Emily's featured Stories:
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a 22 year old photographer from the UK with a passion for travel, exploring and all things adrenaline filled! I specialise in Landscape, wildlife and documentary photography and have been lucky enough to visit some incredible destinations such as The Arctic, South East Asia, The Amazon Rainforest, Africa, and New Zealand to name a few. I’m currently training to become a qualified skydiver in the hope I can one day use this to gain a ‘birds eye’ perspective on my photography! The next destination I’d love to visit is Canada and I’m planning an exciting expedition there in the upcoming months!
Where do you live at the moment?
I’m currently based in Manchester, England but plan on heading off again travelling in September for a few years - the open road is calling!
If you could live anywhere on this beautiful planet where would you build your dream home?
I think for me it would have to be New Zealand. I spent a month driving round the South Island in a camper van last year and fell head over heels in love with the place. The mountains and the scenery are comparable to nowhere else in the world…I’d without a doubt love to build a home in this beautiful wilderness one day.
What gear do you use?
For my landscape imagery I like to use a full frame camera with a prime wide angle lens such as the Nikon D800 combined with a 24mm lens, I find the two together create beautifully crisp shots and never fail to deliver! I also enjoy shooting film on occasion and use a medium format Mamiya RB67 with either Black & White or Colour transparency film. I find there’s something really beautiful about the grainy aesthetic you get from a photo shot on film that you can’t achieve with digital. When shooting wildlife I like to use my big 400mm f/2.8 Nikon Telephoto lens for close ups. It’s a beautiful, beautiful lens to use but the weight comes at a cost and a tripod is almost always necessary as my arms give way pathetically quickly (stupid small girl arms).
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
I really love using the Nikon 50mm prime f/1.4 lens for portraiture shots. I adore the shallow depth of field it creates for close up facial detail and the images always come out perfectly sharp and crystal clear even in poor lighting…it’s without a doubt a favourite lens of mine!
How would you describe your style?
I like to photograph things that WOW me, whether it be a sublime landscape, an amazing plant or animal, or somebody interesting and inspiring that I’ve spoken to. I think my style is quite traditional in the sense that I don’t heavily edit my images post production, I prefer to try and take striking, high quality imagery there and then so that it doesn’t require much work in photoshop afterwards. I want what I see with my eyes to directly transcend to what people see in my photographs.
Did you go to school to study photography?
I have a BA (Hons) Degree in Photography and I’m SERIOUSLY contemplating doing a masters abroad in the very near future!
Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?
I don’t tell many people but the one thing in the world I want to try and photograph is an incredibly rare species of bird called the Harpy Eagle. I spent a month in the Amazon Rainforest trying to find it, but had no luck due to the density of the rainforest and their illusive nature…although I did manage to find one of its feathers which is now one of my most prized possessions! They can grow just shy of 4 ft tall with a wingspan up to 7 1/2 ft and are well renowned for dragging monkeys and sloths off trees due to their sheer size and power! To be able to photograph this magnificent creature is a lifelong ambition of mine and I plan on returning to the Amazon Rainforest in the near future to have one more shot at it!
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?
A few years back I spent a month in the Amazon Rainforest and a month in the African bush, it was an absolutely incredible experience but it was before I fully appreciated the importance of image quality! I’d shot all my pictures in JPEG to save memory space thinking the quality wouldn’t be compromised but unfortunately it was. Many of my photos from the trip aren’t of a high enough quality to use professionally now, which is a real shame. I had some incredible close ups of wildlife such as Hippos, Crocs, Elephants, Leopards etc. and I could kick myself now looking back. If I could do one thing differently it would be to go back and be able to reshoot all my images again in RAW! *Sighhhh*
I’ve learned the most from…
I learnt a lot from my degree about the importance of image quality and how to print to a professional standard but mostly I learnt the majority of my skills from trial and error, experimenting, and talking to other photographers. In my opinion you can read as many books on photography as you like, but unless you put it into practice and experiment for yourself it’s difficult to get better!
