At TEGNA, we are proud of our diverse and inclusive culture, where all employees are encouraged to be their authentic selves. For Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re honoring the culture and contributions of Team TEGNA’s Hispanic and Latino Americans. Today, we’re celebrating Cris Luna, Director of Photography for KHOU-TV in Houston.
Talk about your career path, how you got to where you are today at TEGNA.
As a kid a fell in love with movies and television shows and at a very young age, I knew this was a career path I wanted to pursue. One day in high school I found out that we had a media technology class where we were able to edit tape to tape and operate a video camera. I did not think twice and enrolled in the two-year program right away.
After high school, I enrolled in The Art Institute of Houston where I continually learned and refined my skills as a videographer. I quickly learned the ropes and after six months, I was offered a job as a news photographer with a local TV station in Houston. This was a huge challenge for me being so young, but I was able to succeed and after two years I was offered a Producing/Editing job in the marketing department.
I truly enjoyed my time as a Marketing Producer but my constant search for knowledge led me to enroll in the masters of cinematography program at the Los Angeles Film School. While in LA I was able to submerge myself in the production world and was fortunate to have worked on numerous feature-length films, high-end TV commercials, and documentaries.
Los Angeles was amazing but after eight years I decided it was time to return home. Once in Houston, I reached out to Dale Lockett who gave me an opportunity to come on board and do some freelance work for KHOU where I am now a full-time employee.
Now: What is your current role at TEGNA?
I am currently the Director of Photography for the KHOU Marketing Department. As the Director of Photography, I oversee the and technical aspects of production such as crews, camera, lighting, and sound. This position also allows me to be creative and think outside the box and I am extremely happy to contribute to the overall success of the TEGNA brand.
My Halo Moment: What was the most rewarding project you’ve worked on at TEGNA?
There are so many great projects that I’ve worked on since joining TEGNA and it’s so hard to select just one. One that stands out to me and that’s a TV commercial campaign for Christian Brothers Automotive because this was the first time that our client was purchasing ad time. Being it was their first time they were extremely nervous about the process and results of the commercial. I knew it would be a tough challenge, but we were up for the task and worked creatively to put them at ease. We delivered some beautiful spots that viewers could relate to, and the client was extremely happy with the results. The ads were such a success that Christian Brother’s decided to buy ads in other cities throughout the country.
Good Company: What does being in good company mean to you?
Being a good company means serving our community and making a difference by helping those without a voice and less fortunate than us.
Note to Self: What advice would you give yourself looking back on earlier days in your career?
Important advice I would give myself looking back would be to have more patience. Having more patience will allow you to pull back and see the overall picture instead of just pixels inside an image.
What advice would you give to someone looking to work in media/sales/marketing?
One piece of advice I would give to those looking to work in this field is to embrace your uniqueness and think outside the box. Embrace your individuality and who you are as a person. We all come from different backgrounds, and we all have a unique story to tell. Also, think outside the box, this industry is very creative and gives you the space for far-out ideas, don’t be afraid to think differently.
Why is Hispanic Heritage Month important to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month is important to me because it’s a time to recognize and celebrate our language, our food, our diverse culture, and the many positive contributions that American Latinos have made in helping this country grow.