A professional photographer, educator, and tour leader, Justin Reznick travels the world capturing the scenes around him. He is also new to the Outdoor Photography Guide team of contributors. We sat down with Justin to learn more about his work and his approach to photography. Read on.
Outdoor Photography Guide: How did you get started in photography? Specifically how did you make the leap into doing it for a living?
Justin Reznick: My whole life has been about travel and exploration. Photography was something I did to document my experiences. There came a tipping point when I realized that I could create art and move beyond a “snapshot”. From that point on photography became my passion. My work experience was in education so it was a natural fit for me to blend photography and teaching into my profession.
OPG: Do you have any formal training in photography?
JR: I’m a self-taught photographer. Every day I look to improve. It’s a never ending creative pursuit where improvement is incredibly satisfying.
OPG: You’ve traveled to some amazing places – do you have a favorite location?
JR: Honestly it changes from year to year. Places that are new and fresh tend to be the hot location in that given period. The place that I keep coming back to year after year, however, is the Palouse in Washington State. I have never seen or photographed a location that is more photogenic in my career.
OPG: What subjects do you enjoy shooting most?
JR: I never settle on one subject and I continually evolve my interest in photography. Having said that, I primarily shoot landscapes and I prefer long lens scenes like the rolling hills of the Palouse. Recently, I have been photographing more and more architecture and I gravitate towards the abstract imagery of modern architecture.
OPG: What’s in your camera bag?
JR: The camera is just a tool! My current setup is all Sony mirrorless: a Sony A7R II as my main body, the a6300 as my backup, and two infrared cameras, the A7 and the a6000. My lenses are all Sony as I prefer to use native lenses built specifically for the system I’m using.
OPG: What’s your favorite lens and why?
JR: My favorite lens is always my current telephoto lens. I started back in the day with the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS, upgraded to the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS, and finished with the Canon 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS Mark II. Now that I shoot Sony I’m currently using the Sony 70-300mm f/4-5.6. All are fantastic lenses that allow me to express my creativity.
OPG: How important is post-processing to your photography?
JR: Post-processing has become quite the controversy. I think it’s essential that transparency is used when it comes to post-processing and photography. I prefer to do minimal processing and spend my creative efforts in the field.
OPG: What is it about photography that drew you to it as a creative medium?
JR: I was already hooked on travel and hiking. Photography gave me the tool set to make art while on the road. It was something I understood and I was able to observe day to day improvement of my work.
OPG: What is the goal of your work? What do you aim to convey with your images?
JR: I make images that are personal to me. At the end of the day, I want to continually evolve and put my best work forward. I don’t photograph on assignment, so it’s an extremely personal pursuit. I’m fortunate to be in that position and it enables me to go in any creative direction I choose.
OPG: Why nature photography?
JR: Nature is a spectacle to behold and I enjoy every minute spent in the outdoors. There is no better palette to choose from than nature for me, and the challenge of creating art from nature is my ultimate pursuit.
OPG: If you could describe your photographic style in one sentence, what would that be?
JR: Tough question! My photograph style is simple, artistic representations of nature and architecture.
OPG: What motivates you to teach others about photography?
JR: I have always loved to teach and coach and so leading workshops was a natural fit for me. There are a shortage of passionate instructors out there, so I couldn’t wait to jump in and try to set myself apart.
OPG: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in photography, or just starting to develop their eye?
JR: Practice every chance you can. Find photographers you admire and learn from them. Study imagery, learn how to imitate, and then find your own unique voice.
OPG: Where are you planning to go next?
JR: My photography is mostly dictated by my workshop schedule. New upcoming locations include Spitsbergen, China, Kenya, Greenland, and Japan. I will never stop exploring and photographing new and exciting locations and I’m always open to suggestions!
You can see more of Justin’s work here: Justin Reznick Photography
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