Several weeks ago I was contacted by Sleeklens and interviewed [ Graham Daly Spotlight Interview ]. Needless to say, I was delighted to be interviewed and allowed to share my photographic journey and insights with the Sleeklens audience. Now, I am also delighted to actually be writing and contributing content towards this very same great audience – how cool is that!
To start things off, I wanted to introduce a new “Photographer Focus” series whereby I intend to place the focus on various photographers that have caught my own attention and whose photographic work inspires me to head out with my own camera. In this edition, I am focusing on Laura Oppelt, an incredibly talented 20-year-old landscape photographer from Germany.
1) Who is Laura Oppelt?
My name is Laura Oppelt and I was born in 1998 in a small town near Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Growing up in the countryside, I enjoyed being outdoors and discovering nature. When I was younger, I got a cheap camera and started to literally photograph everything around me. The images were poor in terms of photographic quality and just snapshots really but I kept going and later decided to save money for my first DSLR. Since that time back in the summer of 2013 I really worked hard on improving my photography knowledge (a continual work-in-progress!) and I decided to focus my attention and energy on landscape photography.
The greatest step so far in my development took place in 2016 when I switched to a Full Frame DSLR. Even though the camera is just a tool for taking pictures and by far not the most important thing, it gave me a more satisfied feeling and afforded me new possibilities. But the best teacher is practice! The importance of trial and error really cannot be underestimated. During my travels, I learned a lot, discovered stunning places and experienced the beauty of our world, which is the basis for all my pictures. I still consider myself as a learner and search for my own style but I’m very curious what will come next.
2) Do you find that your passion for photography consumes a lot of your time?
Yes! I try to head away on photo trips as often as possible and especially on the weekends I’m really busy with photography. As it’s my biggest hobby, I love spending time with it, but that’s not always possible of course. A very time-expensive aspect of photography is also the post-processing. I’ve still got loads of unprocessed images and I don’t know if they will ever be processed!
3) A question that all photographers are asked – What is in your kit bag?
I’m shooting with the Canon 6D and the Canon wide 16-35mm f/4 lens. I also always carry a Sigma 20mm f/1.4 in my camera bag for night photography. Let us also not forget the Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens. Lastly, I use a Sirui tripod and LEE Filters.
4) What is your general workflow when taking pictures?
That depends on the conditions and the scene. I always use the Live View function of the camera to compose the image and try to find leading lines as well as foreground interest. Then I decide if filters are necessary or not and if yes, which specific filter (e.g. a graduated hard or soft filter). Besides that, I often take three different exposures, in case that I need them later in post-production.
5) What is the key ingredient that you always look for when producing images?
I think an interesting foreground is always a great way of strengthening your image composition, especially in landscape photography. Sometimes I include people in my images as well to add some scale.
6) How crucial is post-processing to your photography?
It’s an important issue for me because I want to make the best out of my images and with some very easy steps, such as boosting contrast or adding a vignette, you can increase the overall effectiveness of the image. But I also don’t want to spend too much time with the post-processing and I try to keep the image as natural as possible.
7) Do you have a favorite image?
That’s a quite difficult question because I’ve got different favorites due to different reasons. There are favorite images because of the experience I had when taking them and there are favorites because I’m very satisfied with the editor the composition or the light captured within the image. If I had to pick only one photo, I would choose a photo I took during a backpacking tour on the Faroe Islands in the summer of 2017 because everything just came together perfectly: the landscape (a mountain above the sea with a great view over the fjords and the villages at the coast line), the light (right before sunset) and the experience (it was pure freedom on top of that mountain peak with an incredible view). I titled the photo “Experience for a Lifetime“ because it had such a great impact on me.
8) Are there any challenges to being a Landscape Photographer?
Yes! The constantly changing weather situations and that it sometimes takes huge power and resolve to overcome your own laziness! And of course that you manage to make the people who look at your images feel the same that you felt in the moment when you pressed the shutter. That is probably the most difficult and challenging aspect of all.
9) Any tips for other photographers?
Maybe that the most important thing about photography is that you like what you do and that you have fun. Take the images for yourself and not for somebody else. Try to develop your own style which is very challenging in its own right because I think this is a never-ending process.
10) What inspires you?
Our beautiful world has so much to offer that I think inspiration can come from everywhere. Other photographers who have a lot of impact on my own motivation are Dennis Polkläser, Nicholas Roemmelt, and Bruno Pisani, to just name three of them.
11) What does your photography future hold?
A challenging question because there are so many possibilities. I would like to just improve my image making abilities further and to experience some new photography adventures. I would also really love to publish some of my pictures in magazines or to have an own exhibition someday … But that’s very far away from now.
12) Is there anything else you want to say?
Go out, explore and enjoy life! Simple, but so difficult at the same time!
13) Lastly, where can we see more of your great work?
I have a brand new website now at www.laura-oppelt-photography.de . My 500px account is https://500px.com/laura_oppelt. You can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lauraoppeltphotography and my Instagram profile at https://www.instagram.com/oppdager/.