My name is Tobi and I´m a thirty eight year old, just-for-the-fun of it, photographer from Bavaria, Germany.
How long have you been taking pictures?
I started in 2006 with photographing landscapes and capturing my outdoor hiking trips. In 2012, I slowly started photographing people.
When did you get into photography and why?
I bought my first DSLR in 2006. Good old (Konica) Minolta was about to leave the camera industry so I had the chance to get a Minolta Dynax D7D at a very good price. I thought, when I spent a few weeks on what seemed like a different planet than earth (Iceland), I want to collect these moments with a DSLR.
Today photography means absolute passion to me and is an ideal counterbalance to my job. It´s pure relaxation and enjoyment. I want to spend easy time with cool people and create nice pictures. Isn´t it a wonderful hobby?!
What would you say your style is and has it changed throughout the years? If so why?
Some short catchwords which characterize my picture style I assume?! Tidy, jazzy, contrasting, illustrative, light-oriented and environmental. When I have a look at my 2013 pics I would definitely say, that my style has developed and changed with my progress. I think if you change and grow as person, so does your photographic style. Whether you like it or not, you are exposed daily to different influences, which are more or less reflected in your style. Perhaps not directly, but in the medium term and subconsciously.
How do you approach a shoot? Do you pre-plan or is it a click and run?
I start the shoot with rough ideas and some mood ideas. During the shoot model and photographer are usually developing ideas together. So, we are flexible for changing light situations, the weather and possibilities resulting from the location or situation. It´s the teamwork and process that counts and that is so much fun.
Is there an end goal you’re trying to achieve with your images, be it an aesthetic or story?
My goal is to create beautiful images and make the model happy. These are usually single images of different settings. I would also like to create a coherent series in the future. But in my opinion, more planning is required and unfortunately, I often have too little time for being creative.
Do you have any influences you can share?
Hmmmmm. For me there are influences in everyday life, in movies, magazines, on the street and of course… social media.
What inspires you?
Looking at pictures from different photographers and models in books, magazines and of course social media. There are great and inspiring artists all over the world to look at.
Is there such a thing as a bad photograph?
Sure! I know some people that are highly addicted to technical perfection so they forget that the model is a human being. They are so called pixel peepers and cannot create moody pictures. Their pictures are tack sharp but without any emotion.
Are you looking for a career in photography or are you just having fun?
Photography means absolute passion to me and is an ideal counterbalance to my job. It´s pure relaxation and enjoyment. So, I´m a 100% just-for-the-fun hobbyist and I never want to change that!
Which social media platforms do you use and why?
I mainly use Instagram because it´s an easy to use platform, specific to my needs. I also have a photography account on Facebook which I don't use regularly anymore.
Which photographers do you mainly follow on social media?
There is so much great work of different photographers that I won´t mention only a few. I appreciate the work of local buddies just as much as world-famous star photographers that I follow. Only naming a few of them wouldn't do them justice though.
What are your thoughts on mobile photography versus DSLR / mirrorless?
There are real masters of mobile photography. One of them is Wojtek Pruchniki… an awesome photographer who is in love with his iPhone and creates epic shots!
What are your main go to cameras, lenses and how did you make that choice?
Today my favourite lenses are the Sony Zeiss 35mm/1.4 and 50mm/1.4 as well as the Zeiss Batis 25mm/2.0 and 85mm/1.8. The electronic viewfinder with WYSYWIG is great for available light shoots and the Eye-AF nails the shot so that you can concentrate and focus on a lot of other important things. It´s also a great tool for video.
What is your dream location to shoot at?
A very difficult question! There are so many interesting locations all over the world. One of these for example would be the western part for the United States or South Africa.
Describe your favourite picture and how you captured it?
Uffffff… I cannot answer this question because I don´t have THE all-time favourite picture.
In three words how would you describe your photography?
Relaxed, teamwork and on-location.
How would you describe the current scene in photography?
I have been lucky enough to share my hobby with a lot of awesome photographers, models and make-up artists.
How do you feel about higher quality cameras being put into smart phones?
The pocket size of phones, for go-anywhere portability and point-and-shoot ability is great for snapshots. But, as for myself, my iPhone won´t replace my camera gear for portrait shoots.
What are your thoughts on expensive cameras? Do you think they create better images?
No not at all. It´s never the gear. They are only tools. I have to admit, I do not own the worst camera, but isn´t it crazy? We shoot pictures with 42 mpix cameras and upload images in the size of a stamp to Instagram?!
Gathering experience is way more important than pixel peeping or discussing which camera brand is the best one. In addition, it´s all about the light and good teamwork and communication between model, make-up artist and photographer… not the gear! Much more important than the gear itself is knowing how to use it and how to deal with different lighting situations. You have to enjoy working with people and need social skills.