Richard Bernabe Captures: Cormorant Fisherman

Richard Bernabe Interviewed: On Capturing The Experience

A creative and gifted visionary, Richard Bernabe has been among the very few photographers who not just capture beautiful pictures but are able to tell a story and share an experience with it! 

An artist at his core Richard Bernabe is the live example of a “master of all.” He makes the transition from Photography, to great writing, to exceptional orating and much more so effortless and smooth that it just feels like one whole great experience.

A profession developed and nurtured from his hunger to soak in as many experiences and capturing their nostalgic memories, finds it’s crux in just a simple term- as he puts it, “happiness!”

It’s easy to capture the world but difficult to empathetically strive to reduce the harm caused to it. Richard Bernabe has not just spoken but acted upon very strongly about his love for the planet and the flora and fauna on it!

Richard Bernabe, a name loved, respected and idolized by many is a person who loves his solace, and as he states further in the interview, “remote areas still intimidate me.” has carved a niche for himself in this ever-growing sector.

If you would like to know more about him, you can always visit his website here. In this interview, we had a chance to connect with Richard Bernabe via email and to ask him a few questions.
Richard Bernabe Captures: Horses


1. Being a multifaceted person, you are widely known for photography, traveling, educating, orating and writing. What among these brings you the utmost joy?

Well first, I want to thank you for the opportunity for me to answer questions for your readers as well as the very kind compliment. 

Photography and travel give me the greatest amount of pure joy, although the other things you mentioned all help make a fulfilling, creative life where no two days are ever the same. Creating images with my camera, preferably alone, in some far-flung corners of the planet, is wildly intoxicating. Freya Stark’s observation about the sensation of waking up alone in a strange city comes as close to capturing that feeling as anything else. Teaching is incredibly satisfying and rewarding – much more than I ever thought it could be – so I carve out some time in my schedule for classes and workshops. Talking in front of live audiences around the world is equal parts crippling fear and exhilaration. I like the walking-the-tightrope vibe it gives me. Writing, on the other hand – well, to paraphrase Hemingway here – is like sitting at the laptop and bleeding, except I’m pretty confident he said “typewriter” instead.


Richard Bernabe Captures :Rays Of Joy


2. Your work with National Geographic exhibits your love for the environment. What has brought you to feel so strongly about these issues?

Tolstoy had a powerful line about “the first condition of human happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.” And there it is – at least for me. Nature and wild places make me happy and they are the creative inspiration behind my work – my muses if you will.

Wildlife conservation and the protection of endangered species is another passion of mine and I devote much of my time, energy, and finances toward helping preserve these animals for future generations. The statistics are grim, particularly those that show how precipitous the decline in wildlife populations has been over the past 50 years. It’s just heartbreaking. I could go on about the ignorance and greed of animal poaching and the arrogant, egotistical, vain, selfish, megalomaniacal, and psychotic “trophy” hunters, but I think I’ll stop right here.


Richard Bernabe Captures: Spectral Omens


3. Tell us about your journey from being a photographer to a global influencer and a highly sought- after teacher and orator? Did you always envision it, or did things happen for you?

I didn’t envision any of this, to be honest. For the past 15 to 20 years, I’ve simply focused on doing what I love and what I’m passionate about while letting all of what others might regard as “success” take care of itself. I believe, perhaps in some small way, that not focusing on the rewards of success was key for me. It allowed me to stay focused on doing happy things. Success can be measured in several different ways but isn’t doing what you truly love an important measure of success already? Maybe the most important? It’s certainly enough for me.

Being labeled as an influencer is a function of how many social media followers you have – another yardstick of “success” that doesn’t really concern me very much. I’m flattered, of course, that people do follow me and they enjoy my work but most of this influencer business is just a distraction.


4. From among the 10 books you have written, which for you has been one of the most challenging and which one did you love to work on?

My first book was released in 2006 and it was a coffee table book that featured photographs from my adopted home state of South Carolina titled South Carolina Wonder and Light. It’s now out of print, but there are some ancient copies floating somewhere around my office. You never quite forget your first, right? The first one is special. 

My most recent, Wildlife Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results involved producing 45,000 words of text, almost all of it completed during the summer of 2017 while traveling through Africa – writing whenever I had any downtime on planes, buses, cars – in tents, hotels. It was exhausting. The book was released last year, and my publisher tells me it’s been a commercial success, so thanks to all of you who bought a copy.


Richard Bernabe Captures: Desert Solitaire


5. You being one of the most popular orators, influencers, and photography authors which is your favorite platform or medium to communicate with the masses on?

I like Twitter, even if it does represent both the best and worst the Internet has to offer. If you’re there to argue politics with other humans, it most certainly is a dystopian hellscape that will make your life a dark, dark place. Don’t do that, ok? But even if you’re not a content creator, it’s the best and easiest way to consume news and information that touches on your life’s interests. Just remember to stay narrowly focused on the things that make you happy. If you want to wade into the planet’s biggest virtual town square and discuss world events, do so gently and don’t take anything too personal.


Richard Bernabe Captures: Catching Snowflakes


6. With the immensely diverse yet focused globetrotting experience, which has been your favorite photography destination for wildlife, adventure, and cultural photography?

For wildlife, Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains. Serengeti National Park is Africa’s premier location for viewing and photographing the continent’s charismatic megafauna. Runner up for favorite? Antarctica. Or Yellowstone.

Adventure? Alaska. Despite at least a dozen trips I’ve made to different areas of the state, the more remote areas still intimidate me. The wilderness is so big and unforgiving. My runner up would be the Southern Andes of Patagonia.

For cultural photography, I’d go with India. Morocco is a close second.


7. With experience and expertise like yours, what is the top piece of advice you’d give an adventure photographer?

This would be useful for any photographer or artist, I believe. I used to teach a class on Photography and Creativity in a formal college classroom setting. On Day One, I would go around the classroom, from student to student, and ask them a question: aside from photography – which is merely a mode of communication and expression, if not creative expression – what was their first thought each morning and what was the last thought they had before falling asleep each night? I wanted to know their passions. I wanted to know what made each of them tick. 

I never explained why I asked the question until the very final class when I reminded them of their answers. I remembered them all. By then, they should have understood that their answers would provide a personal roadmap as to where they should focus their photographic efforts. If it was nature, then that’s where they should direct their creative energy. Children? The same. Cars, flowers, travel, pets, hiking? Go for it. Let those interests be your muses. In those passions, you have something important, special, and unique to share with the world, so use the skills you’ve learned with the camera to express them. You can’t inspire others with your photography if you – the actual owner of the experiences you’re trying to express – feel ambivalence. It’s nearly an impossible task. In order to inspire others, you, yourself, need to be inspired. Make that your job – to be inspired as much and as often as possible. Be receptive to inspiration so you have something unique and interesting about yourself to share with other people. In that vein, your photography will say much more about you, the photographer, than your subjects, which is the way it should be.


8. To sum it all up. What is photography for you? (What does it remind you of?)

I’ll use this opportunity to expand on my last answer. My job is to go out and be inspired: That’s it. The important thing here is the experience of being inspired. The experience, to me, is everything. I want to have as many apex experiences as possible where I am literally moved to tears by the overpowering beauty or the devastating sadness I see and feel. And it’s what I feel – not what I see – that’s important. That’s a strange thing, perhaps, for a photographer to say. The emotional content of a scene is the vital core around which I’ll build my image. Without it, it’s just a pretty picture. I want my viewers, who might be thousands of miles removed from the physical scene and experience, to feel what I am feeling, not necessarily what I am seeing. That is photography for me.


