Interview: Nailya Bikmurzina

Snapwire Creator MASTER | Nailya Bikmurzina’s lifestyle work is warm and inviting while her personal work has colder tones and focuses on isolation and graphic lines. After working with her on multiple projects, we sat down with the Berlin based creator to get to know a little bit more about her and her photography.

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Tell us a little about you. What are you passionate about? What do you do when you are not photographing?  What is your favorite color? You know, the important things. 

I have been fascinated with the photography world since childhood, as my first memories are playing with my dad's mechanic film photo camera, just making snaps with different shutter speeds and opening the back of the camera. I came in to being a full time photographer unexpectedly from science after deciding that I don't want to do a PhD after completing a master program. It was a frightening decision, especially when people around you don't understand. However I've made a right choice. Now I'm in the photo and video making world, developing a personal project connecting art and science. 

My favourite color: All shades of blue, or better the color palette of the ocean and the color palette of the sky. They are always making me feel like magic.

Another passion of mine is movement in any forms, connection between mind and body and visual beauty of it. You can call it a lifestyle, but I'm sure it's much deeper than that. 

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How did you get started in photography? 

When I was 17, I took my first analog photos just was because I was curious about it. Then I've got a digital compact camera. It before social media, so I shared the photos only with my friends and in my live journal blog. At some point people start to reach me out to take photos for them and for different events. This is how it all started.

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Your work has is bright and inviting, while still hanging out to the beauty of shadows. How did you develop your style? What inspires you? 

I'm a visual person and hungry for movies and visual art. Color wise, of course, nature inspires me the most. Nothing could be more beautiful. I think I'm still in the process of developing my style and I would love to keep it as an ongoing process. 

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You have worked with us for a variety of buyers, such as Google, Canva, and Ubrands. Tell us about a  project (or two!) you enjoyed working on. Were there any surprises, successes, or struggles? 

I liked the projects with Google Maps because I love to explore new places, locations, perspectives and the way to see new things within familiar streets. I love to be lost in some sense in the places, because then I can see a lot from different angles. 

Do you have any advice or tips for fellow photographers? 

Heh I need a lot of advice for myself. The only suggestion which I surely can share is: no matter what, keep on working.

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Complete Guide to Environmental Portraiture

With a recently launched Challenge, I decided you might need a little background help to make sure your submissions are strong visually and will dynamically tell a story.

So what is environmental portraiture? Extremely popular in editorial and documentary photography, environmental portraiture is the art of capturing someone in a location where the setting plays an important part of expressing the narrative of the subject - maybe more than the subject themselves. Utilizing props and composition, you can intricately illustrate details that a simple headshot could not capture.

Although most environmental portraits look effortless and natural, there is a lot of thought and studying that goes behind capturing the entire essence of your subject. Here are some tips & tricks to get you started.

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Who is your subject?

Photo by: Peter Holliday

Headshots, you do not really need to know much about your subject. They are clean cut simple portraits that are used purely to illustrate base level personality. With an environmental portrait you want to study your subject. Why are you photographing them? What are you trying to say about them? What is their story? Dig deep and really hone in on the purpose of this photograph. You have a chance to share a story of someone, do it justice.

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Choosing a location

Photo by: ADVANCED | Héctor Mireles

Make your sure your location choice fits your subject and the narrative you want to share. Think of your location as your main subject. What is in the background? Where is the light coming from? How does it relate to your subject?  

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Adding

Props

Photo by: Xavier Goins

Clean it up or make it dirty. Props can be incredibly helpful for story telling, but can also easily distract or clutter your photograph diluting the narrative. Go through everything in the background before taking your shot. If it doesn’t add to the story, take it out. Everything in your composition needs a purpose.

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Posing your subject

Photo by: Colin Dutton

Again, what are you trying to say about your subject? Camera angle and position of subject can change the perspective of who your subject is. Shooting from a lower angle can give your subject power and strength by making them look larger than life. The opposite happens when shooting down at them, humbling them or making your subject seem meek. Shooting at eye resonates humanity because it is a perspective we would normally see.

