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Interview with Kirk Hille

The last few interviews have been more of based on portrait photography so changing direction a little today, we have Perth based landscape photographer Kirk Hille. Kirk provides a pretty full featured interview into his work along with lots and lots of photos for your viewing pleasure. Check it out.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m 30 year old Perth based part time photographer. I lived in various country towns around Western Australia before moving to Perth 12 years ago. I have seen some amazing landscape Australia has to offer during my travels. I think growing up in the country area has given me an appreciation of the natural environment. I specialise in Landscape photography and panorama work, I love to work with vivid , bright bold colour in my images and my favourite time to photograph is during sunrise and sunset .

My work can be found at the following
Website : www.kirkhillephotography.com
Blog : www.kirkhille.wordpress.com
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/Kirkhillephotography

What inspired you to get started in photography?

I wish I could say I first found my love of photography at an early age . However I didn’t start photography until 2007. I have all ways had an artist side from a young age be it drawings or painting etc and been a tech and computer junkie from a young age so I guess you could call me an artistic nerd which seems like a good fit for a photographer. I first really found my interest in photography in 2007 during a few trip down the South West of Western Australia and seen some of the amazing landscape it has to offer. My first purchase was a Canon 400D with the twin kit lens and started off as primarily a hobby. After a year or so my passion quickly become a love of photography. I’m completely self taught myself the trade from various sources like photo sharing website, magazine, books, trial and error and various friends.

I have been fairly lucky with photography and picked up the skills necessary fairly quickly. I have been pretty lucky early off in my career with various exposure and contacts. I have had images featured and 10 page articles in various magazines around the world from the Australia , UK to Taiwan. I have also had various other exposure from Television, book novel covers, calendars and advertisement sources.

From now my photography has only been part time and landscape based, due to a demanding full time job and hectic personal life. However I’m currently working on turning it into a full time career and have been diversifying my photographic skills with weddings, events, real estate and commercial etc photography which I’m keeping separate from Kirk Hille Photography Landscape business.

What Gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without ?

The gear I take on each shoot depends on the what I’m photographing . I currently have a wide selection of canon gear and my main work horse of my gear is the Canon 5D MKII .

My gear consist of the following
Canon 5D MKII
Canon 600D
Canon F/1.4 50mm Lens
Canon 24-70mm f2.8 USM L Lens
Canon EF 17-40mm F/4L USM L Lens
Canon 70 – 200mm F2.8 L Lens
Canon EF 100mm F/2.8 USM Macro Lens
Lee Series ND and ND grads
Stingh Ray Filters
Really Right stuff BH-40 LR II Ballhead
Manfrotto 055CX Pro4 4 section Carbon Tripod
Manfrotto 5488RC2 Tripod Head
Canon 580EX II Speedlite Flash
Garry Fong Lightspere Pro kit
Lowepro Slingshot 200AW Backpack
Lowepro Compu Trekker AW
Photoshop CS5
PTgui pro

The lens I currently can not live without and use for the majority of my shots is the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 USM L Lens. I find it is a very versatile lens for landscape and still holds excellent sharpness and color for a zoom lens. Plus with the panorama work it excels within the 50 to 70mm focal length on the full frame.

How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?

I personally haven’t really started a full market campaign yet . But believe it is probably the most important part to establishing a business . Good target marketing and business plan is essential in today’s saturated market place.

Depending on what you want out of photography you should if its as purely as a hobby, artistic, extra cash, side business, career etc will change who you run or market yourself. There are a lot of great photographers out there who excel in there work but have poor business management and marketing , like wise there are a lot companies out there that are doing well in business because of good marketing not product. However there are a small amount of exceptions with some photographers been able to make a name and business for themselves by just concentrating on there photography and art rather then the business side.

At present I have been working on my portfolio and photography , and developing a certain style and working out a good business plan and market. At present I have been fairly luck to establish a fairly descent size audience using several different social medias which has given me some unique exposure.

I currently working on establishing some strong network contacts in various industries the old fashion way with face to face contact. Which works better in establishing relationships and business opportunies then social media. I look at social media side as bonus extra for fans and contacts to stay in contact with me and share my work.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?

Hard question, I personally have a lot of photos I like and my taste and likes change over time. I personally don’t think I could choose a single favourite photos but a bunch of photos that would be in my top ten.

My most popular photo would have to be of the Matilda Bay Boat house long exposure.

What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?

This is probably one of the biggest debate between photographers over whether photos should be post processed. There are two types of post processing available image manipulation and image enhancement. I use adobe suite and photoshop for my editing, and fall into the image enhancement side of the debate. I enhance my images with selective curves, levels, contrast, exposures and colour vividness and hue etc to create a image simular to what I experienced at the time from my memory.

I personally don’t have a problem with any type of post processing as long as people don’t claim or market false or misleading information, they don’t have to advertise that an image is manipulated or enhanced but when they claim its all in camera I personally believe this is misleading, that is why the other side of the debate about all in camera get annoyed.
As a final point with photography today a lot of photographers are unaware that the digital photos they have taken have almost always been enhanced by the camera itself .

Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?

I have a few favourite photography accessories and depending on your style of photography will depend on what accessory’s you use . Been primarily landscape photographer my two favourite accessories are me Lee filter sets and a good light weight tripod.

I personally believe a good quality filters are a must for landscape photography, doing a lot of panorama work they save a lot of time by getting an even exposure. There are ways around not using filters like multi exposures but this also increases time post processing. I would also recommend buying a good quality set of filters like Lee or Singh ray as with some of the cheaper options get colour cast.

The second main accessory is a good quality light weigh tripod and head. As I travel a lot and hike to get some of my shots I like to keep my gear as light as possible. I would recommended spending the extra and buying a good light carbon fibre tripod and good quality head that is light enough , but sturdy enough and compact enough but still has enough height. I know from personal experience that the few extra less kilos can make a huge difference and you may be more inclined to hike that extra 500 meters to get the shot.

Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?

The above photo of Crawley Boat shed was taken with the Canon 5DMKII and 24-70mm F/2.8L USM Lens and 10 stop Singh ray filter and polarizer . Camera setting were as follows
F/L : 24mm
ISO: 50
S: 95s
As been the first real time I used the Singh ray filter it was a bit of trial and error with exposure times .
Image was taken through photoshop with minimal editing just selective curves and levels adjustments .

Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?

There are a lot of different photo sharing sites out there. I currently using a lot of them but have a few favourite ones. Currently one of my favourite ones is 500px which has some amazing work on there from a huge variety of different photographers. The site is nice and clean and easy to navigate so would be my preferred site other then my website which is having a redesign and should be live next month.

Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?

Yes I have had this at certain times for various reasons, some ways I use to read some other photographers books for inspiration, take a trip to a new photo location, take a photography short course by various photographer whos work you like or meet up with some other photographers for shoots. I think all people who work in any artistic job be it painting, writing or photography suffer this at some stage and they have to find what works for them to over come this.

Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?

They only thing I regret is not starting photography at a younger age lol. I have travelled around all of WA in my younger years and seen some amazing landscapes and light I wish I could have captured.

Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?

If you are wanting to make photography a career I would advise any new comers to study business as well, and have a good business plan and market.

Visit Kirk Hille – website, blog and facebook

Author Tristan

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