We have a very special treat this month as we are joined by EyeEm photographer Svante Berg.
Svante is fairly new to the EyeEm community and while he believes his monthly earnings to be modest, his success has so far come in another form: winning not one but two EyeEm Missions! Photography competitions are a key part of what makes EyeEm so great and they are an amazing way to grow your audience, get your images seen and get noticed by the EyeEm team.
Moody, atmospheric travel photos combined with on-trend lifestyle shots create an EyeEm profile that is uniquely his own. I believe this interview will be a rare look at a photographer who’s just getting started and will go on to make it big on the EyeEm Market.
So, without further delay, I’m thrilled to welcome Svante to the EyeEm Insider interview hot-seat. Enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Svante. I am 31 years old and I live in Berlin. During the day I work as a colorist and motion designer at a post production company. When I have free time I try to do as much photography as possible.
Traveling is very important to me and I try to take one longer trip each year. Travel and photography goes hand in hand so I’m lucky to be able to combine both interests.
Where is home?
I was born in Stockholm, Sweden. I lived there until I was 20, then I moved to the city of Norrköping for University studies.
Four years ago a friend posted on Facebook that he was renting out his apartment in Berlin. He had just posted it and I made the spontaneous decision to go for it. A couple of weeks later I came with two suitcases to an empty apartment in Berlin and started from there. I have moved a couple of times since then but I think I have settled down now.
What got you started in photography?
I think I have always been interested in recording images. During my time at the University I got into filmmaking and I think it was during that time it also became clear to me that photography was something I wanted to do.
How would you describe your photography style?
I mostly shoot travel and lifestyle, and when I have time some portraits. I shoot digital but I like to edit my pictures so that the colours resemble analogue film.
Where do you find your inspiration?
There are so many places to find inspiration today! I follow people on EyeEm and Instagram, I read a lot of photography articles and I also buy a photo book or magazine now and then. And then of course the stuff that you see around you. I think travel is the best source for inspiration, for photography and in life.
What got you started with EyeEm?
That is a good question. I think I found it about 10 months ago, by chance on Google. I was already shooting quite a lot and I was looking around for a platform where I could sell pictures.
EyeEm Market Success
Where can buyers find your photos?
I shoot exclusively for EyeEm.
How did you get started with the EyeEm Market?
I joined the market directly when I joined EyeEm.
What do you love about the EyeEm Market?
I like the clean design of the web page and the app. When you see your pictures in the curated collections it really feels like they are presented in a good way.
The desktop uploading with the auto tags also suits my needs very well.
Where are you currently at with EyeEm Market?
It is a side project. I have have been on EyeEm for ten months. In the first months I was uploading very few pictures and naturally didn’t make any sales. Lately I have started to realize how things work and therefore I have ramped up my uploading. I would certainly be open to put more time and effort into if it turned out to be even more profitable. A dream would be to make half my income from EyeEm sales.
How many images do you currently have for sale on the EyeEm Market?
How many images do you have available in the EyeEm Premium Collection?
As of right now, how much money have you made on the EyeEm Market?
As everybody who has been using the platform knows, the process can be pretty slow. Not only because of review times, but also because you need to get a feeling for what works and what doesn’t. I had some small sales in the past but it is in the last two months that I’m starting to see some steady income at about 100$ per month.
How often do you analyse your top selling images? Do you ever create photos based on images that you have sold?
I don’t think I have sold enough to see any real patterns yet. But I love collecting statistics so I will probably start doing that in the future when I have more information to go on.
Have you ever worked on an assignment for EyeEm?
I have. It wasn’t anything huge but it was a pleasant experience. The people there are super friendly!
Do you market your EyeEm Market images outside on other platforms?
I do not actively market my EyeEm images with the purpose of selling them. But I do post some of the images I upload to EyeEm on Instagram and on my Facebook page. I doubt it impacts my EyeEm sales much, but who knows!
Your EyeEm Photography Workflow
What cameras and gear are you currently using?
I use a Canon 6D with Zeiss ZE lenses. A Fujifilm XT-1 with a couple of lenses. I edit on Macs.
What cameras and gear did you start with when you joined EyeEm?
I had the Canon and the Zeiss lenses when I started, but I added the Fuji as a daily/travel camera.
Is there any gear you are thinking of buying in the future?
