Employee Spotlight: Michael Dreas, Director of Photography & Technology
Name: Michael Dreas
Title: Director of Photography & Technology
Being the first employee, how did you hear about Snap36?
I was freelancing for my best friend’s brother-in-law, shooting for his small e-commerce retail site on the weekends. Patrick said his buddy needed a photographer to look at this “microwave turntable thing” he found in Germany. Well, that was Jeff and I was sold on the idea after some pizza.
What was your first project at Snap36?
Uh, that’s 10 years ago… One of the early ones from our first year was shooting spins of a new product line for SRAM. They are one of the world’s largest bicycle parts manufacturer, their NA headquarters was in Chicago, and a friend was a product manager. The project was fun since I love bicycles, and it was hot new set of racing parts for mountain bikes, XX something or other.
What has been your favorite project at Snap36?
There have been so many, but might favorites are when the client really gets what we’re doing and the staff is excited about learning our techniques. Since I love to travel, taking David to China and Britt to Brazil were a lot of fun.
When did you fall in love with photography?
Probably when I was 15 or 16. My dad bought me a camera a year or two before that and I was starting to work at the school newspaper. After that, I worked on the college paper, interned at a newspaper, and moved on to commercial work. This is the only business I’ve ever worked in.
What is your favorite activity or hobby to do in your free time?
Pretty standard, hanging out with my wife Robin my dog and Rosco, enjoy our yard and Chicago in the summer, and travel to new places.
Where is your favorite travel spot?
France, I’ve been to Paris and a few other spots, but there’s more to see… and drink.
What is your one piece of advice for young photographers?
Photography is a tough business. Success will be balancing your creative needs while making enough to enjoy life.
What is your favorite piece of equipment at Snap36?
The Wide Glass Table. The combination of the glass plate paired with back and under lights allows me more control when trying to light an object. Also, with the upgraded G6 Control Units and Controls, it is rippin’ fast which will be great for business.
What is the last TV show you watched?
I just killed season 3 of the Frontier on my flights to San Jose. Jason Mamoa plays a bear of a mountain man fighting the HBC for the fur trade in Canada, pretty violent and mildly historical. Funny, I watched the first season while on a trip to HBC in Toronto.
What has been your favorite Snap36 party?
Probably the fourth holiday party. It was at the Hinsdale Golf Club, we had just hired Britt and the company was starting to grow past the Jeff, Chris, Colleen and me.
What is your favorite tradition?
Cooking for family at our house for one of the holidays. For years we didn’t have a large enough place to have many people over, so it’s great to get a bunch of people together for a good meal.
What has been your favorite memory at Snap36?
Sitting in the main conference room this summer, I started to look out the windows at what was going on. Photographers and merch coordinators were eating lunch at the table and at the counter, Stacy was at the desk with someone, Robbie and John were working in the production office, Meghan was at the QC counter, people were heading upstairs with laptops to meetings and strobes were popping in the studio. The place was busy with all these people, so many people. Snap36 was growing and had become this “real” business. At that moment it struck me that I had helped build this from nothing and now we were in a fun 42,000 sf space buzzing with action.