TAKE THE BEST TRAVEL PHOTOS - Q&A WITH A PHOTOGRAPHY PRO
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
EIVIND MØLNÅ is a Norwegian self-taught photographer I came across (and featured!) on my Instagram page multiple times - because he's that good. I got the chance to pick his brain about photography and how he grew into the photographer he is today. Read on to learn more! And definitely check out his Instagram page, you won't regret it.
Q: Being from a country as beautiful as Norway, a country that's notably all over Instagram - do you feel you have an artistic advantage?
A: Well, I know the country quite well and I don't have to travel as far as some others, but whether I have an advantage artistic, I'm unsure. I feel lucky anyway to live in such a nice country with such beautiful natural surroundings.
Q: Where do you think is the best place to visit in Norway and why?
A: There are so many places I've been obsessed with, but the best overall experience I have is from Lofoten. Undoubtedly. Really powerful nature and very down to earth and pleasant people. I get sad whenever I have to leave, almost like a cohabitation breach.
Q: What’s your favorite book and why?
A: Book? What is it? Hehe... I can't boast of reading so many books, so I do not know. The last book I read may be the book about Zlatan I think. One who has learned his life in the tough way, good story. I actually read the whole book for once.
Q: Is there anything you think that’s motivated you to keep going in difficult times? Whether during down times in your career, life, etc.
A: Well, when you feel that you have reached the bottom, there is only one way to go. Unsure of what motivates me in heavy times, but going out into nature to clear my head, taking pictures or doing some strength training has always been a bit of mental medicine for me. Also like to lie on the living room floor listening to good music.
When not motivated, it's easy to see things dark, but always trying to learn from your mistakes and see opportunities instead of digging down. This applies both to photography and to everyday life. Do not let yourself be caught in eternal negativity!
Q: When did you become interested in photography? Did this happen like an obsession or did you gradually grow to love it?
A: I'm a little unsure when it really started, but I've been involved in photography as a hobby now for about eight years. I had different cameras at the start, but it was when I first bought my Nikon DSLR that interest arose. So there has been a gradual increase in photography interest, and now it has become a part of me.
Q: You've mentioned on your website you've had the best luck with Nikon equipment and some Sony - is this still your favorite equipment to work with and why?
A: Nikon is still closest to my heart, but lately I have used more and more Sony. I am a gear boy, so I like to test different cameras and optics. I've been through both canon, Fujifilm and Oympus, in addition to the Nikon and Sony that I have now. You can get good pictures with the most, so there is a lot of taste and pleasure in what you like.
Now I've got a good system with having Nikon as my main one where I use a D810. This is a fantastic camera for landscape photography due to low ISO and incredibly good sharpness. In addition, I use Sony (A7ii) to test various manual / older optics. This has a built-in stabilizer, so you can get vibration reduction on old optics. There are lots of adapters to Sony that allow you to use both Leica, Minolta, Contax, etc., at the same camera house. This makes things a little more easy and exciting.
I also got a drone that I have become big fan of. This has been named "Ronny". Ronny is with me on most tours. He gives me new perspectives at the most, allowing me to see things from new angles.
Q: How did you learn how to edit your photos? Is there a specific software you use? What's the first thing you use when starting to edit your work? Explain the process you typically go through.
A: I am self-taught and have picked up tips through both photo books and youtube etc. I use Lightroom for virtually all editing.
Also have photoshop, but there I am quite a beginner yet. I have taken a lot of inspiration from downloading various presets, and have learned to edit better from that. Now I have developed a few of my own presets that I use on most of my pictures.
Once I have put the pictures over in Lightroom, first I go through everything and delete what's bad. Then I put on one of my presets and adjust a little bit from it. Sometimes a little extra touches to make things pop up in the picture etc. I'm not an expert on editing, I'm still learning new things.
Q: Is photography your full-time career or something you dabble with on the side?
A: Photography is a hobby I am doing in my spare time. I love to experience Norwegian nature, which makes me relax in everyday life. This is great for combining with photos. I work daily in production at a dairy plant.
Q: Going through your Instagram feed, it appears your work has gone from a little on the lighter side to taking a more visible darker tone - is this something you're hoping to continue doing?
