Emily Kaszton is an exceptional photographer with a stunning portfolio of drone shots. In her many adventures, she’s managed to capture some of the most incredible lighting conditions and the beauty of waves from above as well as rare sightings of whales.
Emily continues to shoot and edit images in her unique style, and you can purchase those prints online. Today Emily shares with us her story with photography, from early beginnings to where she is today.
Can you describe that moment when you knew that photography was something you had to do?
I grew up around cameras, so that part was easy. When I was a kid, my dad always had a camera or video camera attached to his hand; so naturally, I started using them. I was always making videos and taking photos for fun. I was obsessed with the visual storytelling.
What has your career path been like ever since?
I attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and pursued a career in portraiture.
My brother-in-law works in commercial real estate, so he suggested I purchase a drone. He had seen a lot of photographers using them in his line of work. So I bought my first drone, and the minute that it lifted off, I knew that I had found something special. Getting good at it took a lot of practice. But I loved it, so it never felt like work.
What are some struggles that you’ve come upon in your career, and how have you overcome them?
I had to try a few different things before the right passion stuck.
I attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara with the intention to study Nature and Action Sports Photography, but I was told by society that it would be hard to make a living in these fields, so I took another “stable” route and studied portraiture. And then I started my portrait business. I took photos of families, newborns, weddings and headshots. I truly loved my job and it was rewarding to see the reactions of my clients when they saw photos from our session for the first time, and my business thrived. But something was missing. That was until I discovered drone photography. It takes experience to figure out where we are the happiest versions of ourselves.
What technology/software/camera gear do you use that makes you productive and helps you deliver your best work?
The gear out there is also ever evolving, so I spend a lot of time getting my hands on the newest tools. I want to see what can further enhance my work to make it stand out. Remember, you can only do so much in post. Editing something in Photoshop works in a pinch, but nothing compares to having a perfect original image.
I have two phantom 4 pro drones and I always have four full batteries on hand. I find it important to always have a back up drones in case something goes wrong.
I have a GoScope bag and I surprisingly edit all my images on my laptop. No I don’t have a big tablet while flying. I’m a creature of habit and my phone works just fine.
What motivates you to continue shooting and doing what you do?
If you’re truly passionate about something, you’ll feel compelled to learn about it all of the time. That’s another way that I knew that I was doing the right thing. I’m constantly making time to further establish my technique. The people around me motivate me to continue developing my craft. I’m inspired by my peers.
What are some resources that helped you improve your skills as a photographer?
My formal education has helped me so much, but don’t feel bad if you don’t have a degree in your pocket. A lot of creatives haven’t attended art school. Don’t be discouraged if that’s you. We have the power to gain knowledge at our fingertips. There are a ton of resources out there that are a click away and don’t cost a dime. YouTube is a hub of information. And while I’m late in the game, I just created my first educational channel a few weeks ago. Kav of Drone Gear is someone to look at when it comes to gear reviews.
What are some of the themes you explore in your works that are personally very close to you and what do you try to communicate through your work?
I’m a water baby and I’m the happiest version of myself near a body of water. I have combined my passion for photography and the beauty of the powerful ocean in these images. I try to stick to a consistent water theme since I’m personally drawn to it.
Among your projects, which series or a single photograph is your favourite? What’s the story behind the project or photograph?
Actually..the one that won! It was one of my original “surfer” shots that I took and felt a personal connection to it. The waves were at their peak at the legendary surf spot (the Wedge) in Newport Beach and I was high on life. I knew it was the start of a something beautiful once I edited this shot.
What have you learned so far from being a photographer?
Practice, practice, practice! Shoot every single day and utilize the tools around you to learn as much as possible. Everyone is not going to be a fan of your work, but be true to yourself and your art-form. Don’t shy away from a constructive criticism.
What are some resources that you would recommend for someone that wants to take photography seriously?
Lynda.com and CreativeLive are two websites that cover important subjects such as Photoshop and basic elements that make up a great photo.
What do you think makes a winning photograph?
A photo that captures your attention. It forces you to stop and really pay attention to it.
If you’d like to see more work from Emily Kaszton, our purchase her prints, visit her personal website, Facebook or Instagram. If you’re in Los Angeles, Emily is also teaching a class at PhotoCon in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 10th. If you happen to be in the city, here’s a chance to meet Emily in person!
Subscribe to our blog
Stay up to date with trends, get valuable tips and insights as well as bonus materials.