All images © Mikael Sundberg. All rights reserved.
(NOTE: click on the images for larger views)
Sweden’s Mikael Sundberg is our 2013 Photographer of the Year and our latest Featured Photographer. Mikael has been a consistent submitter to PhoozL contests with many winners or honorable mentions selected by the judges. Let’s learn more about Mikael…
PHOOZL: Where is your home? What is your “personal” story and how did you get started with photography?
MIKAEL: I was born, raised and am living in Sweden. Except for 4 years in Austria as a Pro Ski Instructor and 2 years in Asia/Australia/U.S. as a backpacker.
I got my first camera (a Canon FTb) when I was in primary school (13 years old), and along with the camera I had full access to the school’s B&W darkroom. So I ended up spending some evenings in the darkness!
Q: How did or do you get your photo education? School or self-taught? Workshops? Books? Internet? Or…
I started out reading a lot of books on photography and attending photo workshops. And for a period of time I was also a sales rep for a photo-gear retailer selling pro gear to the best photographers in Sweden (after the sale I often stayed in their studios watching/learning – a great learning experience!). Now it’s mostly workshops and online training.
Q: Who or what has inspired or influenced you and your photography most?
I was mostly inspired by some great Swedish photographers like: Hans Gedda, JH Engstrom, and Johan Westin. Johan gave me the key insight and knowledge about how important the lighting is to a image.
Q: How does photography fit into your life? Amateur or Pro? A passion? A career?
Passion, Passion, Passion — I just love shooting!
I’m a semi-pro in that 20% of my income is from shooting portraits in my studio. The rest is from my full-time job as a Business Unit Manager Consultant in an IT and information-security company in Stockholm.
Q: Do you have a photo speciality? What is your favorite type or style of photography?
I love to have control, so studio photography is my passion – setting the light, getting the subject to do what I want them to do. Of course, some of my subjects (especially children) don´t always do what I want them to do!
So great lighting is what I strive for along with good composition plus shooting the subjects I want to shoot.
Q: What equipment do you use? And how do you do your image-editing?
I use a lot of studio lights and light modifiers (Elinchrom brand). I have two DSLRs (Pentax k-5 and k-5s), an old Minolta 101b film SLR, and lenses: 8mm/2.8, 14mm/2.8, 35mm/1.4, 17-70mm/4.0, 70-200mm/2.8, and my favourite lens… the Sigma 105mm/2.8 Macro. Plus some speedlights and triggers.
My workflow in image editing is to download all images to my harddrive, edit in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud), and then save out to three different external drives AND back up to a online backup service. I am a security expert after all!
Q: How do you feel about the technological changes always happening in photography? Do you keep up with the changes or are you more of a “purist”?
I love the pace of photo technology, but I still shoot some film with my analog Minolta SRT 101b with a 50mm lens. I guess I love it all!
Q: Does mobileography (using mobile devices to take pictures) have a role in your photography? What do you think about it?
No, I never use my mobile devices to shoot important images, except when PhoozL asks me to for contests! (see iPhone image below)
Q: Are there any new photo projects that you’re especially excited about?
Well, I have a photobook project coming up together with a friend. It’s of the best-ever images of Stockholm using a publisher in the traditional way. Our deadline is June 2014.
Q: What advice do you have for others who want to improve and evolve their own photography?
Most photographers forget the importance of correct lighting (natural or with strobes) and composition, both of which are the fundamentals of great photography. Get the light and composition correct, and you often have a winning shot.
Watch for more of Mikael here on PhoozL, or check him out on 500px/msundberg.
And here’s Mikael feautured as the 2013 PhoozL Photographer of the Year.