We are glad to have got the opportunity to interview such a superfluous creative, Richard Bernabe!

man with fire. Capture by Gary Arndt

Gary Arndt Interviewed: On Capturing Everything Everywhere

A businessman turned to a self-taught photographer, Gary Arndt has been an inspiration to many. Travel Blogging & Photography are two popular & common sectors. Gary Arndt has beautifully amalgamated the 2 to create his own space which people love to follow! 


Gary Arndt is the 1st Travel blogger to win  “The Travel Photographer of the Year Award – SATW Central States Chapter”, among many other awards. He has carved a niche for himself among the crowd of travel bloggers & photographers.


If you would like to know more about him, you can always visit his website here. In this interview, we had a chance to connect with Gary Arndt via email and to ask him a few questions.

thunder. Capture by Gary Arndt

1. As the internet states, you have started with photography and travel blogging when you were a little over 35 years old. What was your inspiration or driving force behind it?

I wanted to travel the world and I thought it was a good idea to take pictures during my trip. Soon after I started I realized that my images were horrible, so I set about trying to improve my photography. It was an incremental process that led to where I am today. 


2. You have switched jobs, businesses and sectors starting with website solutions, to travel blogging now. What was your process to gain knowledge about all the sectors to stay informed?

I always try to stay abreast of what is happening in any industry I work in. I spend at least an hour a day keeping up on what is happening with SEO, social media, and online marketing. The secret is just having an RSS reader filling with feeds from great websites.

Waterfall. Capture by Gary Arndt


3. With changing times and changing generations, what do you do to stay relevant to every generation?

I don’t worry about it or even think about it. I do what I do and try to address themes that are universal. 


4. Having changed multiple gears and cameras through the years which has been your favorite camera and a must-have gear you can’t leave the house without?

Currently, my primary camera is a Sony a7rii. I’m sure the newer models are probably better, but the current camera works for me and I’ll probably keep it for a while.

The one camera I always have with me is my iPhone. I think this is true of everyone now. There are certainly some limitations with what you can do with a smartphone, but the results for regular, everyday photography is quite good.

Men In Dark. Capture by Gary Arndt


5. What led you to the name “everything everywhere” is there a story behind it?

 Not really much of a story. When I started planning for my trip, I knew I’d want to have a website. I thought about it for several weeks and eventually, the name just hit me when I was driving. I knew that was it. It embodies what I want the site to be about.


6. Being a travel photographer what type of traveler are you? Cultural, nature, wildlife landscape, infrastructural or architectural or any other?

All of the above. I think travel photography covers an enormous range of subject matters. I’ve taken photos and won awards in almost all the subjects you mentioned. I wouldn’t want to limit myself to just one sort of subject.

Camels. Capture by Gary Arndt


7. Any specific moment or incidence which you can share with us which reinstated your faith in the decision of being a full-time travel photographer and blogger.

Being named Travel Photographer of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers was a big honor. It was something I never really thought would happen.

water. Capture by Gary Arndt


8. Is there anyone who has influenced you to initiate, or continue your journey? (Family member, or other photographers, traveler or anyone else)

There are many great photographers I’ve met along the way and whose work I really admire: Michelle Valberg, Ami Vitale, Bob Holmes, and Colby Brown just to name a few.


9. How are you planning to move forward in this journey? Do you have a set vision or milestones in your journey forward?

I’ve done quite a bit already. I’d like to keep traveling, exploring more places, and taking amazing photos.


Easton Chang Interview: World Renowned Self-Taught Automotive Photographer

Automobile photography is seen almost everywhere these days. But have you ever wondered the science behind this genre of photography?

Let me introduce you to Easton Chang, a world-renowned automotive photographer. His work is regularly seen on magazine covers, advertisements and his clients are Cadillac, Jaguar, Mazda, General Motors, Ford Lexus, Audi, and Porsche just to name a few…

In this short interview, Easton will share some of his views and perceptions about automobile photography with us.

Untitled design (13)

You are in a photography genre which is rare. How did you get started with automotive photography? What inspired you to choose this uncommon genre of photography?

My love of photography started with my love of cars. Automotive was always
my first passion in high school, before venturing out into photography after.
When I bought my first real car (a 2001 Honda Integra Type R) all I wanted to
do was to take great photos of it. It started out with my family’s own cheap
film camera, and then I bought my own digital camera. I had to learn
Photoshop just in order to make the photos pop!

I see that you are a self-taught photographer. Can you tell us a little about your journey and how you learned photography on your own?

I studied engineering at university whilst developing my hobby as a
photographer. Looking at and observing my favorite work in advertising at
the time, and trying my best to emulate and develop my own look as well.
Once you get the basics down pat, the more specialized knowledge in
shooting cars is all from experience. There is a lot of trial and error.

Even 15 years down the line, I am still learning all the time.

Photographing objects in action is far more challenging than photographing still ones. What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing cars?

The sheer size is what makes everything about shooting them difficult.
Lighting, tracking, following, positioning, placement. It’s like product
photograph except it’s significantly larger than anything most people would fit
in their home studio. So off-the-shelf lighting equipment such as softboxes,
scrims, and reflectors generally aren’t developed in mind of shooting
something as large as a car. Cars also invoke emotion, they’re a lot more to
some than just an inanimate object. So you have to learn to shoot and frame
the car so that it tells a bit of a story. Lighting and exposure are not enough.
People are fussy about the environment a car is embedded in.

As I was going through your website I came across through this photograph… It is mesmerizing. Could you take us behind the scene and tell us the techniques you used to capture this particular shot?

best car photography

This shot of the 918 Spyder was shot for Porsche in 2015 in the Australian
outback. Right after doing a 350km/hr run in (at the time) an unrestricted
section of Stuart Highway. I went up in a helicopter to capture the 918 tearing
up the scorched earth of the Aussie Outback.

I would tend to believe that you would have some favorite equipment(s) for automotive photography? Could you share which equipment would add the most value for an automotive photographer?

I love my Canon 24-70 F2.8 II lens, although any 24-70 zoom works as well.
It forces me to shoot in the range that I like seeing cars in most. Which is
between the 24 – 50mm range. It’s too easy to shoot wider than that, but the
24 zoom forces me to keep some distance and maintain composure of the
car. Shooting at 17mm is sometimes the lazy way out. Manufacturers hate
seeing their cars shot so wide because it hides the proportions the designers
painstakingly finished.

How did you go from shooting just in your local community to shooting cars for major brands?

I went from shooting privately owned cars as a hobby for shooting editorially in Sydney and Melbourne for my favorite magazines. Eventually, the ad
agencies approached me for projects and that’s how I made the move.

Can you share some important tips that a beginner should try while starting out in automotive photography?

The market is quite saturated now compared to before, it’s not enough to
create images that “match” the standards nowhere. But to exceed the
standards and to create new unique looks and styles that lead towards the
next cycle.

best car photography

What are the challenges you and your team usually face when you’re out in the field and how do you overcome those challenges?

The biggest challenges usually come from the production and logistical side
of cars on the field rather than the photography. Camera and lighting
equipment are generally extremely reliable, but getting the car and crew in
place at the right time and location can be teeming with unexpected
problems. Rain, traffic, accidents, anything can happen and often does.

Is there anything else that you love to do besides photography?

Besides shooting cars I love shooting personal artistic photography with
models and other creatives.

You also have a tutorial on Car Photography & Retouching. Do you love
to teach as well?

I enjoyed making the tutorial on car photography and photo retouching, although I
don’t normally teach as I’m focused on developing my work. Maybe later
down the track, I can look at teaching a little more.

