For some reason I don’t get many landscape photographers contacting me so i’ve started to seek a few out. I find it an amazing art form that I am totally useless at. Anyway when I came across Michael’s work I instantly sent him an email and I was delighted to have a positive response. So for all you landscaper’s out there, here is one for you.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, my name is Michael, I am 30 years old and I live in Germany in a small town near Erlangen where I work as software engineer. I started photography in 2008 and since then invest quite much of my spare time in taking photos and processing them. I also like to travel which brings me to many beautiful photo locations around the world.
What made you get into photography?
Over the last years I’ve been starting to travel more and more and I somehow wanted to document those travels and bring back some memories I could look at over the years. This lead me to photography.
Another thing was that I liked to play around with postprocessing tools and wanted some own source material to mess around with. The focus has shifted now because I try to do less and less post processing but in the beginning this was one of the reasons.
How did you get started?
First I got myself a compact camera and made some basic attempts at photography. Since I like to go hiking and being out in nature besides taking travel photos I started with landscape photography.
The compact didn’t suffice for long because my favourites are sunrise and sunset scenes. To really start to capture the atmosphere of the places I visited during those times of day I needed more control and thus I bought a DSLR in september 2008.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I mainly do Landscape photography. This is just what I like the most, being out in nature, waiting for that special moment and then trying to capture it. It’s always a challenge to find the right places and being there at the right time but if you are it’s just so rewarding. Mostly I shoot around sunrise and sunset. Not only is the light special during those times but there are also less people around.
What gear are you using?
I still use a crop camera, the Canon EOS 40D – at some time I have to invest in a full frame dslr but currently the switching would be to expensive. I own a couple of lenses including a 11-16mm wide, a 17-50mm normal and a tele lense. Besides that my most important equipment is my tripod, a polarizer for every lense and Lee ND and GND filters.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
I love my Tokina 11-16mm wide lense. For landscapes a wide angle lense provides you with so much creative freedome to compose a picture. It lets you create your own view a little different to what people normally see. The wide angle also helps to draw the viewer into a picture if used right. Why the Tokina? Well for a crop Canon it’s just a super sharp wide angle lense – right out to the corners. Plus it has a sturdy feel to it.
How are you marketing yourself?
We shoud say how do I attempt to 😉 In the beginning I joined some photo communities to show my pictures, flickr (link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mibreit/) being one of the first.
I then made a little excursion into microstock but not for long. I soon learned that landscape photography doesn’t have much of a chance there and moreover as I begann to invest more and more time into my photos it just didnt feel right anymore to give them away nearly for free.
If somebody wants to license my pictures I now work together with a macrostock agency which is linked on my homepage. And there’s one important part in my marketing attempts. I got a homepage where one can find my pictures, personal info, a contact form, a blog, links to my print shop and info on how to license my photos. I think it’s important to have all that information easily accessible for potential customers.
Then it’s mostly word of mouth and participating in many communities or photo competitions to spread the link to my homepage and to show my pictures.
I also got a facebook fanpage since facebook has become a really big marketing tool today (link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Breitung-Photography/367883468540).
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Not an easy one. I’d say my all time favourite is “Yaki Point”. It was kind of a turning point for my photography. In april 2009 I made a 3 day trip to the Grand Canyon. I was still a newb then and kind of overwhelmed with this magnificent landscape. So how should I capture it in way that when looking at the photo later I would get a similar awed feeling as when standing there. This is what “Yaki Point” is for me, the first photo I took which creates that feeling to some extend.
One of my recent favourites is “Elgol – Isle of Skye” just fresh from my Scotland trip this may. It has all the elements which I’m looking for in landscapes. Vibrant colors, beautiful light, a wealth of details, a dramatic sky, the moving sea, looming mountains.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
I’m not there myself so it’s hard to give advice here. But I think it helps if you find your genre in photography and try to concentrate on developing your own style there – be it through a unique way to photograph or through your postprocessing. Today it’s quite hard to separate yourself from the masses if you just take good photos. The ultimate goal is that people will recognize your work. I strive for it even if I might never achieve it. But it’s good to have some distant goal.
Moreover it’s important to know where you stand. Look at photos from successful photoraphers and keep an objective view towards your work. This also keeps you motivated.
I also think it’s a good thing to get your own homepage. And you should really spend some time on it to give it a professional look and include a good way to present your images. Like I said above I think if some potential customers find your images somewhere it has a good effect if there’s a link to your homepage where they’ll find all information they need to license your images, get a print or to just contact you.