For the second #Skillmillstories interview, our team has decided to have a virtual chat with a talented photographer – Simon Veith and talk about sustainability and career in photography. Not only does Simon have many years of experience in photography but he also uses and promotes a unique and sustainable working approach. Simon’s holistic sustainability concept includes environmentally-friendly ways of working such as climate-neutral photo production, sustainable equipment and environmentally friendly transport. Most importantly, Simon has trees planted for every order made to make a positive contribution to climate protection.
Since the Skillmill team was highly inspired by Simon’s way of working, we have asked him questions not only about his professional career but also about benefits and clients’ reactions to sustainable working.
How long have you been working in the photography field?
I am working full-time as a photographer 4 years by now and I started photography in 2012. In between, I learned a lot on film photography and studied online for a while before I became a pro.
What is the most memorable event that happened while you were working?
Well, there were some quite impressive moments. For example when Arnold Schwarzenegger came to the world climate conference in Bonn in 2017 and pointed at my camera when I captured him on stage with a children’s choir.
Or shooting a brand new solar car called Sion during a test drive. But I would say the best thing is making my customers happy with portraits.
What factors encouraged you to start working sustainably?
The bad situation for the environment, of course. Climate change is real and I don’t want to work for businesses, that don’t care about climate and are only interested in profit.
How do your clients react to a sustainable way of working?
I would say most of my clients really like it or even prefer it. So it’s a good thing to do and in general, it’s always good to be authentic and have integrity.
What are the main 3 things that you’ve learned since the start of your career?
- Dealing with different kinds of clients
- Improving in studio photography & lighting techniques
- Posting photos every day on Instagram does not bring new clients
What are the 3 tips that you would give to someone who is starting their career in the photography field?
“Focus on the field you like most, no matter if it is more difficult or not.
Find a niche and serve it perfectly
Be a pro and make sure you have a second camera, lens and/or light in case something breaks during a job”
–– Simon Veith
What are the 3 things that you recommend not to do to someone starting their career in the photography field?
- Don’t focus on one platform
- Do not get the most expensive camera, prefer getting the best lens(es) for your style first
- Don’t do what everyone else is doing
How do you find work and inspiration?
I look for inspiration on Instagram, on Pinterest, listening to interesting podcasts and music. In most cases the work finds me first, I would say.
How do you challenge yourself to become a better photographer?
I give my very best at every job and try to rise with free work when I try out new ideas, lights or gear.
How would you encourage other photographers to start working sustainably?
It would be great for the environment of course. I’ve been doing this for 4 years now and financially speaking there are better niches to be honest. And of course, be aware that becoming a professional photographer is a very hard job and brings some sacrifices. Besides I can recommend optimizing your workflow and analyzing all of your steps during communication and photo-production so you can reduce your carbon emissions as good as possible. Then look for a partner to compensate the emissions that you can not avoid. Hence, if you really wanna do this, go for it, find your niche and find your own way into professional photography. Good luck!
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