I came across Alexei on 500px, awhile ago and have been a fan ever since. It was great to see how he approaches his work, I hope you enjoy this. Don’t forget we are running a little competition to win some triggers. It’s open to everyone so make sure you get your entries in.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am originally from Moscow, Russia, but live in Western Germany since 2003. I started into photography in 2010, not really knowing what I want to achieve or what genres I’m gonna shoot. It just developed itself, that I now shoot people, mostly fashion, portrait, erotique etc.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
It’s not like I was really fascinated by smth to start taking pictures… Before I started into photography I was doing some videocutting stuff. At that time my only experience with photography was taking snapshots with a compact cam. A friend of mine was shooting landscapes and street on his travels, and I just really liked the quality of his pictures. That’s it. I was going after the quality and bought a dslr, too. It started like that.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
I own only 3 lenses, which I always take to a shoot – 50 1.4, 85 1.8, 17-40 4.0 Canon lenses. Most of the time I shoot with the primes, but I love the look of the wideangle shots, too. 50 1.4 I use the most.
I also take some speedlites with me all the time, although I prefer shooting with the available light.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
Social media is very important for me to market myself. Facebook is the most important communication platform for getting jobs and new important contacts for me right now.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
The left of this two. No significance.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
I wanted to try some color filters and combine this with constant lightning, not just strobes.
For this photo I used a cyan-blue background, model standing 1m away from it. From the left side (for the viewer) I used a strip light softbox as main light. On the left side I had 2 lights – a strobe with blue colour gel on it, pointing at models head/shoulders, and a constant lightsource from the bottom, pointing up to the model, with an orange gel on it. Camera Info is given to you on the 500px, so you can see, that the shutter speed was 1/2sec – to have the blur effect from the constant light source.
In postediting this photo I retouched the skin intensively, made the highlights pop and added some depth by dodge & burning.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?
I use Photoshop CS5. Can’t think of not using it. But that doesn’t mean, that I do everything in post. I try to achieve as much of the endresult, as possible during the photography process. Postediting is important for perfect skin and color correction and creating the look, that I like. It always depends on the certain photo…sometimes postediting is really intensive and lasts mulptiple hours for one photo and sometimes the raw-convertion is nearly enough.
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
Can’t think of anything. Often just camera is all what you need.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
Like I said previously, I use Facebook for my marketing. I update my portfolio on my private accont and on my fanpage every week.
Besides that, I post my photos on my flickr photostream and on 500px. Flickr was the first photocommunity/service, I ever used, since I started, so I am going on with it. I like 500px because of the high quality of the uploaded content there.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
I do sometimes, yeah. Usually it doen’t last long. If this happens, I just take a break and do something else, that has nothing to do with photography. Watching movies and relaxing helps a lot.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
When you think of the past, you always know, how to do anything better. Not only in photography. But I do not regret how it developed.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
I am not a pro, so this advice is relevant for me as well – never stop learning new stuff to get the best out of your work and hate your photos after a while, so you keep yourself motivated to get better)).