When Mikhail told me he used to repair phones for a living, I was a little surprised. How could someone so talented have ventured so far from the industry? Sometimes fate throws challenges our way which is exactly what happened to Mikhail Dudarev.
With a background in electronic engineering, Mikhail worked at a phone repair store before he decided it was time to set himself free and pursue what he loves. Where do you think an electronic engineer with no photography experience would head? In pursuit of wanderlust of course.
How Mikhail got into travel photography
Mikhail was still a student when he decided to travel to Middle East by hitchhiking. He brought his camera to document his travels but was robbed on his way to his destination. Once he returned home, he took out a loan to buy a new one. Around the same time, he was gifted with a book about hitchhiking which had a chapter about earning money on the way via microstock.
Thus, Mikhail’s journey began. He learnt Photoshop through online lessons; his skills are evident in his creation of technically perfect high-res images. His travel photography is full of contrast, bold colors and interesting effects.
What is your creative process like?
Moving to locations, I keep in mind basic aims for photo sessions, but often everything happens spontaneously. Almost all of my best selling photographs were shot in this style.
How do you choose the photographs that will be on the Depositphotos website?
I try to create content that is as perfect as it can get, without technical lacks, with good color balance. When I do this, I upload a whole batch. Selection is a part of the first step of my workflow.
What is vital for a successful stock photograph?
How do you choose which themes to work in?
I shoot what I like, regardless of sales. My favorite theme is sports such as free diving, climbing, hiking and fishing. I like to shoot funny pictures. If the reaction of viewer is “This is stupid”, “It’s crazy”, “How did they do it?” – I reached my goal.
What is your favourite photograph that you have taken and why?
My wife and I were living in South East Asia and went on a short trip on an island in Andaman sea. We slept in the hammocks right over the sea surface, with a starry sky above. We ate pineapples and shot coral reefs and fish underwater, and enjoyed the tropical clear sea alone. I dove to a bottom (about 7 meters), and created a ring bubble. There was no underwater current at this time and this single bubble went up 2 meters to the surface.
Some of your best sales are landscape photographs, do you have any tips for creating sellable landscape photographs?
It is very pleasant on a vacation, in a new city, to wake up at 9:30 and drink a cappuccino. Don’t be lazy. Grab your camera, explore new spots and catch the early morning light with a vivid sky! Don’t be lazy – climb the hill! There is another nice view through a green leaves!
What do you try to communicate with your photographs?
Humans can do anything, life is fun.
What are some equipment essentials for your photo shoots?
Completely equipped, my backpack weighs about 20 kg. I try to find compact solutions. Usually I take my tripod Mefoto with Canon 5d mark lll as the main camera with EF 16-35 f2.8 lens. Also I take Fuji X-T1 with 16 mm f1.4 for timelapses and city trips. The set of gear depends on the country and may include mask, fins, underwater housing, nodal point correction gear (for 360 degrees panoramas), laptop, wetsuit and couple of HDDs.
It’s rare that we get a glimpse into the work process of photographers. You can watch one of Mikhail’s photo shoots from start to finish here: