INTERVIEW WITH TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER @photography_byron_bay
Sera is the creative behind Photography Byron Bay, being a local to Byron Bay this coastal town is what has inspired her beautiful imagery. With a huge passion for the outdoors and travelling. Her colour palette of soft pastels brings together a beautifully peaceful portfolio of work.
Firstly, can you start with a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Byron Bay and i am the 4th generation of a local Byron Bay family. I’ve moved away alot but always come back to Byron as my family are here and it truly is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I used to be pretty shy, but photography has changed that for me, i’ve never really been a big fan of being in front of the camera, especially with my face in front of the camera, I am covered from head to toe in freckles and i have finally learnt as an adult to accept them.
When did you first start your photography journey?
I’ve loved photography from a young age, being inspired by David Attenborough and National Geographic magazines. I spent alot of my childhood camping so i was always out in nature. I started off capturing shots on a point and shoot camera and iphone, which all produced amazing images. Then started selling Prints to people i knew, family, friends and friends of friends, then i was introduced to a little Ap called Instagram. I am self taught and I purchased my first DSLR in 2014 and started working as a travel photographer a couple of months after that and have been working as a professional photographer ever since.
What equipment do you use and why did you select it?
I currently use all Olympus gear. I use the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mark ii body (which is a micro four thirds mirrorless camera) with PRO lenses
- M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO (Equivalent to 24-80mm on a full frame)
- M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO (Equivalent to 50mm on a full frame)
- M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO (Equivalent to 14-28mm on a full frame)
- M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO (Equivalent to 80-300mm)
- MC-14 M.Zuiko Digital 1.4x Teleconverter
I chose the Olympus equipment because I needed a camera kit that was lighter and more compact but still just as good in image quality as DSLRs. Due to my on-going travel and outdoor lifestyle I am always out bushwalking or trekking, a light kit is a must and I rarely take my tripod with me anywhere anymore. The image stabilisation on this is so good that you can hand hold the camera and shoot long exposure shots and capture the movement in waterfalls and the ocean perfectly.
What would you say is your favourite lens and Why?
My go to lens and the one which is on my camera body 90% of the time is the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens. It’s a versatile lens which allows me to shoot most of my landscape images and also portrait images.
When you travel what must have equipment do you take?
Two camera bodies and full kit of lenses, laptop, drone, 2 x portable hard drives, portable charger, tripod and an iphone.
What time of day do you prefer to shot at?
I prefer to shoot at sunrise and sunset to capture the perfect pastels, the light at this time of day is just magic.
What inspires your creative vision?
Nature. Nature is my inspiration. If i’m feeling stuck or in a rut creatively I will just take my camera with me and go for a walk on the beach at sunset and sunrise and i’ll just shoot. With no real shot in mind, I just like to watch the scene unfold before me.
What methods do you use for editing? Can you explain your workflow?
I use Lightroom for editing my images. I edit each photo individually, so I don’t have a set workflow. I adjust each tab as I go, i’ve only just started creating presets as a base to my images, but because every morning is different and produces different colours and light it’s hard to use the same preset for each photo.
Among all your work what is the most memorable moment you have captured?
Ooh that’s a hard one! I have so many images that i love and each one reminds me of a different moment in time, but there’s one sunset image that i love the most called Julian. I was having a tough day and i was in a bit of a creative rut and feeling ‘not good enough’ creatively, so after work i wandered down the beach with my camera, with no real intention of shooting anything in particular and the most amazing sunset happened. I snapped a couple of shots and looked at the images on the camera and was in awe of the colours.
I did minimal editing on the image as the sunset colours were just captured so perfectly, now the image hangs above my bed as a reminder of what i can do and to believe in myself. It’s also turned out to be one of my most popular selling prints.
How do you continue to educate yourself to become a better photographer?
I just keep learning, I read magazine articles, blog posts, watch youtube videos and tutorials. I attend workshops and insta-meets. I also try and challenge myself to step outside the box of what I would normally shoot.
What advice do you have for people wanting to grow their Instagram following?
Be authentic, be individual and grow your account organically. Don’t try and copy someone else's work or style, there are so many accounts out there doing the same thing that it’s hard to tell them apart. You want to stand out from the rest. Don’t cheat, buy followers or likes or use bots, don’t join comment pods etc. All of these are ways to ruin your reputation, people can see when you do this and it’s not a good look (it’s easy to see who is cheating), tourism boards and clients are also cottoning onto this. By using these kind of methods you also run the risk of Instagram deleting your account if the system notices you are cheating by using a third party ap to gain followers, like, comment etc. So just don’t do it!
The best way to grow is by posting regularly, being consistent, put your best work up, reply to your comments on your posts and interact and engage with others in the instagram community that you like. Make sure you use relevant hashtag. Be genuine about your comments and post on instagram because you love it, because you love photography and you love what you do, not because you want to be instafamous or popular. Don’t chase numbers or focus on numbers, don’t compare yourself to anyone else, just be you!
Who are your greatest photography inspirations?
Ante Badzim is one of my favourites, his work is just so simply beautiful you can check him out here - @ante. Ansel Adams was an American photographer and environmentalist (born in 1902) and has some of the most beautiful black and white nature photos, I grew up being inspired by his work.
Sean Scott, who is not only an extremely talented photographer, he is also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. @seanscottphotography
What is the most memorable country you have visited?
Myanmar. I did a job for Changi Airport Singapore & Intrepid Travel and i was allowed to take my mum with me. The country is still relatively untouched by tourists as it has not long been open to tourism. The history, the pagodas and temples are just so beautiful there and i got to share it all with my mum while working.
What country are you dying to shoot in but haven’t had the chance?
Iceland. I think that’s ontop of everyone list isn’t it? I would love to shoot the northern lights when they are at their fullest.
What continues to motivate you to produce your work?
I just love what i do. I’m lucky to live in a location where the natural beauty is right on my doorstep, so i can shoot most days. I like to challenge myself to get out more, to visit new places and to capture a location differently than has been done before. I’ll try and shoot in all types of weather as well, just to keep it interesting.
Lastly what is one piece of advice you would give someone starting out in photography?
One of the biggest misconceptions about photography is that you have to have a good camera to take good photos. This is not the case at all. You can take amazing photos from a point and shoot camera and an iphone/smartphone and entry level DSLRs.
It’s about the person using it, having a creative eye. Sure the quality of images can become better as the camera gear becomes more expensive, but buy what is in your budget. Use what you’ve got and learn every aspect and feature of the camera and practice, practice, practice.
To view more of Sera's work see her website
All images were kindly supplied by Sera Wright.