Can you tell us what future plans do you have? Or what are your
upcoming projects?

Right now I’m having to pool some resources towards more video work as it’s
becoming an ever increasingly request from clients. The transition is not as
significant as I anticipated and a lot of what I know from photography has
been applicable to the motion. I’m focusing on having motion work look as
polished as my photography.

best car photography

What advice do you have for somebody who’s picking up a camera for the first time?

Don’t be obsessed with the gear in your kit, cameras, and lighting are far more
developed and cheaper than they have ever been and high-end work is more
achievable on a shoe-string budget than ever before. It’s important to know
the difference between a Photography Enthusiast and a Gear Enthusiast.
Don’t get too caught up in groups and YouTube videos and focus more on
shooting your ideas.

Find out more about Easton Chang photography here!


Alister Benn Interview : A Photographer With Intimate Knowledge Of Diverse Landscapes

Protected by International Copyright

Alister Benn, a professional landscape photographer from Scotland, grew up with a profound interest and respect for the natural world.

His work has been awarded in some of the most prestigious photography competitions like Le Prix de la Photographie Paris, etc.

He also writes regular articles in Landscape Photography Magazine and onlandscape Magazine. He has a solid reputation as both a technician photographer and a deep thinker.

In 2000, Alister met his wife Juanli Sun and together they have been running their own workshops and started the Available Light Images website.

In this interview, we speak to Alister to seek out more insights into his work and his passion towards photography.

Alister spoke to us via email…

professional landscape photographer

You seem to have a very interesting childhood. Can you take us to the time you grew up and tell us more about it?

I was born in the city of Glasgow in the mid 60’s but was always a country kid at heart. My father was in the Navy and we were fortunate enough to travel with him, or get delayed satellite phone calls from exciting far off places. We moved into the country when I was 12 and I guess my formative years started then.

I am the youngest of three brothers and from them, I got a real love for the landscape and all the wildlife that inhabits it. Every weekend we’d be out hill-walking or bird-watching and my first choice of career would have been in either conservation or research.

I had a little SLR Olympus from when I was about 14 and was enthusiastic about recording what I found in the landscape. Shooting one 36 frame slide film every couple of months didn’t teach me much about exposure theory, but I recall a few images I was happy with even then.

I was a quiet kid, outside exploring, or in my room listening to music in a minor key!

How did you decide you wanted to pursue photography as your profession and what inspired you?

We need to fast forward a few decades. Life has a habit of getting in the way of what we want to do, and it wasn’t until 2002 when we moved to live in Malaysia that I had the time to start thinking creatively again. Birds were still a huge part of my life and I wanted to start getting some photographs of them.

I spent a long time getting a handle on the creative and technical aspects of bird photography but shot a few landscapes on vacations from about 2004.

By 2009 I had been in the corporate world for 20 years and the travel and stress were beginning to take their toll. I seriously started to think about a change of career, even though I had no income or means of an income from photography.

I had a huge interest in night photography, which dated back to my study of Astronomy and Astrophysics at University, but I struggled to find any good learning material that didn’t just talk about generalizations and rules of thumb. So, I began a three-year project to research everything I could and work out from first principles how to make landscape images at night.

In 2012 I published my first eBook, Seeing the Unseen, How to Photograph Landscapes at Night. It proved to be very popular and by default I found myself making a living from what I loved to do.

My inspiration has always been the landscape, the fine balance that nature sustains and a desire to have a holistic relationship with that system. Transcending image-making and aiming for a more expressive approach has always been my goal.

Did you have any formal education or mentors who helped to shape your profession as a photographer?

In short no. I’m self-taught, but I don’t live in a vacuum. I’ve been inspired by many photographers over the years, some famous, others unknown. The background in bird photography gave me a solid technical foundation, but for the last decade have worked on more expressive, creative output. I’m very disciplined and self-motivated and when I decide to learn something, it stays learned!

In the year of 2000, you and your wife lived in the Tibetan region and spent most of your time exploring the Himalayas. Can you tell us more about your experience and share a memory that you will never forget?

My wife Juanli and I met in Beijing in 2000, but we didn’t move down to the Tibetan Region until 2004, and finally moved to Lhasa the capital of Tibet in 2007.

But yes, for over a decade we lived and traveled extensively in that region, both north and south of the Himalaya. Living at between 9000 and 12000 feet is magical; clear air, intoxicating views and a calmness that lingers with me today as I look out over our Scottish Glen to the sea below.

Growing up in Scotland does not prepare you for the cultural differences in somewhere like Tibet. The people, landscape, and their faith are interwoven into an inseparable fabric. It’s a brutal environment, 50% of the oxygen than at sea level, frozen, or baked in equal measure. I miss it, and can’t wait to get back to the big mountains.

In 2015 we co-led a trek into the east side of Everest and on the second night camped at about 17000 feet. After a fitful sleep I was finally warm and snug in my down bag, but the whole inside of the tent was frozen from our breath.

As the first dim light of dawn woke me, I crawled out the tent and made my way up to a lake high above me for sunrise. I was alone, mildly hypoxic, and exhausted with every step. I found a spot by the lake and collapsed on the ground, gasping for breath. From my repose, I noticed a superb reflection of Makalu, Lhotse, and Everest and set up my camera where I lay.

As the first light hit the big peaks it was like an explosion in my mind, to be so high, in that place, alone was just incredible. The effort required to get into these places is huge. The mental effort to overcome the elements can be daunting, but the rewards of internal growth are immeasurable.

Can you tell us about your award-winning picture “ The Crystal Embrace” which you received from the Le Prix de la Photographie Paris?

professional landscape photographer

In December 2016 we were running a small workshop in the west of Scotland. There were only two participants, and the four of us were a really tight unit, leaving a small footprint on the vast landscape. Scotland was experiencing one of its rare calm times, a nice high-pressure system that brought cold, clear conditions.

We were in Torridon and the trees were plastered in frost. I’d found a great little viewpoint and had the guys set up for their images. There was no room for me, so I took this shot over their shoulders handheld, with a shallow depth of field to allow a fast enough shutter speed. I liked the blurring of the foreground trees and they created a window through to the river and the warm light of dawn.

I worked it quite a few months later (as is the norm for me) and it was actually Juanli who suggested I enter it to the Px3. I was very surprised when it won the gold medal.

When you were just starting out as a photographer, what was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Things have changed hugely in that time; back in the early 2000’s there was a real lack of good learning material, so I guess my biggest challenge was just working out what I didn’t know. Digital photography was still quite new and there was a big difference in what would be a traditional film-based methodology, versus where digital has come in the last 20 years.

For myself and my peers, it was a case of working it out for ourselves. Not until about 2011 was their an explosion of real quality learning material which has made the question “How do I do that?” Easier to answer.

The best advice I can always give is to keep things simple. There is a human tendency to complicate things, and modern gear, software, and computers are complex tools, capable of a billion things. Deciding what type of photographer you want to be and learning the bare essentials to make this happen is the surest way I know to save yourself a lot of heartaches.

When I’m working I always default to the quickest, easiest way to achieve what I want – why complicate things just to be clever? Creativity can only flow when you’re engaged in the art side of things. If you’re locked into technical challenges your images will reflect that.

What is the key to making a great landscape photograph? Can you describe the process behind one of your favorite photographs? 

Engagement, flow, imagination, technical proficiency and confidence!

professional landscape photographer

This photograph is certainly one of my best known and it is a real favorite of mine. It was taken in early 2011 in Spain and was the start of a process of creativity that is still with me today, although in a more distilled format.

