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Following your passions can be challenging, but for professional landscape photographer, Dany Eid, doing so has become a life goal that he is focused upon achieving every day.
Originally from Lebanon, this intrepid explorer left his executive career to pursue photography full time and is now based in Dubai in the UAE. These days, Dany specialises in landscape, travel, cityscape, architectural and corporate photography, having worked closely with major brands in the industry including 500px, f-stop gear and NiSi filters.
This month, we sat down with Dany to talk about his recent accomplishments and his vision behind what makes a successful landscape photograph.
Hello Dany! Thanks for chatting with us at Iceland Photo Tours. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like most about working as a professional photographer.
I’m a photographer based in the UAE, who grew up in Lebanon. I have travelled to many countries and decided one day to follow my passion and become a photographer. What I like most about my job is that I do what I love most.
Gattklettur. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
Can you describe that "moment" when you knew that photography was something you just had to do?
It started off as a hobby. I became interested in photography and started to teach myself and experiment with my first bought camera Nikon D80.
The deeper I got involved into the photography world, the more I wanted to be part of this world and leave my boring desk job. Years later, I decided to leave the desk and do what I love most. I became a photographer.
Londrangar. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
What are some of your favourite locations for photography in Iceland and why?
It would be unfair to say that I have a favourite location. I fell in love with Iceland during my first visit.
However, if I must choose, I would say the South Eastern part of the Iceland, due to the variety that nature offers, whether it’s the Diamond Beach, the Glacier Lagoon or the ice caves as well as the Vestrahorn landscape. It’s an area that includes all elements that I personally as a landscape photographer enjoy very much shooting.
Diamond Ice Beach. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
What’s the key to making a great landscape photograph? Is it the same as making a great photograph in general?
Research and Scouting, followed by finding the right composition, timing and weather and at last the technical skills. In my opinion this can be applied not only on landscape images but any image.
Northern Lights. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
You don’t only photograph landscapes. In fact, you have a gorgeous portfolio of architecture, corporate and also travel photography. Which do you think is fussier, more unpredictable or even more versatile to photograph – Mother Nature or a model?
Definitely mother nature, let alone that nature is often unpredictable. You need to research, scout, find a composition and wait for the right moment, hoping that the natural elements will play with you. Worth mentioning that to shoot landscape you must be fit, not lazy and have lots of patience.
Tuscany. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
Are you ever surprised by the images from your collection that buyers choose to license?
Tastes differ, so I would say no I’m not surprised. On the contrary, if the tastes didn’t differ life will be too boring.
Out of all your world travels, which places have captivated you the most or were the most challenging to photograph? Were there any locations that left you a bit disappointed?
I would choose Namibia, which is very hard to cover and to access for someone inexperienced in Africa and visiting for the first time. I had limited time and a full itinerary on what and where I want to shoot.
It’s a country I would very much love to revisit as it offers huge diversity that any landscape photographer would like to have in the place they choose to photograph. In general, I would say there are many countries in Africa that are on my travel list to cover.
UAE. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
Given that you're gone a good portion of each year, how do you handle your workflow? Do you spend a portion of each adventure or trip doing post-processing?
From many images I shoot, I end up choosing only a couple to publish. It’s often that I visit a location and when I return home and look at the results I’m not happy, so I have no other alternative but to go one or several times to re-shoot.
Sometimes I experiment in shooting during different timings and to my surprise I end up with an excellent shot at a totally different timing compared to what I expected.
Dubai. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
Do you think that artificial intelligence will ever take over from human editing?
Definitely no. This is not the idea of photography in my opinion. I choose a location, I prepare an image and I edit the result; however, the post processing is influenced by my taste and not what a computer would decide for me.
I already think about the post processing while shooting the image. If I’m bracketing, I manually blend my images, I never use HDR software or similar to process the image.
Think about post processing while shooting the image. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
What are some common mistakes that you see new photographers making and how can they improve upon these?
If we are not referring to the technical part, I would say that many new photographers don’t have a passion, what they want is to gain, likes and followers on the various social media platforms.
Many focus more on being equipped with camera gear, they only look for the latest in the market, and while doing that forget about educating themselves and being creative.
Dubai. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
You’ve worked with a lot of high-profile photographers. Are there any added pressures to working with people so famous?
Each has his own style and technique and this is always a good opportunity to learn something new. There’s no pressure at all. It’s added value to get introduced to other talents.
As mentioned, everyone has his / her own approach and creativity and as much as I learn from high profile photographers, I also learn from participants who take part in my workshops. It’s added value to be exposed to the diversity that other photographers offer.
It's important to learn from other photographers. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
I would say it was the Zeiss Infinity Tour. There were many challenges as I visited several cities. The content produced and the subjects were different from location to location. I also had to add some background details or a story to the images I included in each stop. Let alone preparing for trip and deciding on the locations in each city.
Smartphone cameras have gotten a lot better in recent years. Have you ever considered doing an entire project with just a smartphone?
Why not, with a smartphone you can now produce perfect images and he technology is moving quite fast.
Photography is different in every city. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
Finally, if there were to be a Hollywood movie made about your life, who would you like to see playing the lead role as you?
I totally fell in love with the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and how Sean Penn was able to play the role of an adventurous crazy photographer, who will go to extremes just to take a shot.
So, I guess I would choose Sean Penn. I would like to add that this is one, if not the most interesting interview I ever had. I love how creative the questions are. Iceland Photo Tours is in my opinion one of the highly recommended organisers for photo tours, who I always follow and am eager to know what they have to offer.
Going to extremes to take the shot. Photo by: 'Dany Eid'.
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