Every person has a story to tell of how they capture the magic they see before them with their photography. We are celebrating this with our Instagram PixStorytellers. Each week, a new photographer will join us on Instagram sharing their ideas, tips, and tricks for getting the best shot. This week we introduce you to Tyler Rickenbach of Free Soul Studios aka @freesoulstudios on Instagram who specializes in landscape photography and storytelling.
How did you start in photography?
One of my earliest childhood memories dates back to flipping through dust covered National Geographic magazines and staring at the images for hours.I would take my mom’s old Canon AE-1 Program film camera and photograph cars down the street and try and come up with images that I thought were unique to me. Having lived in Ecuador for two years and traveling around the world, having a camera with me and documenting those moments felt natural. As cliche as it may sound, I’ve known since those days of looking through National Geographic magazines that photography was something that I would do the rest of my life.
How did you find your groove?
Truth be told, I found what I was most passionate about after I injured my knee. Luckily, I didn’t need surgery, but during physical therapy, I started to brainstorm and think of ideas that I could tell once I healed. During this time, I had a lot of time to think, which allowed me to rebrand. As much as I hated the fact I dislocated my knee, I am extremely grateful that it happened because it allotted me the time to think and rebrand myself as a visual storyteller. I discovered that I am most passionate about storytelling; shooting short films and creating timeless images that evoke emotion.
What’s in your camera bag?
Call me old school, but my backup camera for shooting stills and motion is a Canon 5D Mark II, however, I primarily use a Canon 1DC.As far as lenses go, I have a Canon 50 f/1.8, Canon 24-70 f/2.8 MK II, and a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II. When shooting video, I never leave the house without my Zoom H4N Pro, RODE Videomic, and a Glidecam HD-2000.
Advice for those just starting out?
One of the best pieces of advice given to me came from a portfolio critique at Photoshop World by the well-known Joe McNally. He told me, “Tyler, you have to make me care about what you are shooting.” His words shook me, literally. If you’ve seen his work, you would know why. Since then, my goal with every image I take is to evoke emotion, tell a story, and make people care. With that said, I would say find out what you are passionate about. I can’t express this enough! Instagram is a great place to collaborate with other photographers, brainstorm and tell inspiring stories. I often times see images on Instagram with no captions or meaning. As I mentioned earlier, this is your time to share your thoughts and make your own quotes. There is no limit on the number of characters you can use, so take advantage of that space! If you are passionate about photographing birds in your backyard, capture great images, but also write about it. If you give your followers a reason to follow you, they will.