There is always gear I’m thinking about getting in the future! Right now I’m following the 6D mark II and the latest Sony full frame camera rumors closely.
What editing software do you use and why?
Photoshop is my preferred editing software because I use it daily in my work, so I have quite a lot of experience with it. I know that Lightroom can be faster for batching images, but Photoshop has all the advanced retouching tools..
Can you briefly describe your current photography workflow?
I usually shoot either during travel, where everything is unplanned, or I plan portrait sessions. It is two very different ways to shoot but I like both.
My workflow is pretty straightforward. After I shot the images I transfer them to my computer. There I go through them one or two times and pick out the favorites. Then I edit them in the Photoshop Camera Raw Editor. After that I do some retouching and logo removal if it is necessary, and then I upload them via the desktop uploader.
What is your favourite recent image and how did you create it?
I think this one turned out good. I was out of my comfort zone and also with a new model I had only met briefly before. For me the best way to shoot portraits is when it is 50% planned and 50% go with the situation. This session was like this and I’m happy with the results. It was shot on the 6D with the Zeiss ZE 28/2.0.
The EyeEm Community
Pick 3 EyeEm users or photos that you are a fan of and share with us why you like them.
Excellent travel and lifestyle photography with some portraits thrown in. Colorful but not over the top. Just great.
Dreamy portraits. Every photo seems like it has its own story. I love it!
I think she has found a great balance between the authentic and the commercial look. Well shot and very well edited.
Three very different photographers but I find them all inspiring.
Do you participate in EyeEm Missions? Have there been any which have been particularly inspiring, challenging or fun?
Actually, the first picture I uploaded on EyeEm won the Auto Scout mission. So they sent me a photo printer. That was inspiring!
I also won the Mobile Communications mission from Babbel the other month. And my pictures have been used as inspiration for other missions.
Have you ever entered the EyeEm Awards? If so, which images did you submit? How far did they get?
No, I just missed it last year. I must have joined EyeEm right after the 2016 awards. But I’m going for it this year!
Have you ever appeared in the EyeEm magazine? If so, which images and how was that experience?
No, I have not.
How do you curate your EyeEm profile/presence?
This is a tricky one. I want to sell pictures, but at the same time I don’t want my profile to look like an endless grind with the only purpose being getting as many pictures into Getty as possible. I try to balance it the best I can. I never upload pictures I don’t like just because I think someone somewhere might one day buy them.
I think as I get better and learn what buyers are looking for, I’ll be uploading less images but more specific.
What are your favourite things about EyeEm?
I think the design of the app and the webpage are great. I have looked into some other stock agencies and their pages are a mess. The EyeEm team has certainly done a really good job there. I think my favorite thing is that EyeEm is a company that really lives and engages with the community. Missions, awards, magazines – it’s all inspiring and great for the community.
What are you currently working on?
I’m writing you from a cottage in Malaysia since I’m on a trip in Asia. I’m hoping that over the next weeks I’ll be busy editing and uploading the pictures I’ve taken here.
Do you have advice for EyeEm photographers?
I think it is important to keep an eye on trends and what others are doing, especially when your aim is to sell pictures. But don’t stray too far from what you like to shoot, because then there is a risk that you stop enjoying taking photos.
Do you have any tips to share about…
Increasing technical skills:
Know your gear! It doesn’t matter if you are shooting spontaneous travel photography or a portrait session, not knowing your camera and lenses can make you miss that important shot. The key is to shoot even more and think about why some situations and photos turn out the way they do.
Growing EyeEm followers:
You need to catch the attention of the photo curators. It is easier said than done, but taking good pictures that win missions and get featured is the way to go.
Achieving success on the EyeEm Market:
If you are a beginner the first step is to understand how copyright works. I see a lot of people complaining in forums that their pictures need releases and that they don’t understand why. I would recommend reading the EyeEm FAQ about copyright before uploading pictures. Understanding basic copyright will improve your hit rate a lot, and save you from uploading images that will never be selected.
Another thing to realize is that it is not a get rich quick scheme. Like most other things it takes time and effort. I saw pictures I uploaded ten months ago appear on Getty the other day.
Also remember that there is no absolute connection between followers and market sales. Some accounts have very beautiful arty pictures and 50 thousand followers, but I doubt that they sell anything on the market. So ask yourself what you want to focus on.