Barrington-based photographer launches national modeling, acting careers
George Papadakis has run his photography studio out of South Barrngton for 25 years. | Photo courtesy George Papadakis
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:30AM
SOUTH BARRINGTON — Aspiring models and actors don’t have to go to Los Angeles or New York to find a professional commercial photography studio to help launch their career.
South Barrington’s Papadakis Photography features a versatile studio with staff that shoots photos for catalogs, executive advertisements and tourism promotions. George Papadakis, who has operated the studio for 25 years, also does private family portraits.
Papadakis explained that photography started as a childhood hobby when he was growing up in upstate New York. After moving to Barrington with his wife Debra Pappas, Papadakis turned his hobby into a small business. It didn’t take long before he was approached by Parenting magazine and The Field Museum.
“We photographed a lot of exhibits,” said Papadakis about his work with The Field Museum.
Papadakis explained that his photos helped the museum capture the interaction between the exhibit and its viewers. He added that his work shooting advertisements for toys requires the same vision.
“What we’re trying to get is some interaction and enthusiasm with the product,” he said.
For those commercial shoots, Papadakis said he uses large format cameras and high-powered lights to brighten the large spaces.
Over time, Papadakis said he also began shooting portraits for families in the area.
“There are some families we’ve been photographing for 25 years,” he said.
Debra Pappas, who also works as a talent scout for Bravo Talent Management, said she and her husband have been photographing aspiring actors and models since they started their business.
“Subsequently, we end up starting a lot of actors,” she said, highlighting that they have helped launch acting careers for people all over the country, including cast members of Chicago Fire and Mob Doctors, both of which are filmed in Chicago.
“They’re wonderful,” said Kristin Kuehling, whose daughter Courtney Bukowski was photographed by Papadakis and subsequently landed a modeling job. “He’s so good with the kids. He just makes them come alive.”
Looking back on his career in commercial photography, Papadakis noted that the medical industry has increased its investment in its image. He explained that medical groups previously focused their advertising on credentials, but now many are finding a good shot of the team in the office can help brand their operation.
“They’re trying to brand themselves in the marketplace,” he explained.
Papadakis Photography has a list of clients that includes Barrington Orthopedics and Hayward Orthodontics as well as Panasonic, John Deere and Sony, among other well-known companies.
Pappas and Papadakis, who raised two daughters in South Barrington, both agreed that the most rewarding part about the job is watching someone they started with grow in their acting or modeling careers.
“It’s fun to watch that development,” said Papadakis.
Pappas and Papadakis said Barrington also has proved a good fit for their work. They also travel nearly a dozen times a year to photo shoots in New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Nashville.
“Instead of having a studio in the city, we moved out here,” Papadakis said, “but we’re not restricted to shooting here.”