The widely published landscape photographer Luka Esenko also leads small photography tours and workshops around Slovenia and Croatia, where he brings his clients of varying skills to the very best photography locations. Recently, we spoke to Luka and learned, among other things, of his opinion about social media, his favorite place in Slovenia to shoot, and his new venture, Snapp Guides.
How old were you when you first knew you wanted to be a professional photographer? And how did you first get Into the profession?
It was late, in my mid-20s when I returned from Austria where I was studying. It started with selling my travel photos and then later I started running workshops and tours in the Adriatic region.
Everyone seems to be an amateur photographer these days, whIch we can relate to because everyone also seems to be an amateur writer. How has this affected professional photographers?
I think the core principle of business is still the same, regardless of everyone being a photographer. If you’re very good at what you do you can still do good business with photography. The biggest change is that you must spend a lot of time promoting your work and this often takes more time than the photography itself.
What do you think of faceBook, Instagram and other social media sites?
I acknowledge these platforms as being the main channels to promote my work. People spend a lot (too much) time there and being present is the way to get the word out. On the other hand, it’s all become very crowded and superficial. A photographer mustn’t forget about more traditional ways to show their work, like galleries, exhibitions, trade shows, talks, and meeting people in person.
We know it’s a bit cliché to ask, but what’s most Important: light, camera or eye?
With today’s advancements in the photography industry, what camera you use is less and less important. But the eye and the mind to create unique images is more important than ever.
What’s the most common mIstake that amateur photographers make?
Probably putting too much importance on the camera gear. But also being influenced by how many likes one will get on social media and only shooting what seems more popular and not where their true passion lies.
Is It still possible to take a (relatively) unique shot of the most popular tourist attractions? Any tips for doing so?
Of course, it is! I love seeing a unique image of a frequently photographed place. The most important thing is to have no expectations when you go to such places. Be humble, take your time to get to know the place and explore.
Where’s your favorite place to shoot in Slovenia?
The Julian Alps are my favorite place by far. Not just the mountain tops but all aspects of the place: valleys, rivers, forests. I keep finding hidden corners that inspire and give me energy.
and aBroad? Too many to count, but my passion goes to mountains. Recently I started to explore the Dolomites and the mountains of the Balkans.
What are Snapp guides? And who are they intended for?
A series of digital destination guides for photographers, created with professional photographers around the world. Using our guides a photographer will know where to go, how to get there and when to be there, helping them create better images and discover new places to shoot.
When you’re on holiday do you still take a lot of photos?
Even when on holidays the passion is still burning. But I’ve learned to relax and give priority to my family. This said I still take my camera gear with me and go shooting on certain mornings or evenings.
Do you think that taking or not taking photos changed your experience of a place?
It does, yes. And this is an endless discussion if the experience is better or worse. I’d say it’s up to the photographer. With photography, you can experience a place more deeply. When you observe the landscape, how the light changes, how the season changes or when you enjoy the morning solitude and quietness. Street photography is one of the best ways to get to know the life of a city and its people. But it’s equally important to know when to put your camera away and be a tourist.