Summer Morning Dream

Even though I love to capture the stars and the Milky Way, I love summer mornings. In Finland, summer is so bright that you can't see the Milky Way. I have been photographing mostly on summer mornings and nights recently, and I found that they are full of mystery and beauty. Mist crawling to a field to create a beautiful isolated feeling. I captured this picture a few days ago after photographing the whole night. After a couple of rainy days, the sun made an appearance on this beautiful sunrise. This image was captured in Kerava, Finland. I placed my camera on the tripod and used the camera's self-timer and ran to the scenery. 

I have only a couple of sales per year, and now you can get 20% off from all of my presets and star photography eBook until the first of July, 2016! Enjoy your summer and make sure to get it all in!


Equipment & Exif

Nikon D810, Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8 G ED
ISO 100, 1/100, 14 mm @ f/2.8 

Color edited with my Lightroom Phase Preset Collection: Hazy - Surreal

Mikko Lagerstedt – Summer Morning Dream – Kerava, Finland 2016

How to find your vision in Photography

How to find your vision in photography, art, and life? One of the most common questions I get from people is: What should I do to find my vision as I'm just starting in photography? In this guide, I have gathered some tools you can start to use straight away. Without further ado, let's cut to the chase!

1. Practice your craft DAILY

When you are first starting and want to find your unique vision. Try any kind photography you can think. Keep your camera with you everywhere you go. If you already know what kind of photography you want to focus on, then you just keep on doing that and there is no point on not to photograph another type of photography. Start with what you got. No matter if it's a camera, mobile phone or a pen. The key to success is not to wait.

2. Give it 100% – Say NO to excuses

If you want to be good at something, you have to give it your 100%. Sitting around and reading about photography tricks and tools gives you insight but you have to use that insight in the field. There are plenty of times I have said that "no, not today" yet crawled out of the bed at 1.00 am to photograph the night sky. Or when I have stayed up the whole night to get that first view of the sunrise. I believe in the 10 000 hours rule. For those who don't know what it is, it's practicing your craft for 10 000 hours whether it's photography, painting and so on. I would say I'm somewhere over the half way of this, and I still have a lot to learn.

3. Create, don't imitate

It's useful at times to use someone else's work as an inspiration but copying another painters or photographers work is unoriginal and uninspiring. Add your unique vision to the inspiration you gather. Keep a small notebook or a mobile phone with you to capture your thoughts and ideas. Don't hesitate to put bad ideas there as well. 

4. Study your work

If you want to get better at your craft, you have to go through your paintings or photographs with a perspective of a critique. Study what you enjoyed about the work and what could have been better. This way you always learn something new even though when the work was not good enough that you would like to share. 

5. Identify your inspiration

By creating and producing work, it's important to find those moments where you get inspired. Whether it's from other people's work, nature, movies, music or whatever. Once you understand what motivates you, you have an idea of what you can pursue. 

6. Share your best work

What this means is that you need to publish the photographs you find most inspiring to yourself. Not just the stuff that you can see gets a lot of attraction. It's crucial to find the courage to share your work. How do you know what is your best work? Well, that's the thing, you don't necessary know until you have had the courage to share it. You will get better at this the more you share your work. Search for a community where you can share the work. For photographers, there are many different platforms to use. For example, 1x is an interesting place to share your photographs this is a great site since you can get insightful feedback about your pictures. For painters and digital artist, there are fantastic opportunities as well such as deviantArt

7. Evolve and change

Don't be afraid to change your vision while you are working on your craft; it is one of the keys to finding your true artistic vision. It's a lifelong journey!

8. Challenge yourself

Creating photography challenges such as photograph each day for the next 30 days, or learn a new post-processing trick each day is an excellent way to boost your motivation and find out more about your vision. 

Try one of the following 30-days exercises

  • Photograph every day
  • Post-process pictures every day
  • Capture only five pictures per day

If you want to challenge yourself with a 52-week program check it out!

9. Book recommendations

These are the books that I feel works as a knowledge boost about the rules I have stated. Do the job while you read these, don't try and hide behind education it's just one kind of procrastination. 
Mastery – Robert Greene
Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

Enjoy the journey and have fun!

Mikko Lagerstedt – Red Night – Tuusulanjärvi, Finland 2015

Snapchat

I don't do a lot of personal Facebook updates because I don't believe in sharing only the best of my life. If you are into short videos and snaps, you can now add me on Snapchat. It's mostly boring everyday stuff. It's about how I spend my time – a dive into the reality of my life. Tune into my Snapchat account to see. You can download the app here: http://www.snapchat.com for iOS or Android phones. 

Add me from this link: https://www.snapchat.com/add/mikkolagerstedt or use the snap code below, my username mikkolagerstedt

Eight key things that make you stand out on Social Media – Major PING Alert!

