This week I’m picking the brain of local Connecticut photographer, Justin Antunes. He is the photographer behind Justin Antunes Photography. This is a great interview for anyone who has a passion for photography, but doesn’t know how to turn it into a career.
Q: When did you start photography? From a young age?
I don’t remember exactly when I started taking photos, but I know I’ve always had a knack and appreciation for it. My first camera was a Sony Cybershot 8MP digital camera in 2008 or so, and I remember my dad asking me why I wanted a camera, and I just said, “Because I want to take photos!”
I can say that I started taking photography seriously within the past year. I wanted to turn a hobby into something that could support myself and could be a means to provide for myself and if nothing else…just some extra side money.
I think the biggest reason as to why I’m interested in photography and cameras is because of my visual disability. I have a condition called Nystagmus and basically, the muscles that control the eyes keep spasming and because of this I don’t see things very sharply and my depth perception isn’t great, more so at night. My eyes themselves are perfectly healthy. I would have 20/20 if I didn’t have this problem, but with a camera that has “perfect eyes” and can create a sharp clear image for others to see and enjoy that I created, brings me a great measure of happiness and satisfaction.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
I really enjoy taking candid shots of people in the moment; capturing a person smiling and laughing naturally because they are genuinely having a good time. I don’t like “staged” photos because it kinda takes away from the naturalness and the moment and takes time to set the shot right, although all be it necessary.
Q: What equipment do you use?
I currently shoot with a Nikon D3400, with 2 kit lenses: 18-55mm f:3.5, 70-300mm f:4.5, as well as a 50mm f1.8 prime lens (my preferred shooting lens) the Boca that it produces to blur out the background is amazing! Really stepped up my portfolio.
Q: What advice would you give other photographers that want to turn a hobby into a business?
I’d tell them to just start… watch a bunch of Youtube videos on how to do it correctly and what services to use. Put yourself out there because professional photography is 30% photos 70% marketing. I don’t have any pro training but as long as you have an eye for it you can make this into something.