Artist Insight with Michael Steric
We sat down with Michael Steric (@Michaelste) to ask him some question about his background with photography, what gear he uses, favorite shoot locations and much more.
Which camera do you use?
I use a Canon 6D with a Canon 16-35 f/4L lens to shoot! I also have a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens that I use less frequently.
Do you prefer to use a tripod, or freehand?
I think it varies on the shot. For long exposures you pretty much need a tripod, but for most daytime shots I do prefer to use freehand since it's just way less time consuming and there's nothing to set up.
What are some of your favorite locations to shoot?
I have a few favorites. I used to live in Southern California, and my favorite place to shoot was definitely Malibu since there's so much variation on the kinds of shots you can take. You can capture an amazing sunset by the beach and then shoot the Milky Way on top of a mountain on the same night. Another favorite place to shoot is San Francisco, because the weather conditions and fog make for some spectacular photographs. I also recently moved to New York City, which is another one of my favorites. There are simply endless shots to be taken out here.
What time of day do your prefer to shoot, night or day?
I prefer shooting most during golden hour, when the shadows are the longest and the sun is setting or rising. I also love shooting at night because of the ambient vibes that I get when I'm doing it.
What brought you into photography?
At my college I had to have an elective class, so I chose photography because it would give me enough credits to be a full time student. I never thought I would fall in love with it like I did. I started shooting every single day and it all went from there; I haven't looked back since.
How long do you spend editing a photo?
I can probably spend hours on one photo. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to getting each shot to look a certain way. Some people have scoffed at how long I spend on each photo but I think the results speak for themselves. If you put the time and effort in, you'll achieve amazing results with editing.
Which program(s) do you use for editing?
I mainly use Lightroom to edit, and if I need to composite or warp something on the image I use Photoshop afterwards.
Do you have any advice for someone getting into photography?
Shoot as much as you can, and edit as much as you can. I promise you, your skills will improve more than you ever thought if you just put the time in. It's also extremely fun to do, so it's basically a win-win.
What type of images do you think your presets are best suited for?
I think my presets are best used on a few different types. First, I believe they work well on moody photos, with clouds or darker tones. I've also had success with them on a lot of lighter shots that I've taken during the day. It really comes down to each individual photo, as they are all going to have a different outcome.
Do you have any tips or tricks for users of your presets?
If you put on a preset and you don't like the way it looks right away, try tweaking a few settings on it. Presets won't always make a photo look perfect immediately; sometimes it takes a little bit more work.
Your best tip for post-processing an image
Spend time on each edit. Don't rush the process; take time to learn what everything in the program does. Find your style. Try editing consistently in a certain way and see if you like the way it comes out.
What inspired you to get involved in the AOV community?
When I first saw the AOV Instagram, I was blown away by the images that were posted on it. The quality was better than most community photography pages that I've seen. I made it one of my goals to be on there one day, and I basically freaked out when it happened for the first time.
A little bit about yourself
I really like sushi and cats. My favorite songs are made by the OVO boys, like Drake, PND, Roy Woods, etc. I also really like Logic and Bryson Tiller. I've been shooting for about 8 months now. I'm 18 years old. Being a YouTuber is my dream job, and I'm going to start a channel pretty soon. I'm a huge LeBron James fanboy. I have green eyes. Photography is my passion.
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