Emil Nystrom is an upcoming creative photographer based in Umeå, Sweden.
He’s only been doing photography full time for about a year now, but he has some amazing pictures to show for it!
Since beginning the career path to become a photographer Emil has done commercial gigs, weddings, and portraiture. Where he really strives though, is in his personal works.
Join us as we learn about Emil, how he decided to do photography full time, and more.
You’ve only been working as a full time photographer for some time now, what was your motivation behind beginning a career in photography?
There are just so many things that led me on this path. And for me, this question relates a lot to the second question. But I’ll try to get it down. I’ve always been a creative person and the last 10-12 years I’ve wanted to work as a media producer of some kind. I just didn’t know in what form it was going to take shape. I had been doing websites, t-shirt designs and things like that on the side for companies and bands for 10 years but I wasn’t sure that websites was it. Then I started working at a electronics store that was niched on photography and that’s kind of when I started getting really interested in photography.
How did you make a living before you began photography?
I’ve been trying a lot of different things. My main focus in life has been music. I played in a touring band and was away for a couple of months every year. Music business is so much hard work and the reward is really little in comparison to what you put in. Also that never gave me any money worth speaking of. So I always had jobs on the side. Five years ago I did journalism a bit, I interviewed and took photos of bands live. But that never really caught me. So I started working at the electronics store about 3½ years ago. About 2 years later I was just too tired of the music business to continue doing that. I felt exhausted just thinking about it. Photography sort of started taking its own place in my life more and more. Once I started my photography company and saw that people actually wanted to pay me decent money for doing what I loved, I quit my job and quit my band. It was a long transition but I’m really glad I did it.
What is your proudest moment as photographer?
I don’t have any moment that’s my single most proudest. For me it’s a 1 year career full of small highlights. Every time someone I look up to as a photographer gives me a good comment I get a kick. I’ve also been really excited when 500px chooses my picture as editor’s choice, when practical Photoshop magazine contacted me, when Hasselblad chose my pictures to post on their page, when Phlearn featured me as weekend inspiration and so forth.
How did it feel to see your photos in Practical Photoshop magazine?
It’s pretty insane. I had hopes and goals to get published in magazines, but I never thought it would happen so fast. I’m not sure I understand how lucky I’ve been, things have been picking up so fast.
Can you tell us about the photo “Birthday Party”? How fun was this to create?! (see photo above)
I love creating all these conceptual pictures. This one we took about a month before she turned 1. I had the idea in my head for quite a while. At that time she still couldn’t stand by herself so we had to hold her up and Photoshop the hands away. She was so excited about being allowed to stand on the table and there were so many colorful things to look at. I like the editing progress in Photoshop just as much as I like shooting, so I guess I’m in the right line of work for me.
Do you plan on continuing creating photos with your daughter?
For sure. As long as I have ideas and time to create them I will. We also have our second baby coming soon, so I’m pretty sure I’ll get another inspiration-boost again quite soon. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to take these pictures, but I do my best.
What inspires you?
Really hard to say, there are so many different things. Most of the ideas for photos that I get in my head, I get while doing something completely different. Sometimes I get ideas of a photo project when I’m busy doing another. A rule of thumbs for me is the busier I am working on exciting projects the more ideas for other things I get.
While looking at your website I see you have involved yourself in many different types of photography including weddings, lifestyle, personal, etc. What’s your favorite type of photography to create, why?
I love shooting pretty much everything. But the conceptual photos, commercial photos, and portraits are really my favorites. I live in a really small town, we have about 115 000 inhabitants. So to make a living now in the beginning of my photography career I shoot most of the things I can. But the most fulfilling is the commercial and conceptual. So I’m aiming to promote that type of work more this year and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be able to make living off of just that type of photography.
Working with children within photography can be difficult, but you make it look like a breeze! Any tips for photographers looking to work with children?
I don’t shoot a lot of children, I shoot my child and that’s pretty simple because I know what gets her going and she’s a very easy going child. But I think the main thing to keep in mind is to be to be yourself, prepare well and be calm. Most children get tired after just a couple of minutes. So if everything is well prepared they’ll give you 10 amazing minutes. If you’re not prepared they might be tired before you even bring out your camera.
How much Photoshop is really involved in your works?
It’s very individual. Some shots take me 20 minutes in Photoshop. Others I’ve worked 16 hours on. Generally I start with cleaning up the pictures and adding in the composite parts. If needed I do some dodging and burning and after that I end things with color correction and enhancing. The more I’ve planned before the shoot and the more I’ve done in camera helps so I don’t have to spend so much time in Photoshop.
Can we possibly see a before and after of one of your shots? (see below)
I’ve included two pictures for you to look at. None of these took too much time to do in Photoshop. The one on the mountain I spent about 3 hours on. Most of that time was taking test shots to get the snow to look as good as possible. The other one was rebuilding body parts from other pictures. At that time she was 5 months old and couldn’t remotely stand by herself nor hold the roller.
Any projects planned for the future?
There are some pictures already shot that are waiting to be edited and published, but I have even more of them in my head. I just have to sort them out and start planning them. If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram and 500px you’ll get updates along the way.
If you’d like to find out more about Emil you can visit his website, or any of the links mentioned above.
Interviewed By: Angela Butler