We're delighted to have with us Christian Hoiberg, a full time Nature & Landscape photographer from Norway and the founder of CaptureLandscapes, a great resource for improving your landscape photography.
Can you share a few words about yourself and your relationship with photography?
Sure! My name is Christian Hoiberg and I’m a full-time landscape photographer from the picturesque Norway. I’ve been fascinated with photography most my life and at the age of 15 I bought my first DSLR camera. It took me a few years but when I started to explore with manual settings I was hooked and quickly realized that photography is what I want to do in life. Since then, I’ve worked hard to create my own business and I now guide workshops, write eBooks and share my knowledge through my website CaptureLandscapes.
I’m currently living in Northern Spain and spending a few months photographing its incredible coastline and picturesque mountains and, of course, filling up on their delicious tapas! I’ve fallen in love with this region during the last years and I’m looking into the opportunities to start guiding tours here in the future as well. It’s an area that’s still relatively unknown amongst photographers (though it’s becoming more popular) but it has so much to offer.
What’s your motivation? What gets you out of bed in the morning (or other hours) and to the outdoors to photograph?
It’s quite simple: nature! I simply love being outside and knowing that I’m able to go on an adventure more or less whenever I want is what makes me work even harder. Whenever I’m feeling low on inspiration or I need a break from post-processing, writing articles & ebooks, doing my accounting or whatever else needs to be done in the office, a quick walk in nature gives me back the energy.
The nature that surrounds us, both locally or globally, is so beautiful so why not exploit it? There’s so much to see and so many experiences to be made. Just the thought of that motivates me to keep going!
Your images have a certain calm yet dramatic feeling to them, how did you find your direction and style?
To be quite honest with you, I don’t have a straightforward answer to this. I’ve never really spent any time thinking of what my style is. I guess after years of photographing and processing, I have learned or created certain techniques that I repeat for the majority of my images but I typically work on the image as I see fitting.
There are certain scenes that are more appealing to me as well and I enjoy photographing ‘dramatic’ scenes. I also try to keep my images relatively natural and don’t process them into something else than what I saw. My goal is simply to enhance what I saw and take the viewer on a tour through my eyes. I believe we all see a location differently, which is why photographers often return with different images when they’ve been shooting together at the same place.
Image post-processing has become so integral these days, do you feel it overshadows the traditional image capture process?
I think that post-processing is easier than ever thanks to the powerful tools, such as Picktorial, that are available today. Post-processing has always been a big part of photography and the digital dark-room has enabled us to take it even further. While I view this is a big positive, there certainly are down parts to it as well.
One of these unfortunate consequences is that the audience aren’t always aware how much manipulation goes into an image. There was a debate about this in a national Norwegian newspaper a while ago when some tourists were disappointed that the mountains in Lofoten were “only” 700 meters high and not nearly as spiky as what they had seen on images. The images they has seen, were severally manipulated and the peaks were warped to look like massive 2000m peaks. So, it is sad that people don’t appreciate this already amazing scenes because they are misrepresented through some photography.
That being said, post processing is an important part of my photography. While I still want my images to represent what I saw, I spend a lot of time working with contrast and color values.
I also think that an image needs a strong composition and even though heavily processed images without one are able to impress the viewer at first glance, it’s rarely those images that gets remembered.
Besides visiting Capture Landscapes, what advice can you offer anyone who wants to make landscape photography a career?
Be patient and be persistent. It’s a tough industry and I don’t think it will get any easier. Photography is more popular than ever! So the most important thing you can do is to keep working on your art, keep learning new things (both camera techniques and post processing) and most importantly: stay true to your vision. Even if other’s don’t “get” your art, don’t let that bother you. If you want to make a career from your photography it’s important that you photograph what you like – at the end, this is what will make you unique.
I also want to add that you need to be passionate about photography and willing to make big sacrifices if you want to make a living from it. If you’re not ready to commit 110%, then you should continue having photography as a hobby rather than a job.
What’s the top destination on your bucket list?
Do I have to choose only one? There are so many!
I just checked off the Dolomites and Greenland so I’d say that right now Patagonia is on the top of my list. Even though it’s becoming a highly photographed area I would love to explore this region.
Another location I would love to visit is Svalbard. It’s a place that has a lot to offer but is still less popular amongst landscape photographers.
Any new and exciting projects coming up you can share with us?
I’ll be leading many more workshops next year in association with LofotenTours and will be back guiding in locations such as Lofoten & Arctic Norway, Iceland, Greenland and possibly more.
There’s also a couple more eBooks being released and possibly my first post-processing video course for beginners, where we’ll go through the basics of Adobe Lightroom.
Besides that, I’ll keep travelling and spending time exploring our beautiful planet!