Carla Johnson: Munich, Germany
How long have you been a photographer?
More than 15 years.
What first piqued your interest in photography?
I have always had a passion for photography, but after I purchased my first SLR in 1995 I couldn't wait to learn everything about it. In 1998 I was asked to photograph a wedding. I was so intimidated, but you have to start somewhere. From there, my photography business started. Before I moved to Germany, last year, my main focus was portraiture, but now I have been shooting landscapes around Europe, though I am still trying to do as much portraiture as possible.
What is your photography forte?
My passion is photographing children. I love the way their eyes light up, and they have such a beautiful innocence.
What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?
One tip I can share is to look for the light. Look at what direction the light is coming from and how it falls on the subject or scene. Lighting is everything in an image. If the lighting isn't right, then change where you or your subject is standing. Learn to see the light and how it affects your image. Have fun experimenting with a variety of lighting situations.
How do you decide what to shoot and how to shoot it?
I try to take advantage of shooting a variety of things. Sometimes I'll keep my long lens on the entire day to get a different perspective on the images.
Where is your favorite location to shoot?
I have had the opportunity to travel all over Europe, so what I am shooting now is a bit different from what I used to. I couldn't say I have a favorite location. What moves me is the story in the image. Whether it’s a castle, a temple, children, or just trees in the snow, as long as it moves me, I will shoot it. I also love to capture the way light hits a subject or scene.
What do you love about photography?
I love photography because it allows me to express myself and show others how I see the world.
What advice would you give to new photographers?
When teaching my kids or friends about photography, the first thing I tell them is to not be afraid of taking your camera off the P Mode (Programmed Auto) or Auto setting. In the digital age, we can shoot as much as we want without the cost of developing. Don't be afraid to experiment using different settings. Take the time to learn how your camera works, and try different exposures. Also, shoot at different angles by getting low or even getting up high and shooting down. Zoom in! Take several shots of the same scene, but at different perspectives. Fall in love with photography!
How important is Photoshop in your final image?
You should always try to get the exposure right in the camera. Photoshop and Lightroom should be for fine-tuning. Don't spend your time over-editing your images.
What is your favorite lighting?
My favorite lighting is probably twilight. The warm light makes colors intensely bright and gives such a beautiful radiance to the images. During this time of day, you can catch some amazing backlighting, and it looks like the sun is kissing your subject from behind.
Where is your dream location to shoot?
One that is on the top of my list is the aurora borealis (the northern lights), preferably in Norway, so I can photograph the Fjords at the same time.
What types of photos have you shared with the Church and its members?
Most of my images have been of temples, landscapes of Europe and the US, Church history sites, nature, and some people as well.
What is one tip that you would like to share?
Don't let the weather hold you down. Many of us wait for the perfect sunny day to photograph. There are so many textures and reflections you can capture when the weather isn't “perfect.” Take advantage of the rainy day, and capture the puddles and the reflections in the water. On cloudy days, the sky can be your soft-box and allow the smallest details that normally would be lost by the bright sun to come to life.