This week, we welcome Bartosz Wozniak, of BWozniak photography to the BB-BLOG.
Good afternoon Mr. Wozniak (ignore the fact that we're partners; formality makes for a good interview). So when did you first take an interest in photography?
It was the first time that I travelled to Croatia, I think in 2009. My dad had just bought a DSLR, it was the Canon 450D, I started playing around with his camera - and really enjoyed it! I found it really fascinating and enjoyed both the technological and creative side. I'm a very optimistic person, so catching beautiful and memorable moments was very fitting.
Very emotional - so after that you were hooked?
Definitely, I was so keen to learn new techniques, buy new equipment and jumpstart my photography 'career'. I say career, but realistically I had no intention of creating a business, at this point - like all 14 year old boys - I was more concerned about levelling up on World of Warcraft than I was thinking about an income.
Fascinating, so, a standard question for all photographers - what was your first piece of equipment?
My first piece of kit was a second hand "Canon EOS 40D" that I purchased for the photography forum "TalkPhotography" for about £300.
Hmm, yea, that means absolutely nothing to me, but yea, sounds wonderful & expensive.
Haha, it's like a 'semi-pro' camera, definitely not an entry level - so yea, it's an intermediate sort of 'semi' camera.
Well a semi's a semi.
*interviewee laughs uncontrollably, will resume once professionalism is regained"
So I've heard there is a huge rivalry in the photography world, where do you stand on the Canon vs. Nikon front? What is your preference and why?
Canon, definitely Canon, 100% Canon. My girlfriend possessed a Nikon camera once - it mysteriously went missing and I so generously replaced it with a Canon. But in all seriousness, it's like asking a Man Utd. fan, why they prefer United over City. For me, Canon's usability is better, it is more clearly laid out in terms of it's buttons and functions. Apparently the quality of Canon is not as good as Nikon in some models - but it just varies from body to body and lens to lens. Realistically, one is not better than the other, it's rather just a friendly feud.
A very honest answer, so what's your favourite piece of work that you've produced?
This is such a difficult question, I've taken so many photos that it is difficult to look at them all comparatively and choose a single image. So I'm going to be really cheeky and pick 5 favourite photographs - a landscape, portrait, journalistic, macro and artistic.
Amazing photographs, the portrait is definitely my favourite. You say that you have taken a lot of photographs, give an estimate on how many times you have clicked that shutter button?
Definitely over 160,000 times in 6 years. But as I improve, I become more confident with my abilities and take less. If I am nervous for an event, I take more as I don't want to miss anything. Take the wedding I photographed recently, for example, I took over 2000 photographs. But next time, I will probably only take 1000.
That's a lot of photographs. Many of the readers will be able to relate - it's the same principle as the 'selfie' - when you see a photograph of a girl, there were 50 other photos just like it, that didn't quite make the cut. Same thing right?
Yes for sure, completely identical situation.
I knew it; so what is the best thing about photography or being a photographer?
Once you've captured a photograph, or a nice image - you can keep it, enjoy it, share it and be proud of it. Not only is it a lasting memory, it's a lasting source of enjoyment.
And the worst thing?
For me, instead of being able to enjoy or be involved in a moment, I have to be behind the camera and document it. Sometimes you have to sacrifice having fun for a good photograph.
Back to kit, if you could have any piece of kit now, what would it be?
No price limit? Just a dream piece of kit? *nods in agreement* Judging by my increased passion for portrait photography, I would like what is considered as "God's gift" to portrait photography, the "Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 II". It produces dreamy portraits, it's just sharper than a knife.
I don't even know what you just said, but how much would that be?
New, it's a good price - about £1400.
Beautiful, not going to happen. Moving swiftly on, what is your inspiration?
If you mean, like classic artistic influence - from other photographers - I don't really have one. Seeing other photographers work is obviously very inspiring and motivating, but I don't really possess a single source of inspiration. I do admire my old (as in previous, not aged) english teacher, Nick Barber, who's passion for photography is just simply contagious. This was a strong source of encouragement, when I first began photography.
What is your favourite style of photography?
Although myself I don't do much, I absolutely love journalistic photography. I would love to document something significant, but it's just an entirely different level of photography. In terms of artistic styles, I love macro photographs and more conceptual ideas. But I enjoy a bit of everything really.
Do you enjoy taking photographs for Baltic Beauty, product and promotional?
I do indeed. Listing photograph's for Etsy is a pain in my back - this is not figurative speech, this is literal pain. But because I am so passionate about the brand we're creating, it's hard not to enjoy it!
I know that you are the co-founder of one of the biggest community art groups on Facebook 'ArtCore', so with that in mind, other than photography, what is your favourite style of art?
Ever since we began ArtCore, I have become very appreciative of digital art, especially digital paintings - they're just amazing. I couldn't draw a pair of curtains, so I do find all art impressive, but for me, digital paintings and the creativity that accompanies them are simply outstanding. And with ArtCore, what makes it even more rewarding, is being able to see people working hard, improving their skills and becoming very talented artists.
So a bit of advice for any aspiring photographers, what is your staple piece of kit? A bit of equipment that every photographer needs?
They could probably do with a camera *blasphemous noises*. No, in all seriousness, they need a 'nifty fifty', the optical quality in comparison to the price is unbelievable. Also, I would recommend a good flash gun; people tend to underestimate the usefulness, value and good effects of a simple flash.
Well we all love a good flash. What advice would you give to a photographer who is just starting out?
First of all, get familiar with general photographic principles, know the principles of how a camera works and learn the features of the camera - don't just rely on the automatic modes. Also, get close to your subject, mentally know what your photographing and physically move closer to the subject, don't rely on zoom. Finally, kit alone doesn't make a good photographer, you don't need the best and most expensive equipment to be creative and take good photographs; don't be the guy that has all the gear but no idea.
Finally, what are your aspirations for your future photography career?
I just hope to develop my skills and gain more experience, I just simply hope to see more of the business and gain new opportunities to push myself towards self improvement. I would really love to travel the world and photograph the beauty of life, but I also want to continue to catch the happiness of other people and make them smile with my work.
Bartosz slaves away on a regular basis, producing amazing photography for our business, with promotional and item photographs. Soon the BB-Blog will feature an article providing advice to fellow business owners on how to take tempting product photographs. For 5 quick tips on how to take listing photographs for Etsy, check out Week 4: The Significant Six - 6 Top Tips to make your first Etsy Sale.
As always, it's been a pleasure.