In environmental portraits, posing is usually pretty simple because the environment is expressing more of the story than the subject. With that said, place your subject intentionally. Where are they in the frame? Are they facing camera or looking away? How are they framed within the background composition? Pay attention to body language and cropping. How much of your subject do you need to show?

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Lens choice

There is no rule to what lens you should use, but give your photograph room to breathe. Since you are utilizing a location as a main subject, you want to show it off. Consider using a wider lens, such as a 35mm. This will give you the space to express the environment and the clean depth of field to really showcase your subject’s narrative.

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Inspiration: Gregory Crewdson

Known for his cinematic captures, Gregory Crewdson creates gorgeous narrative through single scenes. Obviously, I do not expect you to whip out a Crewdson level photoshoot, but what I want you to pay attention to is his intentional location, props, and composition. There is nothing in the imagery that does not have a reason to be there.

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Now go create. Pick and choose what resonates with you from above and photograph an environmental portrait that tells a story stronger than any words. Always remember, what are you trying to say about this person? Be intentional and do not forget to submit your images to the new challenge.

Creator Spotlight: February

We think you are sweeter than a conversation heart, so here are three photographers to inspire you this month!

MASTER | Serhiy Hipskyy

Hipskyy takes amazing stock photo portraiture that is visually clean and thoughtful, offering a variety of poses and lifestyle moments.

ELITE | Jason Bodak

Experience the art of center composition through Bodak's imagery.

ADVANCED | Hector Mireles

Whether it is a portrait or landcape, Mireles has a way of capturing light and narrative.

Follow Sehiy, Jason, and Hector on Snapwire for more inspiring shots!

Interview: Pat Ryder

Creator PRO | Pat Ryder’s Snapwire profile is filled with clean lifestyle stock photography and tasty food settings for Skip the Dishes, while Ryder’s personal work pulls tones of old film, plays with shadows, and has a hint of fashion forward grunge. Recently completing 100 shoots with us, we wanted to sit down and get to know one of our top contributors based out of Toronto, Canada.

Photo of Pat Ryder by: ADVANCED |  Sean Pollock

Photo of Pat Ryder by: ADVANCED | Sean Pollock

Tell us a little about you. What are you passionate about? What do you do?  What's your favorite food? You know, the important things.

Well my name is Pat Ryder and I’m a photographer and creative from Mississauga, Ontario and I’m passionate about a lot of things!  My day to day consists of anything from a couple photo shoots to watching a football match with friends, cooking with my mum, or getting together with other creatives to either make something cool or start brainstorming. I love working with people from across the creative spectrum, whether it’s food, music, fashion or cars, there is a creative element to the way all of them shape and define culture. I think that’s the best part about being a photographer, is the freedom to work within a wide range of subjects and still be able to express a certain level of storytelling. Speaking of food, I started working at a restaurant when I was 17 so food has played a big part of my life so far. It’s so important culturally and impactful on the world, so it’s easy to love and important to pay attention to. I feel like really good food is made with care and can take on its own means of expression. If I had to pick a favourite food I’d probably have to choose guacamole, I don’t have it very often but it’s a real treat I gotta say.

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How did you get started in photography?

My interest in photography started back in university I think? I would always do the most for that perfect insta pic with my friends on our phones and I always enjoyed playing with the colours and editing after on vsco. I bought my first camera two years ago and I haven’t looked back since. With the help and guidance of some really amazing friends, I’ve started to develop my own style and begun to figure out what photography means to me. I’m really glad I tried something outside of my comfort zone and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. Another thing that furthered my love for photography was going out and getting an old film cam. Film is one of the coolest things about photography because of the nostalgia factor you get after getting a roll developed, nothing can replace that feeling. Film taught me to be more in the moment, it humbled me and continues to teach me to trust myself behind the camera.  