A: That was something I decided to do a little while ago. In the past, I liked to edit each image uniquely in each style, but I now try to keep more solid in a slightly darker and more dramatic theme. I do this in an effort to grow more on instagram. It has proven to be quite good to stick to a specific style, and it seems that most people like it.
I have learned that most people follow a style and that one user can not do everything. It was important for me to find a style that suited both the wharves in Trondheim and the mountains, as that's what I base my entire instagram account on.
Q: When you're packing your gear for your trips - what equipment takes priority over others? What's the first thing you reach for as a must have?
Well, camera equipment is prioritized over clothes.. not always so smart.. What I have with me depends a lot on what I'm doing. On a typical nature/mountain trip, I like to bring with me the Nikon D810, 16-35mm & 70-200mm (or 28-300mm & 20mm if I do not want to change the lens so often) in addition, Ronny is with me of course. On a tour of the city, it is often Sony A7ii together with 2-3 manual lenses. A tripod and some filters are also often found in the bag.
Q: What's your favorite lens to use and why?
A: This is hard to answer...On my Nikon I'm fond of my Nikon 70-200mm f / 4. Amazingly great to crop scenes in the mountains. Sharp, relatively lightweight and easy to use.
On Sony there is between Voigtlander 12mm f / 5.6 and Minolta MC 58mm f / 1.2. The 12mm gives a totally unique point of view and is very fun to use. The Minolta is a pure classic that works equally well for both portrait and landscape.
Q: With all the equipment you have i.e. lenses, cameras, drones, etc. Is there anything you wish you hadn't splurged on getting?
A: No, I do not think so. I buy all the equipment used, and only when I get it for a good price. That way, I can sell it if I do not like it and sometimes even earn it a bit. However, I bought a Sigma 150-500mm once that was nothing to brag about.
Q: What photo is your absolute favorite and why?
A: Hmm. Good question, but quite frankly, I have no idea. I have a few favorites, but it's hard to pick out only one.
Perhaps one from my road trip south around Sogndal, when I came on a stretch where the clouds hung down the mountains. It was raining, but it was still quiet. The small boat houses became so small in the mighty landscape, and it was an amazing mood
Q: What's your top tip you would share with someone just starting out and hoping to grow their social media work?
A: Now I'm not so big myself, but have grown faster lately than before. Sticking to a fixed style helps a lot. Edit your photos so that those who see them think "this is your photo". Post pictures regularly, but not too often. Share only your absolute best pictures. It's a lot about how the Instagram "scroll" looks.
Q: Is there anything you do to further your photography skills? Do you buy courses online, reach out to other photographers to work with them for a shoot, etc.?
A: I have been quite a lone knight so far, but I've met some other photographers for a little shoot. I feel you learn the most from trying things out yourself. And as mentioned earlier, I find inspiration and learning on Youtube, photo books and through various presets.
Q: Has anyone else's work influenced your own?
A: Yes, I believe so. I have found a lot of inspiration from different instagrammers such as @maxrivephotography that has some incredible landscapes. I have also found a lot of useful tips on Phillip Reeve's blog with regard to manual optics and the use of Sony mirrorless system.
Q: What's the biggest thing you wish you knew before starting photography?
A: To take pictures in RAW format and not in JPEG format. I have returned to the archive sometimes and found that I have taken pictures in JPEG format. These are much harder to edit than shooting RAW.
Q: What's the hardest thing about photography? Is there anything you wish people understood about what it takes to get "the perfect photo"?
A: Sometimes it may be necessary to stretch the boundaries to go to areas that may not be allowed. On the outside of fences and such. This is to get the right angle for the image you are going to take. I've gotten some angry glance, but it's usually worth it..
Q: What's your favorite thing about photography?
A: It helps me to get out into nature even if it's not nice weather. I like a bit rough weather, which often gives the pictures a more dramatic look. It is also a nice relaxation from everyday life.
Q: What is your biggest dream for your photography work?
A: I'm actually a bit uncertain yet. I want to reach out to more people. Perhaps gradually go over to work more with photo, sell prints, take some assignments and such. I would like to travel more. But right now I just like to do what I do, to take the photos I want.
There you have it!
I want to give a HUGE thank you to Eivind for taking the time to answer these questions - especially since it's not his first language!
To all you readers, I hope you all learned more about photography and about Eivind as a person, because he is the definition of awesome.
If you're interested in an interview, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org