Getting To Know You : Beck Diefenbach, Photojournalist


Beck Diefenbach (b. 1985) is a freelance photojournalist based in San Francisco, Calif.

Recently, Diefenbach covered the 2014 World Series Giants for the Chronicle. His front-page sports photos were part of the package which won the San Francisco Chronicle numerous awards including 1st place in the Sports Project category of the News Press Photographers Association's 2015 Best of Photography competition and 2nd place in the Story Editing category of the University of Missouri's Pictures of the Year International.

Personally, Diefenbach has won awards from Picture of the Year International, Illinois Press Photographers Association, and the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association.

In 2010, Diefenbach left his staff photographer position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, Ill. After two years of working for the small newspaper, he pursued a freelance career in his home town of San Francisco. During this transition, Diefenbach attended the 23rd annual Eddie Adams Photojournalism Workshop in New York.

Currently, Diefenbach works as a regular contributor to The San Francisco Chronicle, Thomson Reuters News Pictures and the Associated Press. His commercial clients include Apple Inc., Stanford University, and Merlin Entertainment.

When he is not taking pictures, Diefenbach likes to spend his time volunteering as an assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 14, restoring his old German car and exploring the Bay Area with his wife Sarah and rescue dog, Warner.

1. What led you to discovering your passion?

My father was an amateur photographer in college and beyond. He had done the classic bathroom conversion into a darkroom and even used a 70’s Minolta SRT 101 in the 90’s on our family vacations. One summer day when I was home from college I asked my father about that old camera. After a 30 minute lesson on film exposure, I was out on my own ruining film and making pictures.

Years later, when I told my father I wanted to be a professional photographer, he supported me despite being months away from graduating with a bachelors in Aviation Human Factors from the University of Illinois.

2. What is the craziest hurdle you've had to jump and what advice would you have given to past you?

The biggest hurdle I find is keeping focused, despite being a freelancer and working from home. It can be so easy to get distracted or procrastinate, especially if you don’t have a gig that day, the next, or maybe even one that week. You keep telling yourself, push it off, sleep in, or that can be done tomorrow.

My suggestion is to make a company. Not really. But set up a time and place where you meet with other freelancers, weekly or daily if possible. Set goals for each other, and check in on each other. Meet often, and in person. Be open about your fees and costs. You will learn so much about running a business if you share your successes and failures with each other.

3. When you aren't focusing on your main hustle, what are you up to?

I am very active in Boy Scout Troop 14 in San Francisco. I am an Assistant Scoutmaster and help lead the boys on backpacking and service outings once a month, including a two-week backpacking trip coming up in August in New Mexico. (My portfolio of Troop 14 can be found here)

4. What is your favorite place in your city (hometown, current residence, or both)?

Ocean Beach, which is two blocks from my home. I walk my dog on it everyday and the combination of my dog and the beach, pretty much sums up my Instagram.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully in five years, I will be doing more weddings and marketing shoots for youth organizations. Unfortunately, the editorial world is dwindling in a way in which less and less assignments actually involve documentary work. Most are portraits of event coverage (sports, protests, concerts, etc…)

BONUS : What's your favorite song right at this moment?

Can’t get enough of Mumford and Son’s latest song “Believe”

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram