Licensing Contributor Maja Kolarski on finding inspiration in nature

Photo Stories

Maja is a Licensing Contributor based in Novi Sad, Serbia. She photographs across a variety of styles, including lifestyle, still life, nature, and food.

Q: What first sparked your interest in photography?

A: What first sparked my interest in photography was nature. As someone living in the countryside, I always had a really strong connection with nature. When I became a biology student, I had to remember a lot of plants, so in order to do that, I started taking pictures of them. From that moment on, I got into photography and took pictures of anything and everything that caught my eye. It somehow evolved into portraits, which is now my favorite thing to do.

Magical field by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

Q: Can you share what appeals to you visually as a photographer and how you incorporate this into your shoots?

A: What appeals to me visually is, again, nature—its colors and movement. As you can tell by my pictures, I usually take photos of my models (which are my friends) with flowers or in a beautiful field—even in my lifestyle pictures, I always try to incorporate some details from nature. I just love creating connections between us humans and nature. Movement is something I’m still working on. I’m trying to make my models look as candid as possible, and I also hope one day to incorporate some poses inspired by ballet and contemporary dance.

Tanja by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

Q: From time to time, many photographers find themselves in a creative rut or feel uninspired to shoot. Do you have any tips on how to overcome this type of block?

A: Don’t stick to the same thing—go outside, look around, and observe. Try to make the most out of the things around you. Also, do not force anything—if you don’t feel inspired, take a break, it will come back when you least expect it.

Sunflowers by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

Q: What are some of your favorite things to do when you are looking for inspiration?

A: Usually, depending on the location and the theme of the shoot, I would look for some cool poses and outfit ideas on Pinterest. I also like going through pictures of my favorite photographers on 500px and Instagram.

Q: Many of your photos incorporate a model, how do you direct your models to ensure maximum variety is achieved within a shoot?

A: I would say that I make sure the model is changing poses constantly and that I make the most out of my shooting location. Those are the key things I always have in mind. Another thing I always try to do is make my models play with props, like a hat or a flower bouquet, to make the photos as different as possible. Also, a great way to achieve variety is by taking pictures from different angles, making the model the main subject by doing close-ups, or by putting the landscape more into focus.

Pure joy by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

Q: You have developed a consistent style and aesthetic across the different types of content you shoot. Many photographers develop presets to help speed up their post-processing while remaining consistent, what is your take on this?

A: Presets are convenient, and I’ve made a lot of them. Since every shoot has its own vibe and a unique color composition, what I usually do is edit one photo from the shoot, save the preset, and apply it to the rest. If needed, I would make some corrections on other pictures, and that’s the whole magic.

Color popping by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

Q: Many of us are sheltering in place because of the latest world events, how are you still accomplishing your creative goals?

A: I’m lucky to live in a house with a big garden and a lot of plants and animals, so I have plenty of inspiration and subjects to take pictures of. Therefore, current events haven’t affected my goals when it comes to photography. But, I have to admit that I miss taking portraits of my friends, especially during spring, the most flowery season.

Cuteness by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

Q: How would you recommend developing your photography skills while hunkered down at home?

A: There are so many things you could do to improve your photography skills when stuck at home. For example, you could watch tutorials, read forums, take pictures at different times to see when the light is most convenient, and—as is the case for most beginner photographers without the best gear—shooting indoors is a challenge, so I think now is the time to work on it.

Spaghetti by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

Q: What’s the best photography advice you’ve ever received and that you try to remember every day?

A: The best advice that I got, and try to remember is to be patient. It’s not really photography related, but you can incorporate it into every sphere of your life, and into photography. Be patient, and wait for the right time and place to make a good picture.

Acro Yoga by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

Q: Do you have any tips for beginner photographers looking to shoot lifestyle photography?

A: Don’t worry too much about the gear, you don’t need the most expensive camera and lenses in order to make a great photo. Focus on the composition and light, experiment, and, most of all, have fun!

Snail on a leaf by Maja Kolarski on 500px.com

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