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Stephen Ninaber / Interview

4VIS3yPlThis guy is very good at his craft. I follow him on Instagram and I always love his shots. Always.

He’s taken beautiful, dramatic and engaging pictures all over the world.

So I chatted with him and got his perspective on photography, cheap friends and the role of faith in the work of capturing the best image possible.

  1. How did you get into photography? My first trip overseas was to India, I grew up a missions kid, and this basically was the first overseas mission trip I went on with my dad and sister. Growing up in a family that move around a lot, instilled in me a great admiration for new things and new places. After I had been to a handful of countries, south Africa and India being among them. I decided that I needed some way to capture all the changes and beauty that was going on around me. I think the first time I started to dabble in the art would have been in the beautiful countryside of England. The country that most broke my heart would definitely be the slums in India. In India there is no middle class, there is only poor and rich. While there I ventured into some of the slums to meet with people. This is the poorest of the poor, but the lessons I learned were the richest of the rich. People here have nothing but are so content and offer you much above their means that it will stir your heart. I guess what I’m trying to say is that; I wanted some way to capture all the memories I was making on my journeys. This started by picking up a camera, and just starting to take pictures of things that inspired me.
  1. Here’s a scenario: I’m your friend (kind of) I want you to do my wedding for free, you say? I’m probably the first person to want to help someone or give a deal. However, when you invest so much time and money into your craft, it doesn’t really make sense to do it for free. You wouldn’t ask a plumber to come and work for you for free, or even a mechanic to fix your car for nothing. To me I think the art forms deserves just as much value and recognition as any other job. So Id say, hey man thanks for asking me to do your wedding, however I cant really do it for free as this is my lively hood. Id for sure be willing to do it though, if you’re willing to pay me.”
  1. Can we amateurs have a few of your tips so our images look pro? (even if we’re only using SmartPhone cameras). For me the most important part of taking pictures is the composition. I try to take my photos and frame them in a way that people can really enjoy and is unique. Also, just as important is to develop a style that is unique to you. I like to think I’ve created a look that is unique to me, and when people see one of my photos, they can instantly recognize that I’ve taken it.
  1. Who are your biggest influences? I’d say the people around me inspire my photography, also the first moment you look upon a new sight while travelling. There is nothing as rewarding as seeing something for the first time, this world is full of so much beauty just waiting to be discovered. My wife is also one of my biggest supporters, and encouragers. She is ever so encouraging of my pursuit of photography, and continues to support me in all of its endeavours. When I’m having a moment of self-doubt, or a time of crippling comparison, she is there to lift me up and help me get back on my feet.
  1. You have a huge Instagram following (23k and counting @sninaberphoto) What can other photographers do to get noticed? I’d say the biggest thing is posting original, and relevant content. Id say most of my generation loves to travel, and that definitely helps with people being interested in seeing what I have to post. Another things that has helped me, is submitting my photos to many differently online blogs and magazines. Eventually hopefully someone likes your work, and they will feature it and maybe a few more people will notice you.
  1. 28 nations and counting. Who pays for all you travels? This your full time job? I have been very fortunate to have parents that travels a lot, so I got the chance to go on many trips with them at a young age. To date I have paid for most of my travel, Id say at least 80%. I have been fortunate to go on a few trips where expenses and flights were covered. However, to do this full time is still a dream as of right now. I have funded most everything to try and make a name for myself, so that I might have the opportunity to do it full time one day.
  1. Technology has made it so that anyone is able to take good pictures, what do you think is the future of your craft and art form? That is very true, and I think that it is a super competitive industry; especially growing up with all the access we have to technology. I think the future for me, is to continue and keep doing what im doing. I mean in the sense of trying to develop a unique style and art form that people can learn to love and recognize. I would love for one day to be able to sell my art to many people all over the world, and be recognized as one of the worlds emerging travel photographer talents.
  1. What you want people to say about you in your funeral? Wow this is really gets you thinking. I think for me Id want people to say, that I followed my dreams and passion to the end, and never gave up on pursuing what I loved. Something like “beloved husband, beloved father, and beloved friend.” I just hope people can one day say that I inspired them in some small way. What I really aim to do is to somehow inspire people through the way I live my life, and take photos.
  1. What role does your spirituality (faith) play into your job? It is a vital part of who I am, and a vital part of how I see and capture the world that I present to the people around me. I am inspired by my faith, and it is the lens through which I see the beauty in this world. All im trying to do is capture the beauty that God has created, and present a small portion of it back to my viewers. I believe that without inspiration Galileo wouldn’t of been Galileo, or da Vinci wouldn’t of been da Vinci. Inspiration is what gives us the ability to create and be who we are. Without being inspired by my faith I would never be able to do what I do, and never be able to capture it in a way that can inspire others.
  1. Tell us about your worst job / and your best one. I wouldn’t say I’ve had a horrible job to write home about. However one of the hardest jobs I did, was taking photos of 12 young Siberian huskies. They were adorable, and I still enjoyed doing it. However, there were 12 of them, and I had to lie down in the grass, while trying to dodge them from running into me, and my camera. I thought at any moment one of the dogs could run into my lens and destroy it. The best job I’ve ever done would definitely be where I got to travel with 4 people from Belgium to Niger. I was hired to do the photos and videos for this journey and it was definitely every young travelers dream. Going to Multiple countries, and new sights, over weeks of traveling. Even though I was only a part of the journey till Senegal, I still will never forget the experience.

Now, do your social feeds a favor and follow Stephen on: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook