Interview: Photographer Tom Kern (Germany)
Can you tell us a little about you? Well, I am a quite calm guy and live in northern Bavaria /Germany. I am used to travelling quite a lot all around the globe, and many times I take my camera with me. I grew up in a small village, and this certainly influenced me as a human being. For me, respect is still an important attitude.
How and when did you get into photography? I bought my first own camera in 1989, that’s quite a long time ago. Since that time, I have been addicted to photography. My camera equipment got larger and larger, as well as my experience. Right now, I am quite happy about my photos and the photo style related. What does photography mean to you? Not everything – but very close to it! Photography is on my mind every day. Whenever I see a cool location, a wonderful landscape or a significant person, I automatically think about a suitable arrangement for getting a perfect photo. Photography is my passion and luckily, I am can live my dream of being a photographer.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I love to create any kind of portraits in various kind of styles. I like to use different styles and sometimes technics when shooting with people. My preferred style is to mainly use a single person in the foreground with much soft and blurred background surrounding. I love to play with different color looks, so that each portrait will be a bit different from the original situation. The main topic is the person in the foreground, so often I really highlight the person and darken the background. For me it’s quite important that not every picture looks like the 1000 other pictures I took before.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I am inspired by my daily life. There are so many moments every day, which inspire me with new ideas. Sure, also surfing in internet will pop up some ideas, but that’s definitely not my main source for new picture ideas. Being a bit creative makes fun to me. So, why to read books for getting new ideas when our daily life is the best storyteller and inspirator.
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
The older I am the more thoughts I have in my mind before I push the shutter button. In earlier times I just shot pictures and filled my memory card with an endless number of pictures. At home I spent much time sorting the photos into good ones and bad ones. Today I invest much more time and effort before I take a picture. Before I press the shutter button, I usually check a number of things such as light and shadow, the models pose, the surrounding conditions, and whether the over-all arrangement is the way I thought it should be.
Studio, on location or both?
I prefer to photograph outside in nature or in beautiful locations. For me, integrating the natural colors and backgrounds makes people photography so exiting.
But of course, in bad weather or in winter, I prefer to the heated studio.
I think both areas have special requirements, and I like the variety. That's why I want to continue to shoot on location and inside the studio.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I have decided to pursue photography professionally from 2020. Although the decision to do so was not very easy for me, I am nevertheless firmly convinced that this is the right way for me. I am currently setting up a media agency, which is a lot of fun for me. I'm very excited what the future will hold for me.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I could list some great shoots now and would certainly still forget many of them. Legendary were the lost place session in ‘Beelitzer Heilstätten’ or the pictures on the ‘Devil's Table’ last year with model Michaela.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
From my point of view, the technology and brand are overrated. An outstanding photo is still created in the eye of the photographer and the camera system plays a minor role for me. Personally, I decided on a Canon system about 20 years ago. I am still very satisfied with that system. My favorite lens is still the Canon 70-200mm/f:2.8 USM to take great photos. Quite fast focus and quite sharp pictures – that’s what I like most.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Go your own way and don't try to copy other photographers. A perfect copy is still a copy! What do you think of our new magazine?
The magazine is a wonderful source to look at other works (models and photographers).
In my opinion, the submission-based editorial publication platform is great, it allows a large number of users access to the magazine for free.