Amy Pearl Lifestyle & Surf Photographer

Amy Pearl Lifestyle & Surf Photographer

Posted on September 10 2018

An interview by Vagabond Photographic Creative Guide Kat Nielsen...

Amy Pearl is a lifestyle photographer from the Tweed Coast of Northern NSW, Australia. She has grown up near the ocean, which has inspired her to capture photographs that tell a story. By combining this passion for the ocean and creative imagery her work produces a relaxed and whimsical vibe that is sure to delight everyone. 

Firstly, can you start with a little bit about yourself?
I’m 28 years old and married to my best friend Daniel. We have a 2 year old daughter and most days I love just living the simple life spending time with her. I grew up surfing every day and was a competitive junior surfer until I was 20. I had so many amazing experiences through surfing. I’ve always loved the ocean and remember being in awe of the visions I’d get out in the water and want to share them with others to enjoy. I’ve always been creative and loved the ocean and this all naturally led to me buying a camera and water housing and getting into ocean photography. I started a small photography business about a year ago and it's been going well… I’m enjoying the ride!

When did you first start your photography journey? 
I started my photography journey about 4 years ago. Previous to that I had an old Go pro and an old DSLR which I loved to shoot on. I dreamt of upgrading to a full frame DSLR and water housing and eventually decided to just do it and teach myself how to use it. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

What equipment do you use and why did you select it? 
We had a friend selling a Canon 5d mark ii with a range of lenses in perfect condition. Although the canon 5d ii was an older model, it was still a high quality full frame camera and it was my chance to get an almost complete set up in one go at a good price. The lenses included a Canon f2.8 20mm, f2.8 35mm and an f2.8 80 mm. I then bought a Canon f2.8 70-200mm, a 2.8 Sigma 15mm and an SPL Housing to complete my set up. It has been everything I’ve needed so far, but I am looking to upgrade my camera body this year and currently deciding what I’ll upgrade to.

What would you say is your favourite lens and Why? My favourite is the 20mm for ocean photography as I like how I can do under/over shots and surfer shots with the one lens. The only tricky thing is I have to be really close to the surfer for this wide angle lens. But my favourite lens overall is by far the 70-200mm lens, it is so sharp and smooth and I would love to get it in the water one day.

When you travel what must have equipment do you take? 
I take my camera body with the 20mm and SPL housing for water, 35mm for lifestyle on-the-go shots and the 70-200 for everything in between. I pack them all into my RVCA Zak Noyle backpack and go.

What are your most frequently used settings? 
My settings are forever changing for the look I want to capture!

What time of day do you prefer to shot at?
I wish I was a morning person as sunrise would have to be the best time to shoot but I hate early mornings and love my sleep too much! So during the day for my clear, blue water shots and late afternoon for my warm golden shots.

Among all your work what is the most memorable moment you have captured? That’s a good question! It would have to be a sea tornado I captured recently. It was incredible to watch and I have never set up my camera so quickly. It received a crazy reaction on social media and went viral with over 11 thousand likes which I wasn’t anticipating. It was wild and I was stoked people connected with it the way they did.

How do you continue to educate yourself to have become a better photographer? I’m constantly learning. There’s a rad community of photographers on social media that I’m always learning from. That’s by far my favourite part of social media. I’m also a part of a photography group on WhatsApp that I’m always learning from and inspired by. There’s also an infinite range of resources on YouTube which I get into sometimes to learn and be inspired.

What advice do you have for people wanting to grow their Instagram following? Just enjoy what you do and capture images you love and it will happen naturally. Consistency on Instagram is huge, so think about what your niche is and stick to it. But don’t let this box you in either, just shoot what you love and people will naturally follow along. It’s also important to engage with others if you want them to engage with you and see what you’re putting out there.

Who are your greatest photography inspirations? There are so many! I can’t go past @nolanomura, he’s one of the first photographers that made me realise you can capture ocean shots in an artistic and moody way and use beautiful tones in your work with a unique style. I loved his so much it made me think about what I wanted my unique style to look like and I have been developing it ever since.

@ellenmarytaylor is another favourite, the light in her shots and the tones are always so perfect, I look forward to her shots every time and I’m always inspired.

What is the most memorable country you have visited? Fiji and Vanuatu for the tropical, perfect water and NZ for its raw and stunning coastline.

What country are you dying to shoot in but haven’t had the chance? Hawaii!!

What continues to motivate you to produce your work? I love nature and being creative and I just can’t get enough of capturing it in unique ways.

Lastly, what is one piece of advice you would give someone starting out in photography?
Just enjoy it and express yourself in a unique way! Do it for the love of it and you’ll be hooked for life. Gear doesn’t matter. I shot on an entry level DSLR and one of the first models of Go pro for ages and it taught me so much. Grab anything you can get and enjoy it. 

If you would like to see more of Amy's beautiful images view her website & also her Instagram account @amypearlphoto


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