What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?
My ultimate ambition is to be a contributing photographer for National Geographic or to be sponsored by Nikon or another photographic organisation! I’m also trying to break into travel journalism, I’ve recently started writing up my travel blogs and stories from the places I’ve visited so I’d be over the moon if the site took off and I could one day write articles for a travel magazine or something of that calibre!
If not a photographer, what would you have become?
I’ve always loved exploring so I think an alternate job would have to incorporate travelling in some way…possibly a Tour Guide somewhere remote and exotic? I’ve always toyed with the idea of being an instructor for an adrenaline filled activity like scuba diving or skydiving…that would be pretty awesome! But photography seems to be my calling for the time being :).
What is your marketing advice?
I think it’s important to have a very strong web presence, an eye catching website with technically strong and bold imagery that will grab peoples attention. I feel social media also plays an important role in marketing, ‘liking’ and commenting on others work and emailing potential clients or people you want to work with is the key to both getting noticed and creating a good network of followers and admirers of your imagery.
What was the last workshop or seminar you attended and why?
The last workshop I attended was on film processing. I’ve always been fascinated with the process of both taking a photograph, and how it transforms from just an image you see with your eye to something physical that you can touch and hold. As I sometimes like experimenting with medium format film, I wanted to learn how to process it myself…it was extremely fun and beneficial, another great skill to have!
Who is your favourite Photographer and why?
As cliche as it sounds I think my all time favourite has to be the great Ansel Adams! I remember seeing his black and white photographs of Yosemite as a child and just being in awe of them, I think Adams is one of the main reasons I became interested in photography and capturing wild places!
A photographer who inspires you?
The work of Sebastião Salgado has always been a huge inspiration to me. He takes photographs for a purpose, to initiate change, not just for his own self worth which I find extremely admirable. I’d love to be able to follow in his footsteps one day and document what goes on in the world in the hope of raising awareness, as photography after all is a powerful tool. I hope I can use that tool to try and make a difference in the future, just as Salgado has!
A website and/or blog you visit often?
I really love following photographer Travis Burke’s blog and imagery. Not only is he a photographer but he’s an adventurer as well and doesn’t let any obstacle stand in the way of capturing breathtaking and unique imagery! He seems like a fearless character which is another attribute I really admire, I’d love to be doing what he does one day around the world and he’s a massive daily inspiration to me.
Where would be your dream destination?
My dream destination is without doubt the Antarctic!!! I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Arctic which was an absolutely phenomenal experience, and now I’ve got my heart set on the opposite pole. I’d LOVE to see a Penguin in the wild and witness the magnificent glaciers before its too late! It’s an extremely extensive expedition both financially and geographically as it’s not somewhere you can really just ‘pop over to’ but I’ve promised myself I will make it there one day in the future…and I never break a promise!
How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
I’m never afraid to ask for help, and I don't think anyone should ever be ashamed to! If I see another photographer using a technique that I’d love to try then I’ll normally ask them how they’ve achieved it, and I’ll always try and reciprocate by giving any advice where I can! I feel there’s always new things to learn in photography, even the best of the best have scope for improvement, so it’s great when we can all help each other out.
What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such awesome imagery?
I don’t normally set out with a specific subject in mind that I want to photograph, the most planning I’ll do is when and where I’ll shoot but I normally just let the location inspire me on the day and my camera does the rest! Like I was saying earlier, I love photographing things and places that ‘wow’ me, so normally the subjects of my photographs provide the main body of interest. Although I do always like to put my own personal spin on the imagery, but my style is mostly very unplanned and documentary!
Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on?
I think like the majority of photographers, the ultimate dream would be to own a Hasselblad…but it would also be great to win the lottery and that’s possibly not too likely either! I recently had a play with a friends Nikon D3x and I have to admit I really didn’t want to hand it back over. It was a beautiful, effortless camera to use so I think the next time I have sufficient savings that will be my next purchase! (Any donations welcome).
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