pro. The Hasselblad color science is simply astounding and for a small sensor, the dynamic range I can get from these aerial files is great.
For lighting (off-camera) I use the relatively new Interfit S1 Flash Head/battery combo. I used to use it with Nikon and Sony for its TTL capabilities, but today I use it as a manual light with a wireless trigger. The battery in this thing lasts for days.
This is my current gear as of 2020. Thanks for reading!