I had begun to really start thinking about isolationism and the process of stripping landscapes down to their very essence. In other words, what is it in this scene in front of me that can summarise the whole by showing as little as possible.

On this night the moon was giving a lot of light and the waves were really crashing in on the shore. The whole area was chaos and noisy. By zooming into the sea stacks and using a long exposure (something like 7 minutes I think) – I stripped the chaos down to this very simple and graphical representation of this beautiful beach.

The fact it was dark, led me to come up with the expression Seeing the Unseen, which typifies my approach to creativity; seeing something that doesn’t exist in a literal sense.

Processing is very simple, maybe only a few minutes in Lightroom.

What gives you ideas to create such amazing work of art?

Well, thank you for the kind words, but of course I don’t see them like that; for me, it’s just about expressing myself and letting out what needs to come out.

One place I don’t get inspiration is from other photographs, I really don’t look at very much these days, preferring instead to let my own imagination and creative drive lead to new work.

I do listen to lots of music though, increasingly Minimalism, Ambient and making my own. For a couple of years now I’ve been writing in various magazines about the process of creativity, and the concept of harmonic resonance is a common theme.

I like the idea that nature is what it is. It has no inherent metaphor associated with it. What we see in it, feel in it and create with it are constructs of our own perspective and imagination.

In short, where I am now is to allow my subconscious a voice. I try not to guide my work with much if any conscious creative thought. I shoot innately, compose by feel rather than any pre-visualised rule or guideline, and certainly process images without thought.

A firm grasp of the theory of How to Do Stuff with the camera and in front of the computer have created this platform that allows me to explore my subconscious within a flow state.

Flow States are the Utopian dream, I only feel I am truly creative when I’m in one.

Can you tell us about your workshops and what can a photographer learn from the workshops?

My wife and I love running our workshops, we really do. Firstly we only have very small groups, mostly 2 or 3, but occasionally topping out at 5 or 6. This allows for a great little group dynamic and lots of one on one time with us both. Juanli is a great photographer in her own right and is very patient.

I was discussing this with our group last week here in Scotland. The most common goal of our participants is to get in touch with their creative side, and this doesn’t work if I just tell people what to do.

Each person sees the world through their own eyes, and I believe they have a vision that is truly unique to them. If I was to take three people to a beach and ask them to write a short story on a piece of paper describing where they are, what the light and weather is like and what is attracting their eye. Each essay would be different.

I do not wish to force everyone into a mould that looks the same. I want to teach people to make images that are theirs, not mine.

We also like to have fun; we enjoy chatting about vision, philosophy, creativity, technical routes to greater freedom in the field and in front of the computer. We also only run trips to places we really love; Scotland, Spain, Tibet and the Gobi Desert.

Here and Now

Besides photography, can you tell us your other hobbies or what you love to do?

Creativity is my life, everything I do revolves around creating new work, developing my skill sets, thinking about it, writing about it, or being out in the field with clients. I’m an experiential person, my life is a journey and everything I do has a purpose.

I play guitar and create music on my computer. I read and write with equal passion. I hike the hills around our home every day, looking at the place, it’s wildlife and the ever-changing seasons. But, to me, none of it is work, and all of it is work.

What is your greatest achievement so far?

I’m not really interested in the concept of achievement. I’m driven to become the very best version of me that I can be and suppress any ego associated with being good at what I do. Still being alive, fit, healthy and married to Juanli gives me great satisfaction!

professional landscape photographer

Would you like to share a few tips for all the aspiring photographers out there who are also looking to build a reputation as an artist?

Social media has changed the ballpark. Popularity, quality, and creative integrity do not always walk hand in hand. My advice would be to shoot for yourself, create for yourself and don’t think about building a reputation at all. If your work speaks to you; it’s authentic, individual and expressive, it will speak to others.

Everyone with a phone or camera is a photographer, we’re not alone out there.

There’s an old expression that says you’ll never catch a butterfly if you chase it, but if you sit quietly and patiently it will come and land on your finger.

I am not interested in the trappings of success in my field, I’m interested in my own growth and quality of life. My work totally reflects me, my vision, my engagement and ever-changing perspectives.

Any notoriety or reputation I have is external and has very little to do with my own awareness. I just do what I do and hope I can help others on their journeys.

Find out more information on Alister Benn’s workshops here!

Related: Check out some tips from Pixpa here

Nino Batista Interview : A Photo Retouching Genius At His Best

high end beauty retouching

If you haven’t heard of Nino Batista before, I am sure that you would have seen some of his breathtaking images on lifestyles and men’s publications.

Nino is an editorial glamour and exotic automotive photographer in the United States. He is not only one of today’s best glamour photographers but he is also known for his retouching skills.

Having the ability to be a master at what he does best, he has also been able to share his own retouching secrets. From a photographer to one of the famous trainers in the industry, he has taught photography and retouching in many cities. He has worked with Fstoppers since 2014 and he is currently their Senior Writer.

If you would like to know more about him, you can always visit his website here.

In this interview, we had a chance to connect with Nino via email and to ask him a few questions.

high end beauty retouching

Tell us about yourself. How did you become a glamour and retouching educator?

A kind of interesting story, I think. As a veteran graphics designer and small business owner since the 90’s, I saw the way that industry and the economy were shifting in 2008, and I decided it was time to change industries! Luckily, my father was, and still is, a full-time photographer. This meant that while I was not hugely experienced in a shooting, I did grow up around it, so I wasn’t starting from a totally blank slate. So, basically, I went into photography for the sole purpose of trying to build a new business because my existing one was basically about to shut down.

After a couple of years of figuring stuff out, doing a lot of really crappy shoots because I had no idea what I was doing, I ended up in the automotive photography world, of all things. In 2012, I shot over 200 cars and assumed my career was now going to be in automotive. Once again, however, shifts in industry priorities ended up causing me to be dropped by the main automotive clients that had kept me so busy for most of 2012. Luckily, I was still shooting glamour pretty steadily (by this time it wasn’t totally crappy) and requests came in asking if I give workshops on the subject.

Needing to once again make up for the shift in business, I started workshops in August of 2012. It was this decision that ended up making the biggest difference in my career. Since then, I have hosted over 200 photography events in over 50 cities around the country, allowing me to make a living off of being an educator. This allows me to freely shoot what I want to shoot, what I am inspired by, whenever I set out to plan a project. So while the education circuit keeps me extremely busy, I have freedom as an artist to shoot almost exclusively what I am motivated to shoot, and not much else.

high end beauty retouching

Why is teaching photography so important to you?

I’ve always said that the most tempting thing to do after you’ve become a reasonably established photographer is to give workshops or classes. The allure of the extra income is the main driving force, of course, but what happens is, most photographers who try giving classes realize very quickly that it’s fairly difficult. Between planning, scheduling, curriculum preparation, marketing, personal interaction with students, and of course hustling to make it financially worthwhile, most photographers give up the idea after just a couple of attempts at workshops.

The short answer is, being a full-time educator isn’t for everyone. I found, thankfully, that I truly enjoy it. It’s like being a touring musician (something I can relate to), in that you go city to city and give a performance to an audience who came out to see you. Everything from the pre-show nerves to the euphoria of giving a really intense lecture or demonstration that goes over really well is all worth it to me. I revel in every second of being an educator! And it also lets me travel a lot and that is never a bad thing.

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What does retouching mean to you and how did you get into this genre of photography?

