Alien Photos Make Amazing Stock
Posted Wednesday, 11 April 2007 by Tormod in Photography
An interview with the Canadian photographer Elena Elisseeva.
ow long have you been into photography?
- I took my first pictures with my dad’s old film SLR camera when I was about 12 or so. So if that counts as being into photography, it would make it very respectable 27 years! Stock photography is a fairly new thing to me though – I started submitting images about a year and a half ago. What got you into it?
- I learned about microstock business by pure accident – I was searching for some image on the net and one of the microstock sites came up. I liked the idea right away, signed up immediately, and submitted my first batch. It felt so great to put my creative energy to use. Most microstockers know the state of mind I was in the early days – feverishly taking pictures, overflowing with ideas, very often submitting images within hours of taking them. It was like being freshly in love with someone. The amazing convenience of the Internet and digital photography combination made it possible for me – I am too lazy for traditional photography business.What did you do with the first batch of money you earned from microstock? (Did you buy a bottle of sparkling for celebration or did you use it to pay for your phone bills?)
- Actually, neither. Bought some lights. Practically all my first year money was invested in photo equipment, books, some travel. I still spend a considerable part of my microstock income on upgrading equipment.What is your equipment?
- Currently it is a Nikon D200 and several Nikon professional lenses. Some lights, some screens, a nice tripod of course… I’d buy more stuff if I had room for it. Do you always have your camera with you?
- It used to be the case. I’d carry it literally everywhere I went. I am trying to leave it behind more these days especially when I am about to spend some time with my family or friends – you can’t turn your entire life into work, there has to be some balance. Plus, I take better pictures when I am not in a rush, there has to be enough time to relax and study the subject.What inspires you, both in photography and in life?
- Beauty. I know it sounds like a cliché, but so do many other true things in life. The beauty of a wet green leaf on a rainy day, majestic blue mountains covered with snow, yellow fuzzy gosling in spring, a twinkle of kind wisdom in an old woman’s eyes, the expression of infinite wonder on the face of a child holding a frog… the beauty of everything we call life.What is a perfect morning like to you?
- Sleep in till 11 am (so much for that magic early morning light), have a nice cup of coffee, go to my computer and discover that I had a whole bunch of image sales already.
- Improving and achieving new goals is the way of life for me. The moment I feel there is nothing to improve in my photography I will quit and go do something else. Fortunately, there is always something new to learn. I experimented a lot with lighting, depth of field, different lenses, Photoshop techniques, etc. I read books and online tutorials, and made a lot of images during the last year. You have to try a lot of different things to find out what works and what doesn’t, and to find your own unique style. The other part of it is having good equipment. My first images were taken with my old Canon Powershot G2 that I got as a birthday present years ago. The quality that you get with a nice camera and a good pro lens does make a difference. Of course, equipment doesn’t make the photographer, but a good photographer can benefit greatly from using the right equipment. What is your perfect model like?
- My perfect model is relaxed and genuine. It is not easy to take pictures that doesn’t look “posed”, and this is what I am after. It doesn’t have to be a pretty face, but it’s very important for the personality to shine through. My most successful people images are the ones where I managed to capture the real mood of the person. This is what makes a still picture alive. At last, there's just one more question i have for you; if were abducted by aliens, and was asked to have a lecture on what you do. How would you explain your profession to a lot of green people?
- I would tell them “Hmmm, allow me to show you what I do…” and photograph them to death! I mean, aliens – that’s amazing stock, isn’t it? …Check out Elenas brilliant portfolio here