Dear ,

Your imageBREAK number 009 is here!

Today, while working on the new format of our newsletters that will start rolling out next week, I am extremely happy to share with you my short conversation with Beno Saradzic.

Slovenian born Beno Saradzic is a versatile, multi-specialist visual artist with residence in Dubai, UAE.

Beno is known for his immersive time-lapse films and exceptionally envisioned architectural, aerial photographs. His distinctive realisations earned him a worldwide attention and accolades.

Beno’s works are regularly featured in international publications and exhibited across the Middle East. He makes frequent appearances as a speaker and is an avid photography educator.

He received numerous awards for his works. Most notable among them is the Emmy Nomination for outstanding cinematography, a ‘Gold World Medal’ for Best Cinematography at the New York Film Festival and the ‘Silver Dolphin’ from Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards. He is a first prize HIPA Winner in the Time Lapse category.

Beno is a brand ambassador for Fujifilm, 500px, NiSi Filters and Timelapse+.

Beno, why (the heck!) do you still photograph? What drives you? Why do you keep grabbing that camera over and over again?

I'm not sure what drives me - it's like a muscle memory. I see something and my hand involuntarily reaches for the camera. I don't really have any say and it's weird. :)
Anyway, that's part joke, but part true as well. I really don't think that passion which comes from somewhere deep can be quantified or rationalized. Some people are crazy about sport cars, some about golf. Personally, I do feel a genuine need to express myself with means of creating and outputting visuals, still or moving. I don't even care if this medium is a camera; it doesn't need to be. I create visuals with a 3D CGI workstations too. I don't limit myself when I feel the urge to produce an image.

What was the very best decision you made in the past (and I am talking in practical terms) that helped you getting where you are as a photographer today?

Best decision? There wasn't any, I really didn't think about it. Knowing how to take a good picture with a camera was like a personal challenge which I took on without hesitation, out of sheer curiosity and wanting to be better at photography. Motivating factors are all over; all you need to do is open your eyes. There are so many amazing artists who produce fantastic body of work. It's out there on social media, in the books, in the movies. It's literally everywhere. Inspiration will assault you from every direction and you won't be able to hide from it. You just need to be conducive and accept the fact the education never stops. I got better because I practiced a lot and continue to do so, every single day. The biggest lesson I got from it was that gear won't make you better. Failing and learning from mistakes will.

Do you think it still makes sense to try pursuing a career as a professional photographer these days? Or is it way more enjoyable when photography simply remains one's hobby?

That's a million-dollar question and I won't lie when I say this; it's getting harder and harder for a pro photographer to justify his or her rates today. Many of my clients today have difficulties understanding why I need this much gear, so much preparation, planning, production and post-production time to produce a high-quality series of photos or time lapse sequences. The budgets have also been slashed and it's mainly due to the way we consume the images today. "Thank" social media for that.

Once you turn pro and accept money from your client, a lot of things change, very fast. You won't always be shooting the subjects you like. Tight schedules will dictate the dates you’re on location and that means you won’t always shoot on a nice day in a nice place. Some places will be hot, some cold, wet, some dusty and physically challenging. You will carry a lot more gear than you'd like. You'll have to get up before dawn to be on location and sometimes work for 14, even 18 hours straight to get the job done on time. Client pressure, agency briefs, restrictive budgets, deadlines, financial proposals, paperwork and bureaucracy will put a very heavy strain on your love for photography. Personally, I still enjoy it, as a hobbyist and as a pro. But I’ve reached a phase where I’m selective about the projects and clients which come my way. If I feel I won't like the assignment, I choose to avoid it. I think it’s the right approach for longevity in this business.

Is social media something every photographer should be taking seriously these days? If so, would you mind sharing any useful tactic regarding using social media platforms? If no, what do you think is the most effective way of marketing yourself as a photographer these days?

Social media isn't only changing the way we shoot, produce and consume audiovisual content. It's changing the photography as a medium itself and the entire business of photography and videography. What used to be a glossy, double-page spread of a property in an architectural digest, a high-end TV commercial for a new car, lipstick or fragrance during Prime-Time slot a few years ago is an Instagram Story and a promoted Facebook post today. Videos have gone from horizontal to vertical aspect ratio to accommodate the smartphone screens and our viewing habits. Brands, marketing and Ad agencies today work with Social Media influencers and "content creators" to promote their products and services. Their production and media budgets today are about 90% lower compared to 10 years ago. But the sales numbers and brand visibility achieved through Social Media campaigns deliver same, if not better results, so what do you expect? Virtually all clients now advertise (almost exclusively) on social media, as opposed to print and TV. It’s no longer a new trend. It’s a new standard.

If you're a working photographer today, that's your challenge. Shooting your subject hasn’t changed much in the past 20 or 50 years. What has totally changed is where you work is now seen and how your customers value your work. You really have no choice but to hop on board or be left out, as an extinct dinosaur. But it’s a generational thing. Most older photographers aren’t taking social media very seriously but that’s mostly coming from a fact that they don’t understand it. Majority of the photographers only use Social Media to share their pictures for a few Likes, Comments and Follows which only lead to more Likes, Comments and Follows. Rarely do their social media posts translate into anything tangible, like sales or commissioned shoots.

But the most successful photographers today are those who use the full potential of Social Media like TV presenters on entertaining programs and popular public figures. They’ve learned that staying ahead means being comfortable being in front of the camera, not just behind it. Social Media is very powerful for its ability to make the photographers appear more knowledgeable, personable, relatable and trustworthy. Done the right way, Social Media can turn photographers into personalities who connect with their audiences and potential clients with wit, humor, wisdom, skills and element of entertainment. And all that social media buzz then channels traffic to their websites where the real business happens. One great video photography tutorial, a series of tips or behind-the-scenes Vlog will go miles further than a picture of a waterfall.

Who should I interview next? Any photographers you think it would be worth featuring on imageBREAK?

I greatly admire the work of Marc Adamus; he's such a crafty and dedicated landscape photographer.


Thank you so much, Beno.

You can talk to Beno too!

Let's surprise Beno! You can let Beno know that you found out about him through imageBREAK. I am sure it would make him really happy.

Click here to drop him a message.

It would be really a nice gesture.

Coming up... and yes, it will be free!

Watch your inbox this upcoming Thursday: you will receive a free cheatsheet "Time Lapse Cinematography -  Gear and Processing Guideline" by Beno Saradzic absolutely for free.

Do you have photography friends?

, I do hope you enjoyed this edition of imageBREAK. If you have good friends who enjoy photography as much as you do, I would really appreciate if you could share today's edition with them and let them know about imageBREAK.

Thank you so much.

Have a great light and we will talk again soon.

Yours truly,

Tomash

imageBREAK

imageBREAK

6048 Horw
Switzerland

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