An interesting two-part question here! So, as I mentioned I was a full-time graphics designer from about the age of 16 until just a few years ago. In fact, I worked with Adobe Photoshop since version 1.0 and really started to produce client work with version 2.5. So I go way back, you could say. Upon entering photography, I immediately found that for all my Photoshop design experience, I didn’t know the proper way to do portrait retouching. I became literally obsessed with being the best retoucher I could be, simply because I wasn’t going to allow myself to fail at using a program like Photoshop that I already knew so well, for so long.

Yeah, that is the testament to how versatile Photoshop is, but I also knew that the learning curve was going to be steep. As a person who never spent one minute in college, never took a workshop and never took any private classes of any kind of any subject ever, I actually surprised myself when I chose to invest in an amazing mentor, Pratik Naik, to help me get going on portrait retouching several years ago. I was obsessed enough to get over my “I learn things on my own” attitude because I was determined to be good at it, and in two sessions my life was forever changed; I was now in love with retouching for life.

As for how I ended up in the glamour genre, I guess I’ve never really thought about it in detail before. That said, I did start off shooting what was simply “model photography”, with no predetermined idea of any specific genre. After only a short while, I decided I wasn’t a fashion photographer simply because I knew very, very little about fashion, and most of what I was shooting didn’t look like anything remotely seen in fashion ads or magazines.

Eventually, someone said I shoot “glamour” if I recall correctly, and I decided that was as good a label as anything, and just kept saying “I’m a glamour photographer.” Curiously, I’ve shifted a bit in recent months, and going into 2018 you may start seeing some different sort of aesthetics in my work, something I am tentatively referring to as “editorial glam”.

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There is a very fine difference between “good retouching” and “bad retouching”. Can you please let us know your perspective on that.

Good retouching is nearly invisible. You see an image, it looks extremely perfect (industry caliber, like in major advertising), but nothing stands out as “Photoshopped” or just looks weird. Bad retouching? Well, anything that isn’t that!

Can you tell us what is the first step to retouching an amateur photographer should know?

Practice. Practice. Practice. Stop assuming that simply watching a tutorial means you now know how to retouch. Retouching is an art and should be approached with respect, as you would any art. You will fail at it at first, and that’s ok. Do a lot of really terrible edits, and keep learning. Remember that information is not knowledge! There is tons of information on the web about retouching, but until you process it all in your brain and practice countless hours, it will not become knowledge. Did I mention practice?

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What is the most challenging part of retouching? Any trick you can share with our budding audience of a photographer to help them here?

In portrait work, your entire existence as a retoucher is going to be based on skin retouching. Master that, and every other aspect of your retouching will benefit. That said, perfect skin retouching is going to take time to learn and practice, as I mentioned above. You want skin texture, but you want everything to be perfect; remove the term “skin smoothing” from your vocabulary. You want perfection, not smooth.

Which method do you mostly use while skin retouching?

After some basic healing, dodge and burn is the only way to go. If you master dodging and burning for skin work, the world is yours.

How long would it usually take for you to edit a RAW image?

I get asked this a lot! For me, it varies wildly. I am not a beauty photographer so generally speaking my edits go fairly quick. If I had to say, I would estimate between 10 minutes and 1 hour per image. Keep in mind, 6-7 years ago, I was 2-3 hours per image!

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Can you give us a little insight into your personal editing workflow?

It breaks down like this for me, but honestly, it’s just based on industry standard workflow, and I do it in this order:

1. Raw processing in Capture One Pro, which includes color correction, skin tone balancing, white balance, highlight and shadows adjustments, and some of what I call “pre-grading” color work (which just means I do some light color grading to get the palette started that I will eventually finalize in Photoshop).

2. Export to Photoshop as 16 bit PSD, AdobeRGB from Capture One Pro.

3. Healing

4. Dodge & burn for skin

5. Frequency separation for skin work (as needed, if needed)

6. Major fixes/reconstructions (if needed)

7. Liquify (if needed)

8. Additional color correction (as needed, if needed)

9. Color grading (varies shot to shot)

10. Final “mastering” to account for exposure, contrast, special effects, etc. (varies shot to shot)

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Besides photography what do you usually love to do?

Apart from being a proud single father of 3, I am also a musician. Music is actually my main passion in life, to be perfectly honest. I play daily and listen to music non-stop. It’s been over a decade, but I may join a band soon and start gigging again. Why not?

What advice would you give to somebody who is just starting out as a photographer and who is trying to master retouching?

Don’t try to master it simply by trial and error. Invest in a class, a workshop, or a mentor. It’s fairly complex at first, and by attempting to learn it trial and error, you will take 20 times longer to get where you want to go, if not more.

Check out 30 Premium Retouching Video Tutorials By Nino Batista & master the skills of retouching!

Charlie Borland Interview : An Inspiration To All Aspiring Photographers

Charlie Borland has been a professional photographer for over 35 years. Based in Oregon, he has shot almost all over the world. He has worked with high-end clients including Xerox, NW Airlines, Fujitsu, Nike, Blue Cross, NationsBank, Texas Instruments, International Paper, Cellular One.

His work has also been published thousands of times worldwide and in publications like National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, Outside, Women’s Sport and Fitness, Newsweek, TV Guide, Sports Illustrated for Women, Time, Backpacker, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, to name a few.

In this interview, we learn a little more about Charlie and find out how he got started and what makes him the photographer he is today.

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How did you get your start as a photographer? Was there anything specific that made you want to become a photographer?

I got my first SLR when I was 18. My best friend had received a camera from his brother, who was stationed in Asia after the Vietnam war. He invited me to go out and take pictures with him and it was fun. So, I decided to get a camera for myself and then we teamed up to go out and shoot. I enjoyed it enough to start taking workshops and classes, where among many workshop instructors, I met Bryan Peterson and we have been friends ever since. I even co-wrote his book on Flash Photography. Eventually, I enrolled in Brooks Institute in the late 70’s and have been a working pro since.

From many of your interviews, I learned that you love to explore different types of photography. But can you tell us which one would have to be your favorite?

I love to photograph….whatever is in front of the camera. As far as favorite subjects, the more commercial subjects were often grueling assignments, but I still loved it. And then the things I do for fun are more relaxing like landscape photography. I love shooting the landscape because it’s just me and the wilds and the weather. No deadlines, clients, or distractions.

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You have been a photographer for more than 30 years now. Having been a photographer for so long, what keeps you inspired?

I think to keep the excitement going after so many years in an often-ruthless business, you need personal goals or projects that you are passionate about. I am always working on something with a theme, while I also take off to hike and shoot because nature is the best escape for me.

What do you feel about photography 15 years back and now? And how do you feel about the transition from film to digital?

I love digital and Photoshop and what we can do now. But I never want to forget what it was like before all that. Probably 2/3 of my career was film based and much of how you worked was done differently. I was also much busier the first 15-20 years than the last 10 years so there has been a lot of change in the overall photography business. But change is part of every business for the most part and you adapt to survive. Today, I can still create images with a camera and that’s the main thing because the passion to do that has not changed.

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How much do you research before you start on a new project?

It definitely depends on the project. Most assignments don’t require too much research in the traditional sense but instead require logistical planning. I had a client that sent me all over North America shooting industrial locations and we might do 10 locations in 10 states over a two-week period. That was a challenge planning the travel schedule, timing, and anything we needed to be shipped to the location. Most of my personal projects are more spontaneous in many ways. I often like to just show up and then get the creative thinking kicked into gear, adapting as needed. But that approach won’t work for everything. If I am using models as an example, pre-planning is essential.

What lies ahead for you now?

I keep shooting my personal work while also looking for any and all opportunities. Sometimes things just pop up. I also create online training courses and have an eBook out there, with more of all that planned in the future. So I stay pretty busy.

