Hear It!

Say ‘hello’ to Domen Colja from Slovenia, the featured photographer in our February 2012 edition of Hear It. Get to know more about him as he shares his tips on how be successful in the photography industry and the perks that comes along with it. Read on and be inspired by Domen’s words of wisdom.

Photographer: Domen Colja
Country of Origin: Slovenia

1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software).
EOS 400D (one spare) with battery grip, ST-E2, 550EX and 2x 430EX. Three light stands with silver/white umbrellas, background support system, EF 50mm 1.8, EF 28-135mm IS, EF-S 10-22mm, Wacom tablet, dual-display workstation. Software: Adobe Creative Suite CS3, using mainly PS, AI and ID.

2. What do you think of photography these days?
With an abundance of digital cameras available, it is very easy to be an amateur photographer but it is difficult to be an expert in photography.

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a software developer.

4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
My hobby is to design. So, about a year ago, I decided that it was time to get a DSLR camera and lighting equipment for studio shots to get started in photography.

5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
To be successful, one should follow the microstock trend and produce high-quality images that meets the demands of stock photo buyers

6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
Microstock is getting more and more crowded with highly talented individuals so the competition is definitely there. The most important thing is being able to compete with them on a daily basis.

7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
I get to see the world with a more focused view. I also get to experience it in a simulated way, pretty much from a "mind's viewfinder". Of course, being a photographer has its limitations too.

8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
Usually, I would write down my ideas in a notebook.

9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
My work has a mix of portrait photography and some scenery-themed backgrounds.

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.
A bit of both. My shooting sessions come down to a 50/50 chance of "heart or mind" (if that's how we're going to call it), but it is the post-processing that really opens the door to a ‘feeling-oriented’ work flow.

11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
The creations that give me the most satisfaction are predominantly my domain of digital art that I don’t usually sell on microstock sites. But now, the situation is reversed as I progress through my development skills.

12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
Models with no experience in being photographed can be quite difficult but that is rarely a problem.

13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
As far as microstock is concerned, I try to envision what the buyers would want and need. Digital art is a totally different story as that is mainly a product of German philosophy vs. surrealism.

14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
Every photographic creation that I reckon is better than mine. Inspiration is always a circular process and never stagnates. It is mostly a phenomenon of on-the-spot preference that could be completely different depending on different moods or different minds.

15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
Nothing strictly photography related. I just give it time and the opportunity to be creative will come back to me.

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?
Think. As I've stated earlier, when an idea hits my mind, I will write it down elaborately in a notebook. This way, nothing gets wasted and I have time to develop it further when the opportunity comes (behind a viewfinder or Photoshop).

17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
The creative input I get from life (and the world) has the ability to be processed through a medium. In fact, photography is my most expressive tool.

18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
Lately, I’ve been admiring the works of a fellow Strobist that has been breaking the boundaries of traditional flash photography. They do stuff that is impossible to achieve if one was not a professional photographer (i.e. with all the expensive high-cost equipment available).

19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
Learn from taking a look around. Study the statistics and check out the most downloaded photos. Let the ones that do best in microstock teach you what the buyers usually look for and most importantly, diversify your work but maintain a unique style. That’s what will make you a unique photographer in the first place.

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