This week, we sat down with Australian iStock photographer, David Freund, to get his thoughts on becoming a photographer, finding inspiration, his advice to aspiring photographers and predictions for image trends of the future.
David Freund wasn’t always a photographer. After starting his career as an engineer in Sydney, David had a number of corporate jobs “before photography eventually took over from everything” and he relocated to the idyllic North Coast of NSW near Byron Bay. David began contributing to iStock some 12 years ago, at first with left-over images from commercial shoots. In fact, around half of the first batch of images on iStock were of cows on a dairy farm! (although he hasn’t photographed cows since).
These days, David generally shoots to the briefs Getty Images and iStock provide to contributors, which send him all over the world. Just last year, en route to an iStock photographer event in Istanbul, David travelled to Singapore, London and Paris, arranging shoots with another iStock photographer in the UK, who he met at an iStock event in Berlin some years ago. When he’s shooting overseas, David says his favourite thing to photograph is people on the street, to get “that real local, authentic flavour of a particular place”.
David draws his inspiration from many sources – movies, artists and old-world Australian photographers like Max Dupain and Olive Cotton. He enjoys taking pictures of Australians, and believes that it’s the people that make Australian imagery unique: “Australian people have a look. Regardless of ethnic background, Australian people just have a casual friendliness that doesn’t exist in a lot of other places, and it’s nice to show that through imagery”.
Keeping up-to-date with trends is important for any photographer who makes a living from stock images, and David is no exception. He’s even given us his own visual trend predictions for the coming years, which he believes will cover photography, advertising, television and even fashion.
Top of his list is the continuing trend of “in the moment” and point-of-view images, made popular by platforms like Instagram, plus the popularity of GoPro cameras. “Because both [Instagram and GoPros] have a wide-angle lens the photographer has to be really close to the action, and because of that it brings the viewer in, so the person looking at the image isn’t just viewing the scene, they’re actually a part of the scene.”
With the release of the new Mad Max and Star Wars movies later this year, David also predicts that “authentic location work” will take over computer-generated sets and “grungy, dirty, gritty and real [imagery] will dominate”; a move away from the classic stock and advertising shots of the 90s, on clean white backgrounds.
For aspiring stock photographers, David’s advice is simple: “Treat it like a business. As a stock photographer, you’re a multi-national businessman and you’re selling images all around the world. To be successful, you’ve got to do the hard yards”.
You can view David’s images on iStock here