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What was the first digital camera you started using?

My first camera was an Olympus with Fixed lens and wide angle and telephoto attachments. I don’t even recall the model, but I only made it about a year with that before getting a Canon 10D and then moving up every 18 months to something bigger and more powerful.

Do you have an all-time favorite camera?

My fav would be the 4×5 view camera. I had three of them: a Cambo studio camera, a Calumet with bag bellows for architecture, and a Toyo 45AR field camera, my true favorite. I loved shooting in the field with the Toyo. It takes so long to set up and frame a picture, a film was expensive, and that means I spent much more time to compose the image. With DSLR’s and no film costs, even I rapid fire once in a while.

Your photographs can be seen almost everywhere on the internet, to name a few like the National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, the NY Times, Sports Illustrated, Outdoor Photographer, etc. Can you tell us more about your journey to fame?

LOL, one thing I was told by one of my agents at the beginning of my career was that there is often little correlation between fame and fortune. Something that may bring you fame might not always pay much while good paying assignment may not be noticed by anybody who cares who the photographer was. I am proud of the many publication credits I have, but they are just credits. While they may help in obtaining other business, most clients choose photographers they personally like. Being able to do the shoot is the most important but clients want somebody they are able to work with. That is how you develop relationships with editors and art directors. You need a wide range of abilities and if it is stock photography, then you need a lot of stock photos before clients continually call you back. Then you market and market until you are sick of it, and then market a little more.

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Do you face challenges in photography even after all this time and how do you overcome them?

Absolutely! And as an example; industrial photography. I am not doing much location work in industrial settings anymore, but every single shot was a challenge because we often never knew what we were up against until we got there. It could be lighting, color, a missing piece of something, a broke down a machine, or things you do not expect. You have to be a problem solver. You cannot have a client fly you halfway around the world and not come away with a shot because details were overlooked or something went wrong. So, you need to be quick at coming up with alternative strategies if things down go right. This is less of a problem with my personal work. If it is raining, I wait another day.

Can you tell us a little about your post-processing workflow?

I am a big Photoshop fan. I also have Lightroom but do not use it as much because I was deep into PS before LR was introduced and there lies my comfort zone. They are great programs. For workflow, I often start with the basics in Bridge like the metadata, and sometimes basic adjustments in ACR. Usually, I only need one scene out of a batch for processing and I take that into PS. From there it is usually adjustment layers for everything from contrast, to color, and anything else that needs attention. I use layers and masks all the time, do exposure blending, and occasionally luminosity masks. My philosophy is that I want things to look real unless I am doing something conceptually. I liken that philosophy to being raised on transparency film which had a limited dynamic range, little ability to manipulate like today, and so you learned how to fit into those parameters. With digital, there is no limit and while that is a good thing, it can easily be misused resulting in images that just don’t look real.

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What tips or advice do you have for other aspiring photographers?

Follow your heart and passion. If you want to go pro great, but if you want to do photography just for fun, then forge ahead. Make photography whatever you want it to be for yourself. Trying to make money at it as far as a living, is tough. It’s crowded out there and there is less business than there used to be. But it is so fun and can bring life experiences you just wouldn’t find without that camera opening the door. If a business is your goal, you need to be a very good photographer because you might very well be competing for an assignment against a long-established pro. If landscape and nature is your passion, learning to write and shoot video will only open more opportunities for you. I have often said, that pro photography is not a job, it’s a lifestyle! So, whatever you decide, dive in with all your passion and never give up. Things will happen!

Find out more information on Charlie Borland photography tutorials & insights here!

Amanda Diaz Interview – An Inspirational & Passionate Photographer

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Amanda Diaz is one of the best-known Fashion and Portrait photographers based in Western Canada. Her career as a photographer started in 2008 and in 2012 was nominated as one of the top ten fashion/editorial photographers on the Framed Network.

Amanda, like many successful artistic photographers, has made a brand for herself in the world of photography. Her work has been featured in multiple magazines and websites from around the world and has taken over all forms of social media.

Besides her sensational work of taking stunning photographs, Amanda is also teaching photography and workshops. Her style in photography has brought her the attention of many who are looking to learn from her.

If you are seeking for some inspiration in the fashion and portrait photography, then Amanda Diaz is the photographer for you.

In this interview, we speak to Amanda to seek out insights into her work and feel her passion towards photography.

Amanda spoke to us by email…

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Let’s start with a small introduction about yourself.

I am a Fashion and Portrait photographer, born in Toronto, Ontario and currently reside in Western Canada. My shooting style tends to lean more on the artistic and fine art side of photography. I like to add a surreal and ethereal mood to most of my images. I love watching movies and listening to music – I usually will have one or the other in the background as I’m working or editing. I’ve been shooting for almost a decade come May 2018.

Before you started with photography I see that you worked with children for a long time. Can you tell us more about that?

Yes, that is correct. I studied early childhood and started out in daycares. I then began working with children who had special needs. Autism, speech delays, behavioral issues, FASD etc. It was fulfilling but also extremely stressful and I was getting very burnt out. I then started studying graphic design and photography online part time as I continued working. It took me a total of 5 years to transition out of the first career and into this one now as a photographer.

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At what point did you realize that photography is what you wanted to do as a career?

It wasn’t really that obvious, to be honest as I was planning to be a graphic designer, I had to finish my courses in order to get my certificate of advanced design, and choose an additional subject and so I chose photography. I was following assignments and used friends to model for me. After getting so much positive feedback on my work, I just ended up going in that direction over time.

Were there any hurdles that you encountered at the beginning of your journey as a photographer?

Yes, many and I still do from time to time. Rejection for one, and also that I walked into quite a rude awakening. I found that the more attention I started to get online and off, the more negativity and hateful comments also came my way. It was quite a shock and many nights I would cry myself to sleep in total confusion as to why strangers would talk to me and about me the way they did, making accusations of my character and so on. But as time has passed, I just don’t really worry about it anymore and stick to myself for the most part. I would say that was the biggest challenge for me- other than learning the technical side of things which I am not fond of.

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Why did you decide to become a fashion/ Portrait photographer? 

I actually started out taking pictures of weddings, babies, family etc. As time went on, I found I was not really happy nor was I interested in doing images like that. I actually got to the point of nearly just quitting- I started to work with models here and there and really loved the energy and creativity I could have. The planning, styling, shooting and even editing was something I enjoyed a lot. Over time, I just started to only shoot portraits or fashion editorials and have been doing that ever since!

In 2012, you were nominated as one of the Top 10 Fashion/Editorial Photographers. How did that feel?

I was pretty excited and quite surprised actually. It was very encouraging for me as I was placed in a category with a couple other photographers whom I admired and looked up too- So even though I didn’t “win” -being nominated was more than enough!

How much time do you spend taking photos? Can you tell us a little bit about your workflow?

Well, these days actually not very much! I’ve been so busy with working on a new project that will be coming this spring its left little to no time for shoots! I’m trying to get back into some more creatives coming up though! But as for my workflow, I usually begin with some kind of inspiration like a makeup or hair look, some style of clothing, lighting etc, then from there, I build on the idea adding more elements and trying to create something unique. Once I have my idea I start gathering my team, set a date, shoot and the spend forever trying to narrow down the images. Sometimes I get so critical of my work I don’t even want to look at the images again…It’s the artist in me I suppose. It’s a very bad habit but I’m working on it.

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How do you market yourself to your clients?

Well, luckily, I have my social media that helps me a lot when it comes to being hired for work. People tend to see my work a lot on platforms like Instagram or Facebook so that part makes it easy, as well as word of mouth from past clients.