Here is something a bit different from my regular posts. However, I believe it's something you will enjoy and learn from, whether you are a photographer, business owner or a freelancer.

Last year I had the pleasure to teach a workshop in PING Helsinki (maybe you saw this post back then), which was a fantastic opportunity to share my knowledge about photography. This year I had the pleasure to get an invitation as a Content Guru. 

So what is PING Helsinki? It's THE place where businesses and content creators are gathered together to share their vision and knowledge but most of all it's about the community and fun! I enjoyed the inspiring keynote speakers and workshops; I learned a lot. The most important message from the festival for me was that it made me remember what is the most important part of my work. The community! 

I have been a photographer for over seven years and through the time, I have been part of many communities. My first real online community was Flickr, which was the biggest photo sharing network at that point, and still people are using it. Getting feedback about my work was an essential part of my journey. I never would be here if I would not have been part of this community. See one of my first posts on Flickr. Getting comments from other photographers gave me the courage to continue with my work.

I have had my share of luck with social media, for instance, my Facebook page has now over 870 000 followers. I believe it's because I have always tried my best to keep up with the comments and share my knowledge as best as I can. Answering to messages and emails and by replying to comments can take up time. I still think it's essential. I have also been sharing my techniques and photography knowledge. It's about the community; it's not just about you or your work even though it all starts from there.

Eight key things that make you stand out on Social Media

  1. Create the kind of work YOU enjoy doing
  2. Do it regularly
  3. Share your work
  4. Keep your work consistent
  5. Fail
  6. Learn from your mistakes
  7. Engage with the audience
  8. Repeat

And I believe this works for any work you put out and for different kind of platforms as well! 

PING Helsinki 2016 – That's me second from the top left with a bunch of my fellow Instagrammers – see my huge ears and a black cap...

PING Helsinki 2016 – That's me second from the top left with a bunch of my fellow Instagrammers – see my huge ears and a black cap...

Shoutout to my fellow Instagrammers from Ping Helsinki

If you didn't know this is my Instagram: @mikkolagerstedt

Juuso Hämäläinen – @juusohd
Jaakko Kahilaniemi – @jkahilaniemi
Jaakko Kivelä – @jaakkokivela
Julia Kivelä – @julia_kivela
Anna-Elina Lahti – @annisellis
Sofia Lavaste – @slavaste
Joonas Linkola – @joonaslinkola
Konsta Linkola – @konstalinkola
Pekka Pelkonen – @pekkelsson
Konsta Punkka – @kpunkka
Teppo Tirkkonen – @teppotirkkonen

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it! If you have any suggestions for future tutorials, leave a comment. Finally, thank you PING Helsinki for the hugely inspiring festival! 

If you are on Snapchat, follow me there to see behind the scene footage! Click here @mikkolagerstedt to add me on Snapchat. (You need a mobile phone with IOS or Android to use it)

The Abandoned World - Plane wreck in Iceland

There are plenty of unique views in Iceland, and while I visited the country, I knew this plane wreck was one of those sights I wanted to visit. Walking around this iconic plane wreckage in the darkness of night was one of my favorite and most emotional experiences in Iceland. The wind made the wreck make ghostly sounds in the dark. I felt alone and inspired in this vast, surreal landscape. If you have visited the place you know, it's in the middle of nowhere (Sólheimasandur). I knew the story behind the abandoned plane wreckage; I still wanted to vision a different storyline. 

After a long rainy day, there was an opportunity to capture the plane wreck with an interesting and different vantage point. I carefully placed the camera on a tripod to the lowest possible height, close to the little puddle of water to create this perspective. I had to capture the scenery with multiple exposures to give it the final look because the wind kept blurring the water. I also wanted to get enough detail in the dark parts of the wreck. 

If you want to learn my star photography techniques, you can view my eBook Star Photography Masterclass where I go through my star photography vision. 

Exif & Equipment

Nikon D810, Nikkor 14–24 mm f/2.8 G, Sirui R4203 L Tripod & Manfrotto 3WAY-Head
Sky: ISO 6400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec.
Plane wreck & black sand: ISO 500, 14 mm, f/2.8, 14 min
Reflection: ISO 8000, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec.

Post-Processing

I selected the photographs I wanted to stitch together in Lightroom and applied Saga Preset (Ice) to each of them. For combining the three horizontal images, I used my Vision Of Depth technique in Photoshop. The hardest part was masking different parts of the pictures together to create the unique depth of the final artwork. After I had stitched the image together, I applied another of my favorite presets: Hint of Blue (Saga).

If you want to learn all of my techniques view The Complete Photography Bundle.

 

The Abandoned World – Sólheimasandur, Iceland – 2016