An Interview with Baloncici
In this issue of Hear It! we share with you Baloncici's Interview, who has a passionate love for spontaneous photography - may it be food & cuisine, objects, sceneries or his illustrations, he always put a little bit of himself into every image.
1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software).
I started doing stock photography with a not really top of the range digital camera, Fuji S5600. I however upgraded it to Fuji S9500 and Fuji S9600 in a short period of time. But let me tell you how amazed I was when I made a switch to Canon EOS-400D. I wasn't a firm believer of top of the range Digital SLR can improve your work that significantly. So my advice to all you stockers is to invest as much as you can in equipment. It pays off. I am going for a Canon EOS-5D soon :)
2. What do you think of photography these days?
These days almost everyone can afford a digital camera. It has its advantages and flaws. As for the advantages we have so many people who are able to express themselves through photography. There is no expensive developing process. You can review your shots instantly, repeat it if necessary and just delete the ones you are not happy with. Everybody should have an equal opportunity to show their work. That is why microstock was a very refreshing idea to photography world. The main and maybe only flaw is that it lost exclusivity that it had in the past. But, that is a bit of my own (not general) opinion because I love uniqueness.
3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
When I was a kid, I wanted to become a chef. Although I didn't follow my childhood dream, I still cook for fun and my love for food is reflected on my photography work as well. If you look through my gallery, you will see that nice looking tasty food is one of my favorite subjects in stock photography.
4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
I was infatuated with photography at an early age. I still remember the day I got my first camera, Russian model "Smena 8" when I was in third grade. At that time I was taking pictures of my friends and landscapes. Most of those first photos came out a little blurry and underexposed, but still I was very excited when I picked them up from the photo processing centre. Although I wasn't making miraculously good photos at first, it did not destroy my enthusiasm and love for photography. My work improved a lot, but what ever you do it can be done better one day. So, my motto is to work on my photography skills and aim for the best.
5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
In my opinion the best is to be patient and persistent. You must not let anything bring you down. Of course, being original is a BIG advantage. But let's be real here, not a lot of subjects are left for you to explore. Especially in commercial photography like stock. Almost everything has been said and done. But what you can do is to bring fresh views to each topic and create unique styles by which people will recognize your work. Of course, this is not achievable overnight, so that's why being patient and persistent is your strongest weapon. Use them wisely with your talent and results will show.
6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
The biggest challenge for me was to create photos that are unique and original, perfect in technical ways and still widely usable commercially. I do not think I have achieved this yet, but pay close attention to my portfolio. I strongly believe I am going to produce that photo.
7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
The best perk as a photographer in my opinion is being able to travel. Although in my case, a question must be raised if the traveling is a perk of photography or the other way round. I like to travel so that I can take pictures of beautiful things and there is no point seeing all those things if I cannot freeze the moments with my camera. So photography and traveling are closely connected to my life. One cannot exist without the other.
8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
I do not plan sessions at all. I hate to work in a studio because the work in that case is very limited. It becomes the mass production of what you've already made in your head. Most of my shoots are made spontaneously. I just go out of the house and not know what am I going to come back with in my camera. That is a kind of excitement that draws me towards photography from the beginning. I like to capture moments.
9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
My photos are spontaneous. Very colorful and alive. I like to capture moments I see around myself. Beauty of nature, urban architecture and also the diversity of different places on a globe, different cultures and so on. I try to cover as much subjects as I possibly can.
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.
Like I said, I do not prepare for my sessions. I let my imagination tell me what to take pictures of. So definitely "what my heart tells me". I try to be spontaneous because I believe that is the way I am most productive.
11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
The subject I like best is food photography. I enjoy both preparing and making photos of delicious, nice looking food. Or even the ingredients before I start to cook. Sometimes, the biggest dilemma is if I should take a photo first or eat my "subject" and take a picture of it another time. :)
12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
The hardest subject to work with are definitely people. If you have a good model it's a blessing and you can just stand there and click away while the models pose in front of your camera lens. But experienced and good models are hard to find. That is when a photo session becomes a nightmare. No matter how good a photographer you are, you cannot do anything if you do not have good material to work with. That's why I stick to objects in my photography work.
13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
My philosophy is to really enjoy in everything you do and results will be beautiful. Get your inspiration from everything around you. Be spontaneous, but always aim for perfection. Success may not be easily achieved, but it will be much sweeter once it is accomplished.
14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
I take inspiration from everything around me. That is why I always try to be surrounded by beautiful things. Inspirations also come from my travelings. There is so much diversity in the world. I try my best to capture just a part of it and show it to people who are unable to see it first hand. The looks on their faces going while through my photos are the biggest satisfaction I could possibly get.
15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
I just close my eyes, see the new place in my head and book the tickets. Simple as that, who could stay without inspiration in a new exotic and fresh place?
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 urge never leaves me. That is just how I go through my life. I consider my photos my memories. Everyone tries to collect memories as much as possible, so I am no exception. No matter if it's my professional or private pictures, I try to put a little bit of my life energy in every picture. The only downside to that is that some close friends and family wish to "get you" for some of the moments you have frozen, but they were not their favorite to remember, if you know what I mean :)
17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
I have learned how much I was prepared to do for a good photograph. I didn't even realize how passionate I was for photography in general and having that in your life pushes you to surpass your limits.
18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
Globally all the photographers from "National Geographic" magazine. It combines two of my greatest passion, photography and travel. I wish I could contribute a small part in capturing beautiful pictures of nature from icebergs to deserts. I really admire those people from NG.
19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
Learn from the others and learn from your own mistakes, that is the key to improving your work. Don't let anything get you down. Be patient and persistent. Don't give up on yourself and believe in your work. You must enjoy and be passionate about it if you want others to pay attention. Have fun and good luck to you all.