Talking all things photography with Hello Emilie’s Emilie Ristevski

Hello Emilie photographer and influencer Emilie Ristevski has one of those Instagram accounts that lends itself to escapism – a feed that immediately has you lost amongst her dreamy landscapes scattered from all corners of the world from Namibia to Tasmania, Iceland to Peru.

An early adopter to Instagram, Emilie has become one of Australia’s most prolific travel Instabloggers – amassing a following of 1.2 million+ and working with big name brands including the likes of Qantas, Adobe, and Mercedes-Benz.

With Emilie and partner – fellow photographer Jason Charles Hill – recently announcing their latest safari adventure to Namibia, inviting followers to gain first-hand photography knowledge while exploring the country with them, we thought the occasion made for the perfect excuse to reach out to Emilie for an exclusive chat.

Long on our wish list of influencers to interview for Husskie, it is with great pleasure we bring you this candid Q&A with Emilie – talking to the travel photographer about everything from first starting out in photography to camera equipment to her top tips when it comes to capturing the perfect image.

Were you originally a photographer or did that happen organically along the way?
Photography has been a very natural and seamless progression over the last several years. As it was never a plan – it began as a personal exploration, a way to connect with the world around me and share meaningful stories.

When did you start learning photography? Did you do it through a course?
My love for photography first started when I discovered black and white film photography in a tiny dark room in high school. I remember the moment I saw my first photograph develop in the chemicals right before my eyes, I was immediately fascinated and it opened up a whole new world for me. Apart from the basics I learnt from film photography, I am completely self-taught.

What were you doing before Instagram and content creation became your career?
Before photography, I was studying at University. I never thought photography could end up being a career as I always imagined being in the design world. The platform became a creative outlet, a space for self-expression. As I discovered an amazing community of like-minded people, I found a place to really develop and focus on my own style of photography.

What were you studying?
I studied Design. Exploring conceptual fine art and design helped shape the way I view both the world and photography. I loved learning about in-depth concepts and the basics of design and colour theory. To this day these theories still help to inspire my photography work.

Your photography is incredible. Has it developed along the way?
Absolutely! From my early days, it was purely an expression of myself and how I saw the world. If you look back over the years, there is a huge progression of how my work developed over time – from editing to colour palettes and subject matter. Simple elements of light and colour have always inspired my storytelling and tend to guide me along the way.

How much time and planning goes into each of your images?
Surprisingly, some of my favourite images have been captured spontaneously. I have always been drawn to the little things and I am constantly seeking out these moments in-between that you can’t always plan for. By chasing light and following weather, I’ve learnt how unpredictable nature can be, even with lots of time spent on planning.

Can you talk me through your camera equipment?
I’ve experimented with a range of cameras over the years and gradually learnt what type of equipment works best for me. I like playing with different set-ups and trying new combinations of camera gear. At the moment my camera of choice today is a mix between a Canon 5D IV and a Sony A7R III. My favourite lenses consist of: 35mm f/1.4, 24-70 f/2.8, 50mm f/1.2, 70-200 f/2.8, 100-400 f4.5-5.6.

What would be your top three photography tips for capturing the perfect image?

  1. Understanding light – Studying how light and shadows interact together. I always aim to photograph in particular conditions and times throughout the day.
  2. Composition – Think about the subject matter, what needs or doesn’t need to be in the frame. Experiment and use negative space.
  3. Have a creative vision – understand the reasons behind your storytelling and have a clear idea on the message or emotion you aim to capture.

You run photography tours with partner Jason Charles Hill. Can you tell me a bit about these?
Jason and I have some wonderful partnerships which allow us to explore our creative ideas for projects. Recently we had the chance to host a series of once-in-a-lifetime workshops in Africa, where we can share our love for photography and offer the chance to learn first-hand while exploring some magical destinations. We share the ins and outs of our businesses and focus on the importance of meaningful storytelling.

Do you find it rewarding being able to share some of the knowledge that you’ve gained yourself in the field of photography?
Definitely! It’s one of those things you do not realise until it happens. There are so many things which came naturally to myself that I didn’t realise until teaching and sharing with others. Having the chance to break down and explain a process which I have so much love for has been incredibly rewarding.

It seems like you have to travel a lot for work. How many months of the year would you say you are on the road?
Travelling has allowed me the opportunity to experience things I could never dream of, and I’ve been lucky to work with some incredible clients which has taken me to all sides of the globe. I’m on the road for a large portion of the year. It can be a tricky balance and I aim to have at least 3-4 months within a year at home – hoping to slow down a lot more this year!

What does a usual day in your life look like?
I never know what a normal day in my life looks like at the moment! One week I could be travelling through a remote town in South America and another week I could spend the whole day at home in my pjs trying to catch up on emails! There isn’t really much of a balance, funnily enough.

What can we expect from you in 2019?
Slowing down and traveling less but more meaningfully to focus on projects and initiatives that are close to my heart. There are a bunch of personal creative projects I am planning to focus on in 2019. I also hope to focus more on film photography this year and reconnect with some other creative mediums.

Where are you hoping to take the Hello Emilie platform?
I have a never-ending list of the direction I wish to take my platform in 2019. I hope to focus on more sustainable and responsible travel along with finally launching some exciting new projects including my new website, print store and much more!

All images: Hello Emilie

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Discussion about this post

  1. Loved this article. Glorious photography. I would have loved to hear her talk about post-shoot work in editing.

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