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You have a very distinct style in your personal work, playing a lot with shadows and color blocking. How did you develop your style? What inspires you?

First of all, thank you for saying that, I think it’s still a work in progress, but I feel like I’m slowly getting somewhere, so it means a lot.  As for how I developed it, I guess I’ve just been shooting as often as I can. The more you shoot the more you begin to pay attention to details that matter to you. Colours are a huge thing for me, I’ve always loved the way they complement one another and can create their own energy, especially when paired with some cool lighting. Shadows are another fun thing to pay attention to. I always tell myself to trust my shadows, but never too much. A lot like real life I suppose, it’s all about a finding that perfect balance. In terms of inspiration I think it happens when I’m actually shooting. It’s all about a moment or two and capturing them to tell a story. It can change from place to place and from person to person, it all depends on how it feels.

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Congrats on recently completing 100 shoots for Snapwire! Tell us about a couple projects you enjoyed working on with us. Were there any surprises, successes, or struggles?

Honestly it’s been so much fun working with all the different types of food our amazing home has to offer. It’s really fun learning about and trying different dishes and getting to know a little bit more about the restaurant and the owners while I’m shooting. The commute can definitely be a killer but who’s isn't? Plus most places like to feed me pretty well so I really can’t complain. One of my favourite restaurants that I worked with was Butter Chicken Roti on Queen West in Toronto. The owner, Abhishek, was really passionate about his food and wanted to make sure his food was represented in the best way possible. The presentation suited his restaurant perfectly and was able to communicate with people on the app in a creative way. It’s been a really rewarding opportunity, where I’ve been able to meet some really fantastic people and try some equally as fantastic food.

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Do you have any advice or tips for fellow photographers?

Most definitely. Photography is so amazing because you can make whatever you want of it, as long as you’re happy. I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the last two years is to trust that you’re doing your best, being true to yourself and don’t spend the energy worrying about someone else’s negativity, when you can spend it on yourself or on someone’s positivity. Once you start doing your thing and making sure you’re happy with what you’re shooting, just continue to practice and challenge yourself as often as you can. You’re only going to get better and more comfortable.

Photo of Pat Ryder by: ADVANCED |  Sean Pollock

Photo of Pat Ryder by: ADVANCED | Sean Pollock

Creator Spotlight: January

Happy New Year! Happy 2019! Here are three photographers to inspire you this month!

MASTER | Cameron Bushong

Cameron illustrates emotional narratives throughout his portraits - often using himself as a model.

SHOOTER | Chirag Nikam

Chiarg plays with color and minimalistic perspective within her imagery.

PRO | Julia Shepeleva

Julia’s portraiture emulates the poetic nature of a fairy tale through her clean, elegant, compositions and use of light.

Follow Cameron, Julia, and Chiarg on Snapwire for more inspiring shots!

Relaxation

Relaxation, a recently closed challenge, made all of us want to climb under the blankets and snuggle. Winter weather can be harsh on your body and mind, so do not forget to relax and self care. Here are a few of our favorite submissions to help you get in the mood:

Photo by: PRO |  Misha Kreker

Photo by: PRO | Misha Kreker

Photo by: ADVANCED |  Esteban Perez

Photo by: ADVANCED | Esteban Perez

Photo by: SHOOTER |  Rolf Jager

Photo by: SHOOTER | Rolf Jager

Photo by: PRO |  Rick Theis

Photo by: PRO | Rick Theis

Photo by: ELITE |  Marko Klaric

Photo by: ELITE | Marko Klaric

Photo by: PRO |  Attila Adam

Photo by: PRO | Attila Adam

Photo by: SHOOTER |  Eric Yain Setten

Photo by: SHOOTER | Eric Yain Setten

Photo by: SHOOTER | Olya Niekrasova

Photo by: SHOOTER | Olya Niekrasova