You’re also in the photography education industry. How long have you been teaching photography workshops?

Yes, I’ve only been teaching workshops only for the last 4 years. My last one was this past October and I most likely will no longer be doing physical workshops (unless they are retreats) as I am now moving my curriculum online. It makes it a lot easier for students too as they can learn in the comfort of their own home and at their own pace.

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What projects are you working on now?

I have two brand new projects coming up that has been keeping me really busy. One is in partnership with a couple friends and it will be a resource site for females in business and the other is my online courses that I will soon be releasing

You have around 53.3k followers on Instagram, what tips can you give to photographers who want to get their work seen like that?

I think the most important thing when it comes to social media, to remember to be true to yourself, style and brand. Don’t worry too much about what others are doing unless it’s to motivate you, otherwise it can get really discouraging watching what everyone else is doing. Also, be patient and consistent with your posts. Even I sometimes fall off and it actually does affect my visibility if I don’t stay on schedule after a few days. Social media honestly for me can be very draining and time-consuming… especially that I am such a private person, I have difficulty sometimes thinking about what to post other than an image! But I’m trying to be better at it though!

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Any final words of wisdom you would like to share with all the aspiring photographers out there?

I would say just to keep focused if this is truly your passion. It can be a harsh and competitive industry and there will always be ups and downs, but if its something you love – just don’t give up! 🙂

Find out more information on Amanda Diaz photography tutorials & insights here!

Oded Wagenstein Interview – Images That Tell A Story

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Oded Wagenstein is a unique and professional photographer whose photographs capture emotions and tells stories.

At a very young age, Oded taught himself how to use the camera as a platform to explore his fears.

Through hard work and determination, he has now built a career as a professional photographer. He loves to travel around the world and capture intimate portraits.

His images and articles are regularly published on numerous international platforms, such as the BBC and the National Geographic.

Oded believes in sharing knowledge. He is the author of three amazing books

  • Stories and Faces – Composition for stronger stories and better portraits.
  • Snapn Travel – A lifetime of travel memories in a snap.
  • The Visual Storyteller – Creating stronger stories and better photographs.

He is a photography instructor at the largest photography school in the Middle East (Galitz School of Photography). He teaches both Jews and Muslims to use their cameras as a bridge between them. Through photography, he helps them share their stories, hopes, and fears.

In this interview, we had a chance to connect via email to ask him a few questions.

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Can you tell us how important is it for a photographer to “connect” with his subjects?

Not every photographer needs to connect with his or her subjects. I have colleagues who are wonderful street photographers and in their mind, even talking with the subject is a great sin. For me, the camera is just a vehicle for fascinating encounters. I love the way the camera allows me to meet new people from different cultures and gain new knowledge. Therefore, I find that connecting with people through the camera is not only the most important aspect of my work but the most rewarding.

How would you describe your style in photography?

The question is – what is style? Is this a form of visual repetition?In that light, I am not sure I have a style. I prefer that we would change the word “style” with the word “voice“. I find that focusing on “style” is putting the emphasis on the shape of the work while focusing on the “voice”, is putting the emphasis on the meaning. So, I wish that my work could bring my voice, tell my stories and share my fears.

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How much preparation do you put into before working on any project?

It depends on the project, but usually, my preparation includes several basic steps:

First, visual preparation. I would like to collect visual materials (pictures, paintings, films) dealing with the subject/place/culture I wish to explore. At this stage, I would like to be visually inspired and understand what has been done in the past on that subject. The second stage is reading. I would read any material relevant. For example, when it comes to culture; I would like to read about the traditions, history, economy, and demographics of the place and anything that can help me understand the meaning of living in that culture.

I remember a few years ago, a magazine sent me to photograph in a kibbutz of organic agriculture in Israel. Since I have a family living on a kibbutz, I knew the meaning of life in a Kibbutz, but I knew nothing about organic agriculture. So I read information online and talked to experts and learned so much. Of course, you could say that I could photograph those farmers without that preliminary knowledge, but I think that understanding what they do, helped me in creating a better visual story.

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What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?

My advice is to put less emphasis on purchasing new and advanced equipment and more emphasis on learning and inspiration. Buy books, take courses, and surround yourself with creative people.

See more of Oded’s work here.

Dani Diamond Interview: NYC Fashion, Food & Commercial Photographer

I recently came across the work of Dani Diamond online by chance while browsing through some well-known portrait photographers. What I loved the most about him was the impeccable results of his portraits.

Known for his breathtaking portraits and signature style, Dani Diamond has now taken over all forms of social media.

As a boy, he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and now lives in Connecticut with his wife Etty. His journey into photography was merely just a hobby after he graduated with a degree in business administration.

In this interview, we learn a little more about Dani and find out how he got started and what makes him the photographer he is today.

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I see that five years ago, photography was really never an interest to you. From graduating with a degree in business administration and now known for your signature style photographs. How did this happen?

I never really had any direction when applying to businesses school, it was just something I chose to do since I knew it could lead to many different paths. I was fascinated by the technical side of cameras which sparked an interest. One thing leads to the next and I now do photography for a living.

I believe that you take your critics and fans very seriously. They have played a vital role in shaping you as a photographer. Can you please throw some more light on this?

I’m a big believer that I was not born talented in taking portraits. I owe a lot of my style to those that commented on my work when I was starting out. If I saw people responded well to specific details of my work, I made sure to implement them in future work. This helped mold the signature style I have today.

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After having moved to photography, have you ever have had second thoughts?

Yes, all the time. Photography is a very saturated field since anyone can buy a camera and become a photographer easily. With the right connections, anyone can land any job. We see celebrities deciding they are photographers all the time and shooting big brands. This scares me, unlike being a doctor I have no guarantee that I will have a job in 10 years from now. However, I’m stuck right now in a place where I love my job and making a comfortable living to provide for my family so going out and finding a different job is not too appealing for me. None the less I do have second thoughts.

What was the first camera that you used and do you still use it?

A Nikon D90 and no I shoot with a D800 now and couldn’t be happier with the dynamic range and resolution it has.

Known for your breathtaking portraits and signature style, can you tell us how important is it for a photographer to “connect” with his subjects?

Believe it or not the connection I make sure the subject has with me(the camera) IS the signature look in my portraits. The colours, blurred background, clothing and retouching is all just smoke around the essence of a portrait. Without that connection, the portrait will not speak to the audience.

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What have you learned about yourself from shooting portraits?

That anyone can make themselves a peoples person and outgoing with effort. I had a very hard time growing up making conversation with strangers. It is now a pleasure for me to meet new people and instantly become friends.

How did you come up with the idea of “The Project”? I personally find it to be a super duper idea.

As mentioned above I had a hard time meeting new people and making them feel comfortable in front of the camera. To push myself to master this I looked for the hardest subjects to photograph, if I can make them feel comfortable in front of the camera, surely I can make anyone. Who is the hardest? Photographers by far. They hate being photographed. Thus the idea of The Project was born.

What are your favourite shooting locations?

Any city, I love the neutral colours.

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How do you work your magic when it comes to natural light portraiture & retouching?

Starting with a good image is key. Contrast, lighting and focus on the eyes. I walk a lot more than I shoot. I will not turn on my camera until I find the perfect light and background.

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I find the above picture absolutely stunning! Can you tell us a little about how you had set up for this portrait?

At the end of this shoot with @modelninajade as she was walking next to me I noticed perfect light and opportunity to snap a shot, it was candid. A year after I took the image I came back to it and kind of liked it so I went ahead and retouched it. I took this with a D800 and 85mm 1.4G

Would you like to say something to all the aspiring photographer who has just started photography?

