Hear It!

Antonio Nunes a.k.a. ajn from Portugal is our star highlight in this issue of Hear It! A man of great passion and ambitious dreams, he sees photography as a roller coaster experience in general; bringing along excitement, joy, hard work, self discovery, determination, ups and downs, and for many - success! All these and more in this month of Hear It!

Photographer: ajn / Antonio Nunes
Country of Origin: Portugal

1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software).
  • Cameras: Canon EOS 5D.
  • Lenses: Canon EF 17-40 F4 L, Canon EF 24-105 F4 L, Sigma 100-300 EX, Canon EF 50mm F1.4 and Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX Macro.
  • Flash: Canon Speedlite 550EX (external flash).
  • Lighting: 4 x 420w strobes lighting and other accessories such as barndoors, umbrellas and softboxes.
  • Photo editing software: Adobe Photoshop on Windows platform.
  • Other accessories: Spyder 2 calibration system.

2. What do you think of photography these days?
Well, digital has created a boom in content. With the rise of camera phones, compact cameras, SLRs and a great assortment of other photography equipments, more and more people are discovering the art. However, on the creativity aspect, things aren't evolving as fast.

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
A grown up :-) I've always kept my options open. I like to feel passionate about what I do and will work towards achieving it.

4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
I've always loved imaging as a whole (cinematography, photography, painting). I found out that photography was my choice of language, so here I am now.

5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
Set very high standards, do your research, be imaginative, be committed and be sure you produce enough images to be noticed!

6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
It would be the process of understanding what works for stock. I've come to learn that fine art photography and stock photography have completely different approach. Now, I find myself working on subjects I've never thought of a few years ago.

7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
It would be the ability to do what I love most at my own pace. And since it is passion-driven, it hardly ever feels like work.

8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
It starts off with a detail research about the current trends, special occasions and events. Sometimes, it's also a matter of opportunity that leads me to explore a certain subject. When I travel, I'll always choose a new location to shoot and explore.

9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
I think it's clean and simple. The elements of message in my work are of greater value for a stock portfolio than a complete message itself. It is therefore up to the designer to explore new ways of using those elements to achieve his message/goal. If you are coming from other types of photography, you will need time to understand it all.

10. Do you shoot to what your heart tells you or do you go through a complex check list in your mind when you produce your work? Describe the feeling/check list.
I think it's a mix of both situations. There are things that I check before shooting such as lighting, angles and concepts, but most of it will come naturally when I'm shooting. It's like entering a roller coaster. You really don't think while you're at it. You just feel it :-)

11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
I love to travel and I love landscape photography. I love being all by myself at some place, feeling totally overwhelmed by what surrounds me and portraying it as I feel it. Also, I do notice the little details that make something special. Some of my favorite images are not necessarily my best sellers. Shooting stock is a compromise between market needs and self-fulfillment.

12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
It really depends on what appeals to you. If you really love what you're doing, you won't describe it as hard. Challenging may be a better word. For me, the hardest subject is model shooting because you have to know what you want very clearly, (this is the hard part) make others understand it and make it work for you.

13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
As time passes, I find myself being more and more demanding about what I do. I thoroughly select images to submit and I'm usually my greatest critic.

14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
Everything around me works as an inspiration. I always try to find the "better" side of things.

15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
Sometimes I just wait. Pushing it is not really the way to go for me. I browse through galleries, magazines, books and other media everyday to get inspirations. I might not necessarily be looking for something. It's more like a starting point to something I might like to create or that I think would work.

16. Tell us about a time when inspiration just hits you, and you felt the insatiable urge to create. What did you do with that energy?
That can be tough. My brain just feels like it's going to explode at times like that! :-) I can hardly sleep and will find myself doing things at the strangest hours.

17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
I already knew that I was a perfectionist and have always battled myself to achieve it. Photography is just the best way I have to express myself.

18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
There are too many to mention in so many different angles of photography. My tastes are rather eclectic and I find myself admiring different kinds of work, some of which I would never try to pursue myself. As for stockers, anyone who is hard working and humble enough to admit there are ways to improve deserves my admiration.

19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
This is a long run. Don't expect immediate results or that this is easy money. Conduct more research and be demanding with your work. You should also develop the skills to understand what is good and bad stock photography. If you don't think it's worth it, it probably isn't. Take good attention to trends but do not hold yourself back on rejections. Move along and don't worry too much about them because you are only wasting the energy you could use to create more and better work.

One important thing to know about stock is it involves dealing with ebb and flow. Everything works in cycles. Don't let a low period bring you down. Read more about the industry on forums and publications, but make your own conclusions. What works for others may not work for you and feeling comfortable with what you do is what makes it worthy.

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