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Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography is an internationally recognized British landscape photographer and filmmaker. It was in North Yorkshire, England where he developed a true passion for nature and the outdoors. The pull of landscape photography accompanied by a streak of passion and rigor have all guided the evolution of his career.  Adam’s professional experience ranges from wedding photography to developing himself into a full-time landscape photographer, which he enthusiastically documents on his Youtube channel, @FirstManPhotography. While on location, Adam uses a variety of processing styles and alternate techniques, which he demonstrates and shares with his followers every Sunday!

Like Adam, Loupedeck+ the photo and video editing console, strives to evoke creativity and enthusiasm by providing a faster and more intuitive approach to the editing workflow. Here he shares with us what he’s learned along the way and how his artistic techniques and reflections continue to evolve.

As Adam began to chase his dream of becoming a professional photographer he found wedding photography to be a natural fit and although a passion for landscape is what initially drew him to the craft, weddings quickly became the bulk of Adam’s business. Following this path to making entry into photography as a career allowed him to become nimble on his feet to build a full range of skills in both the creative and professional aspects of commercial photography. The pressure of being tasked with freezing a singular moment with only one opportunity to capture it turned out to be an invigorating experience that kept the work fresh and engaging. Yet over time, as commercial landscape assignments became more frequent, Adam instinctually transitioned away from weddings and found his way back to his original passion.

My “photographic personality” is made up of various styles that consists of using different focal lengths, long exposures, and capturing new locations. Natural landscapes are definitely a signature of my work, but I aim for my images to tell the story of the landscape and evoke emotions.

The methodical and slow nature of landscape photography had its own influence on how Adam’s work would develop. What he describes as an eclectic photographic personality, was possible with the luxury of exploring different techniques while working out in the field and also with the greater freedom he enjoyed back in the studio when tinkering away with his raw files. Having the liberty to pursue any treatment that best suits a particular image, post-production became a more creative endeavor than it had been for wedding collections characterized by presets and batch processing. Unlike with the high-volume of images produced during an event, a full day of landscape photography may result in only two to three final shots, each calling for a completely different treatment to heighten their mood. Whether it’s a desaturated filmic-style adding to a photograph’s mystery, or rich saturated color emphasizing its exuberance, Adam is free to shift his palette depending on the needs of a singular image.

 

The methodical and slow nature of landscape photography had its own influence on how Adam’s work would develop. What he describes as an eclectic photographic personality, was possible with the luxury of exploring different techniques while working out in the field and also with the greater freedom he enjoyed back in the studio when tinkering away with his raw files. Having the liberty to pursue any treatment that best suits a particular image, post-production became a more creative endeavor than it had been for wedding collections characterized by presets and batch processing. Unlike with the high-volume of images produced during an event, a full day of landscape photography may result in only two to three final shots, each calling for a completely different treatment to heighten their mood. Whether it’s a desaturated filmic-style adding to a photograph’s mystery, or rich saturated color emphasizing its exuberance, Adam is free to shift his palette depending on the needs of a singular image.

I wanted to move away from the mouse and keyboard in the hope of increasing productivity and making the connection between my hands and my work. My search for this led me to Loupedeck+.

Another tool that has allowed Adam to broaden the narrative around his photographs has included his expansion into video as part of his artistic process. This evolution was also the major motivating factor that led him to seek out a control surface offering a more seamless editing workflow when alternating between the two mediums. He itched for freedom from his mouse and keyboard duo and wanted to ramp up his productivity. Perhaps more importantly, Adam also craved a more tactile connection between his hands and the work on the screen. Enter Loupedeck+ and an immediate creative evolution! Initially, Adam was impressed with the ease of setup and the solid feel of the panel, noting that the dials and buttons were undoubtedly quality-built. Being a long-time user of Lightroom, Adam felt quickly familiar with the controls and effortlessly adjusted to using the sliders for common adjustments. But the real excitement came into play as he began to apply the new tool creatively. Finally having the tactile connection to individual controls made post-production a more natural and artistic experience.

 

Creatively, the improvements were immediate. Having the tactile connection to individual controls produced a more natural and artistic experience.
I am now able edit without taking my eyes off of the image, which has become an invaluable part of my creative process.

 

As Adam became increasingly familiar with the Loupedeck+ controls, this allowed him to – for the first time in his career, edit his photography without taking his eyes off the screen. This new freedom and more intuitive way of editing images quickly became an invaluable part of Adam’s creative process. Being able to navigate the controls instinctively was an easy transition because he felt that the placement of the controls is particularly well thought out straight out of the box. For example, he highlighted that the controls for white balance, which include temperature and tint, are right next to one another. Almost as if unconsciously, Adam was drawn to controlling both at the same time with one hand. This not only allowed for the easy manipulation of fine-tuned color balance, but dramatically increased his efficiency and creativity at the same time. Although a fan of the pre-set control settings, Adam naturally appreciated that the software allows the photographer to customize the controls using the custom mode. Using the additional dedicated custom buttons, he added his most commonly used Lightroom functions for a perfectly customized workflow. Summing it up, Adam tells us that, “It’s a really natural experience.”

Reflecting back on his career, what comes into focus for Adam is that, “the journey required patience and a pragmatic approach to opportunities both big and small.” There were no sudden big breaks that he could recall, but rather an evolution of open doors, new tools and skills, and collaborations that opened up as a result of unfaltering endurance and dedication. This spirit of hard work also shows up in Adam’s perspective on whether photographers are born with raw natural talent or if that talent develops out of the pursuit of acquired skill and precision. In his take on this debate, he acknowledges that some shooters might be born with a “bigger artistic streak” than others, but he has a strong conviction that durability is ultimately the main underlying factor in success. With an ethos rooted in determination and a goal-oriented approach, even a fine thread of talent can lead to a fulfilling career. Coupled with a natural appreciation of story and a passion for communicating ideas through the photographic image, a little elbow grease and strong character have been the key ingredients in Adam’s journey to a thriving photography business and artistic practice.