Find yourself a job that will pay you well and do photography as a hobby. You will enjoy producing art more this way and live a much more stress-free life. The second money is involved you will find yourself taking jobs since it pays well rather than something you’re enjoying. Becoming a photographer is appealing until you have a mortgage, tuition, insurance and bills that force you to take jobs you have no interest in doing.

Find out more information on Dani Diamond photography tutorials & insights here!

9 Lesser-Known Ways To Market Your Photography Business

marketing photography business

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More than technique, photography is an art. If you are starting a photography business, well, it could be bread and butter too. From how to start a photography business to how to market it to excel in the field, there’s a lot of homework to do. In order to attract potential clients, homework is crucial for professional photographers. But if you have one your research and are geared up for starting your own photography business, you’ve already come half way. Feel free to rely on us for the second half, the marketing part! Here are 9 lesser-known but highly effective ways to help your marketing photography business like a pro.

1. Photo Blogs

It’s great if you have a portfolio website but blogging never goes in vain. Build a feed of the best of your shots. The ones you want people to see.  You can also follow some prominent photographers and see how they do it. Be regular by posting new photographs of the projects you’re working on. It is quite similar to how you maintain your social media. The difference is that here you can even gain followers. And you never know your followers may turn up to be your clients.  Writing blogs on your portfolio website is another good way to build your reach.

2. Get  photographs published in Magazines

It’s no rocket science to figure out that a photograph published in an industry leading magazine builds credibility and gives a huge exposure to a photographer. But it’s not easy!  For some it could be sheer luck but for some it’s a lot of work. The first step towards getting a photograph published in a magazine is to find out some of the leading magazines in

For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, the following magazines would offer a huge exposure-

  • Premier Bride
  • Wedding Style
  • The Knot Magazine
  • Wedding Affair
  • Asiana

However, for a travel or wildlife photographer magazines such as National Geographic Traveler, Outlook Traveller, Travel+Leisure, Lonely Planet among others would make suitable options. If you’re not a commissioned photographer for these magazines there’s a little chance that your photographs would be published, but keep at it.  So get your best photographs out and send them to the respective editors of these magazines.

If fashion and lifestyle are your things, keep reading Vogue, Elle, Verve, Instyle, and Cosmopolitan and you may find opportunities to get published in these magazines.   Also, don’t forget to take part in photography contests and competitions conducted by photography associations and even magazines.

marketing photography business

3. Exhibitions

Show what you want to sell! Why not? Begin from group exhibitions at local art galleries or any other venue that suits you. Once you experience it and feel like doing bigger, go for solo exhibitions. You can meet numerous people at exhibitions, which, surely, would help you grow your business and your marketing photography business network this way. You can also get your favorite photographs framed and hang them in your studio. A picture speaks better than words, after all!

4. Networking

Success won’t come overnight. Wait for it! Rather, work for it! Networking is important for all kinds of businesses.  If you know just a handful of people how would you work with others? In order to expand the business, a good network is needed. You often have to walk up to the strangers and talk. An interpersonal communication, after all, is way better than mass communication. It would get you instant feedback and response without long wait. Get to know them and build good relationships with people. Have patience and give them some time. Don’t be clingy, too. Look, approach and act like a professional.

Where to network?

Attend photo walks: Always join your friends, colleagues and mentors for local photo walks. It helps you meet new people, discover new places and again, build network. You may also learn something new during the process. Nobody, never is too old to learn.Participant in events: Events like fests, fashion show, fairs are not meant to be missed. Move out with your cam-buddy (camera) and look for the opportunities. Yes, you have to make efforts. Take lead if any bride-to-be seems interested or anyone is planning a family-shoot.

Participant in events: Events like fests, fashion show, fairs are not meant to be missed. Move out with your cam-buddy (camera) and look for the opportunities. Yes, you have to make efforts. Take lead if any bride-to-be seems interested or anyone is planning a family shoot.
Get out of your comfort zone: In this business, you can’t afford being shy or uncomfortable in walking up to people and starting a warm conversation. Confidence is the key.

Exchange business card: Always keep your business card handy. Have this habit of offering your card after a healthy conversation. And they seem interested, ask for theirs, too. Do not forget to add portfolio website address on your card, if you got one!

How to network at a photography event

Plan: Always plan how and what are you going to do say/ show to the concerned person. Look on how to be presentable and organised.

Prepare: Prepare a day in advance. Keep your camera charged. Keeping an extra battery for back-up is always a good idea. You never know when you need to look through that lens. Make sure you don’t run out of business cards.

Execute: Dress well and look neat. These things impact the communication before it even starts. Be friendly and nice while talking. And by the end of conversation you ought to analyse if the person is your target customer.

Follow-up: Text or mail them already saying you look forward to working with them.

Stay in touch: Even if your project is over, keep in touch and let them know you would love to work with them again.

5. Personalized  messages

Every time you deliver customer’s photographs, leave a handwritten card along with something as simple as ‘you look beautiful’ or ‘you look good together’ or ‘I am unable to get my eyes off’ written on it. In between shoot and delivery too, you can mail them saying you’re already working for their beautiful pictures and would be handing them over soon. Make a note of their birthdays/ anniversaries and send personalized cards or just their photograph which you must store on your hard disk. One small print doesn’t cost a bomb and congratulations already; they are going to appreciate you for this effort.

marketing photography business

6. Festive/ holiday offers

Now this one is kind of obvious when it comes to marketing. Give special offers on festivals and holidays. This is the time people spend with their friends and families so they would want to get clicked. But remember, if there’s rise in demand of photographers, there also is chance they would want the best professional. Best in both, the business and fees! So give some offers or coupons and grab more clients.
Pre-marketing: Make a list of days you are occupied and for the remaining days, advertise in advance and declare your availability. Post on social media and try to gain customers.
Post-marketing: Flaunt your social media with best festival shots. This may help you next year, too.

7. Build Social media

Need we tell this is the easiest and pocket-friendly marketing tool? Even if you are not much into social media buzz, bring it in practice for the sake your business. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, don’t leave anything. Don’t use it just to showcase your pictures, be a watchdog instead. Keep updating and stay updated. Know what sells and work accordingly. If needed, don’t hesitate in re-designing your price chart, props and locations. Always have eyes on what’s in because no one wants to spend bucks on an old-school photographer. Post pictures or content at least thrice a week. We repeat, at least! Try to engage the audience by asking for their feedback in the comment section. Be humble and learn to accept criticism as well. Also, be careful not to bug people off by being too pushy.

Also, take note of what and where you are posting. Like, avoid posting landscapes on Instagram or making it Display Picture as you may get to crop it. You could use them well for Facebook, especially on cover. Before proceeding, do some homework for captions also.

8. Offer occasional photography workshops

On free days, when you don’t have any photo sessions to rush for, you can offer photography workshops to aspiring photographers. A lot of professional photographers turn to offer workshops after working for significant years. Even though you’re just starting out, you can contribute to these in many ways volunteering for them. This will open up networking opportunities that might lend clients.

9. Giveaways

Gifting would always boost your marketing photography business. Seek occasions to gift photographs to friends/ ex-colleagues/ relatives with your contact details on it. They surely would be impressed and might refer you to their known ones. The contact details you mention could be used further by them and get you prospective customers.

If you are looking to learn more such helpful tips on marketing photography business, head over to Pixpa.

Rohan is a Digital Marketer @Pixpa, where he helps professional photographers to build stunning portfolio websites.