1- How and when did you start photography?
So basically, I started photography back in 2016. I remember being so inspired by Beautiful Destination and their sick content back then. Their content did really hit a spot inside me that made me take the step to actually pursue photography, the funny thing is I wanted to be a filmmaker at first, so I have a bit of a background in filmmaking, but later on, I just found myself pursuing more photography cause I wanted to constantly create and photography was more convenient for me to do so, but with filmmaking, there’s a lot more planning and if things aren’t planned out well, it usually doesn’t work out for me. My goal at first was to work for beautiful destinations since they’re the reason why I started all this, I later knew how hard it for that to happen just cause I am Egyptian, and being Egyptian requires you to always need to get a visa for everywhere you travel which takes time, and all they do is travel, so all I do is slow them down with the papers I need to hand in and all the government-oriented things. But I was fortunate enough to actually meet and go around Egypt with the founder of beautiful destinations. That by itself is a massive breakthrough for me and I figured later on that I have a long way ahead and I might as well choose a different path and do different things.
2- Who’s your inspiration?
I used to have a lot of inspirations from a lot of photographers, but my 2 favorite photographers though are Emmett Sparling and Andre Josselin. Emmett is a landscape photographer and Andre is a fashion/lifestyle photographer. I love looking at diverse content, I don’t limit my work to just travel or street photography cause that limits you from growing, take note that Andre for example doesn’t look for a perfectly exposed image as much as he looks for a feeling to send through his work. It’s more art-oriented than just shooting random people. For some people, his work might seem unprofessional and for some people, it conveys a feeling. As for Emmett, he captures landscapes and street photography the way that absolutely satisfies me and is exactly the same way I like shooting this genre of photography cause it just says a lot about the story behind the photo.
3- What are your recent projects? Anything new cooking?
Currently traveling around Egypt with Danone shooting people from different parts around Egypt, can’t wait to show it!
4- What was your first camera?
My first camera was a Canon 600D which made my first year of the journey very hard to create content due to its limitations, but that limitations really are what makes you truly appreciate higher-end cameras and really do make you learn the hard way so everything sticks more.
5- Tell us about your current gear
So as for landscape and street photography, I like to believe we like to have a lot of lenses so we don’t face struggles along the way with not knowing how to shoot something in a certain way. Well, I do not have a lot of lenses but I do have the essentials for me to achieve 90% of what I want, it always depends on the style of the person.
My main camera body is the Sony A7 III, this camera is an absolute beast in almost every situation, no matter what I am shooting, it gives me stunning results, it completely changed my style in everything, it made my commercial work much better, reasons, why I love this camera, is because of it’s amazing low light capabilities and high dynamic range, these 2 work so good hand in hand. The in-body stabilization is a massive one so I could shoot photos with a slow shutter and lastly, its battery lasts long more than I need most of the time. The only downside is the interface is not really that friendly for everyone, took me a while to get the hang of it.
My main lens is the Sony 24-70 F/2.8, reason, why I love this lens, is because it covers most of the needs wherever I am, it’s a workhorse. It does absolutely everything I need in terms of sharpness and depth of field. In street photography, it gets me the close-ups and the wides I want with perfect sharpness, my only problem with it though that it’s a bit heavy for someone who moves around a lot.
My second favorite lens is the Sony 85mm f/1.8, nothing says movie scene more than this monster, fixed lenses always give off a certain look zoom lenses never achieve, and that’s why a lot of photographers own mostly prime lenses, the sharpness is always better and offers low f/ numbers for these creamy blurry backgrounds. It’s also so nice to walk around with a very pushed-in lens that small, so it doesn’t give off the impression that you’re walking with a massive camera.
My third lens is the Tamron 17-28 f/2.8, the main reason I got this lens is obviously for the 17mm, funny story is that I used to love using wide angles when I first started off but now I just use this lens when I’m in tight situations such as shooting interior that is in a narrow space or narrow spaces in general. The price is a massive perk for this camera for what it offers.
6- What’s your favorite photo you have taken so far?
Favorite photo so far is a photo of the Sailor I took here in Cairo. I don’t shoot a lot of portraits but that is definitely my recent favorite.
7- It seems that you have traveled so many places in Egypt, which place by far is your favorite?
By far my favorite place was Saint Catherine’s, not just because of the absolutely stunning landscapes out there, the experience of hiking really got to me, I would want to hike more if it was possible not to drive 6 hours for it! Also, the feeling mountains give off is impeccable, it’s just so different from any other place in Egypt, cause most places out here have a lot in common, Saint Catherine’s has nothing in common with any other place.
8- Where is the place you want to visit the most once everything is back to normal?
I actually really want to go somewhere tropical like Zanzibar or Bali, never went to these places and I want to know what the hype is all about!
9- Pizza or burger?
Pizza my friend!
10- final question, what kind of advice will you give for someone who is still starting photography
My advice for anyone starting out photography is don’t let yourself down by comparing your work to anyone, I always say this in my workshops for beginners, is to never compare your work to others in the field cause we all have different perspectives and we can’t compare art cause that wouldn’t even make sense if you ever want to compare your work, compare it for educational purposes.
Shoot a ton every day, I used to shoot every single day, and If I didn’t, I used to research something about photography. I was constantly feeding my mind with anything related to photography, nothing will make you grow more than trial and error.
Look for inspiration, recreate it, but never steal it. Meaning that it is fine to try to achieve something someone made for the sake of trying it out and know how it’s done but not state that it was your idea unless you added a bit of your own personal twist, remember, there is no original idea, we’re constantly all feeding each other ideas and twisting them.
Don’t let gear limit you, whatever you have, use it. Gear comes later on when you earn the knowledge to use it. But for now, use your old grandpa’s camera, art is not defined by gear as much as it’s defined by your vision.
Seek constructive criticism and not destructive criticism, choose the people that you know will give you feedback that truly adds to your work and not destroy all your hopes and dreams.
Visit Seif’s website https://www.seifamro.com/