My Story

Hi, I'm Chris and here's my story: It begins in the early 1990s. Right when I was ready to apply for studying advanced sound engineering, I found out about the relatively high potential to develop a serious hearing condition. So I chickened out. Instead of following my passion for music production, I pivoted towards computer science and kept music and audio engineering as a hobby.

A portrait painting of Chris Marquardt

While my ears luckily turned out okay, I spent almost 15 years in the computer industry. I learned about networking, about the internet (I set up one of the very first web servers in my area), about customer interaction and about marketing. My natural curiosity was the key to many of my developments.

In early 2005, my job fell by the wayside (WFT anyone?), so I decided to try the self-employment route. The same year I lost my job, I also ramped up one of those newfangled things: a podcast. My internet background, some passable audio engineering skills and the (soon to be more than a) hobby of photography sealed the deal. Photography Tips from the Top Floor quickly became the #1 photography podcast and grew a decent following.

Enough of a following that it became feasible to do workshops. The first ones in my Tübingen studio in Germany, followed by a US workshop tour in 2006. Wild times.

Several more podcasts, topics and co-hosts followed (and mostly stayed) over the years. To this day, I owe a lot to this brilliant amazing and liberating medium.

Top Floor Productions

My own little company went through some changes over time, but the production side has always stayed near and dear to my heart. I've produced Audio / Video and Podcasts for clients of all sizes. From 24 track live recording bands on stage and producing their albums to corporate podcast productions. From magazine photography to teaching tailor-made photo workshops for companies and individuals.

In 2009, together with my friend Jon, I kicked off my photo travel business that eventually allowed me to take amateur and professional photographers to the far ends of the world. From close to the North Pole on ships around Svalbard and Greenland to the cradle of humanity in Ethiopia. From Bhutan, the Kingdom of Happiness, to the heights of the Himalayas and all three Mt. Everest base camps. From the amazing beauty of Morocco to the red stairs of Times Square. It's been a whirlwind and I'm utterly grateful for having all these opportunities to connect with so many wonderful people. It's been such an amazing experience and I'm glad I could share so much with you through the podcasts and other outlets.

My role in life

Throughout my life, I have found that my calling is to be a foundational support and translator, particularly in the creative fields of music and photography. I am naturally drawn to bridging the gap between technical and non-technical functions, and to help others communicate more effectively in both directions.

In the past, I played bass in several bands, providing the foundation for the other members to thrive. In my photography work, I translate technical jargon into creative language to help artists understand how to make the most of technology to enhance their work.

Most people know me for my work in photography, particularly for my teaching on workshops and photo tours, as well as my photo podcasts where I share my knowledge and teach others to become better photographers. I enjoy being able to bridge the gap between the technical and creative aspects of the field, helping both technical and non-technical individuals understand one another.

I am dedicated to continuing to learn and grow in this role, and to help others to succeed in their own pursuits. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had in music and photography, and I am committed to making a positive impact on the world by using my gift of being a foundational support and translator.

I remain humble and open to feedback, understanding that there is always room for improvement. I believe that my strength lies in being a supportive figure, and I am excited to see where this path will take me in the future.

What's next?

At the moment I'm exploring The Future of Photography, not only in a podcast of the same name, but also in all the changes that are rapidly being introduced to the creative field by AI and other computational developments.

And while the Covid pandemic has thrown a wrench into the travel business for pretty much everyone, that honestly seems to have come at the perfect time. Our world's climate is in jeopardy and it never felt quite right to be one of the reasons for large groups of people getting on airplanes.

So apart from exploring what's next in photography, creativity and art, the next chapter of my photography teaching will take place in Europe. At places and cities that I can get to in a zippy electric vehicle. With a small group sitting in the passenger seats.

The first one that I announced is the Eastern European Photo Road Trip, taking a small group of photographers from Berlin to Dresden, Prague, Vienna and Budapest into Transylvania in September 2023. In a nimble Tesla Model 3. It's perfect for the tour, both in size as well as in range. I tested it last summer, it was amazing. Perfect to get around quickly. And the group size will allow an amazing amount of flexibility. So much less friction than with larger groups. I can't wait to go. You can join here.

Apart from the photo tours:

  • If you're looking for remote video and audio production support, hit me up
  • If you're looking to learn about photography, about creativity or if you want to have your team learn exciting and new things, hit me up
  • If you're wondering how to get your own podcast up and going, hit me up
  • And of course If you'd like to learn from me in a personal one-on-one video session, hit me up

I'm looking forward to meeting you!