Being an engineer is a challenging and satisfying career. However, when you get more experience in your field, you may get bored from your job. I know because I am an engineer.
Today's guest, Hanns Strand, was an experienced mechanical engineer who successfully switched to a professional landscape photographer.
Hans has been winning lots of awards in his photography life, including the most recent award last year:
- 2014 Winner in PX3 prix de la fotographie, Paris
- 2014 Winner in Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards
- 2014 Winner in Spider Awards
In today interview, Hans have shared how he made a living before the internet bloom and after images become ridiculously cheap.
Let's welcome Hans Strand.How do you first get into photography and how long have you been doing landscape photography?
I bought my first camera in 1981. I was 25 years old and I took my first exposures in Yosemite National Park in California and got attached to landscape photography immediately. This connection with the landscape in front of my camera has remained ever since.Do you start photography as a landscape photographer, or you later changed into one and what do you like most about landscape photography?
I also practiced some street photography during the beginning of the 80-ties, but after 1990, when I quit my engineering job and became a professional photographer, landscape photography has been my thing.What inspires you to take landscape photography and how do you find new location to photograph?
I get inspired when I see intelligent compositions. I always judge an image from how it was made. The content has less importance to me. Generally I find way too many photographers are spending too much energy in shooting dramatic and large scale landscapes, whereas less energy is spend on how to interpret what is in front of the camera. The greatness in a landscape photograph is in the composition and not in mother nature itself. I really enjoy photographing intimate landscapes. Smaller scale landscapes with complexity and great composition. 2 square meters of poetry on a forest floor is to me often more interesting than a mountain peak in “hallelujah light”.What is typically in your camera bag?
It depends on the subject. I am using both cameras equally much. I am a dedicated wide-angle photographer though. I don´t care much for telephoto lenses. I have a 210mm for my Hasselblad and a 70-200 zoom for my Nikon, but I very seldom use them.What equipment are you looking to upgrade next?
I am not really interested in further upgradings for the moment. I rather spend my money on other thing than new cameras.Do you have any formal training in photography?
No, I am self taught and I have learned a lot by long time experience.Is there any challenges you face being a landscape photographer, and what are they?
The biggest challenge today is to make your living from your photography. It was a lot easier when I became professional in 1990. The competition from internet is devastating and prices on archive images have dropped to ridiculous levels. During the 90-ties I made my living more or less entirely from agency sales. Today I make almost nothing from that business. Today my major income comes from workshops and talks. I also sell some fine art prints.How do you prepare before going for a shoot?
I study maps and weather reports. That´s about it. My cameras are always ready and prepared.Do you have a post-processing workflow?
Yes, I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. To finalize an image into perfection is just as important as taking the picture. It is very important not to overdo the post processing though. An image should always have a real look. Overworked and over saturated images look unprofessional and kitschy to me.What is the most important thing you think of before you press the shutter?
I check the composition. Specially the corners, so everything is in balance. I spend a lot of my concentration in positioning my tripod and composing the image.Lastly, what tips/advice do you have for other aspiring landscape photographers?
As I have already said: to try to interpret what is in front of you. Not just capturing what you see. Be brave and try to add a personal twist in your work. Breaking rules are often leading you forward. Less is more. Better being too tight in your compositions than too wide.
Once again thank you Hans for the interview. If you want to know more about him, simply visit his portfolio website here.