An industry insight into the life of an extremely talented Photographer – Esther Ling


1.) Hi Esther, thanks for chatting with The Student Pocket Guide. How’s it going?

Morning Chris, thanks for asking me, a good chat is always a welcome break! I’ve just returned from a few days in Amsterdam for my Birthday so life is good!


2.) Why photography? What/Who inspired you to pick up your first camera?

Why photography? – Simple answer? I love it, I adore the way the simplest or most non aesthetic of items can be transformed into things of beauty.  Taking a photograph encourages you to “see”, to REALLY look through the viewfinder and notice what’s in the frame (no “drive by shooting ” here)  Life nowaways is so fast paced that people don’t tend to see, let alone see detail.  Photography really enables me to slow that pace down, not take for granted what’s happening around me and capture a moment in time which won’t ever happen again.


3.) What or who inspired me to pick up your first camera?

The first camera I got my hands on was my parents Kodak Instamatic 20 but I bought my own camera when I was 15 and doing GCSE’s.  My art teacher was brilliant, so enthusiastic and encouraging.


4.) We’re all trying to get cool images for our Instagram account. What tips would you give the amateur photographer?

Instagram is all well and good, everyone can take a decent looking image by whacking a filter on although more often than not less is more!  If you’re seriously wanting to increase your photography skills I’d recommend staying away from the filters.  Take the time to learn the basics, the stepping stones of photography; aperture (also known as F number), shutter speed, exposure and ISO.

Put the time in and you’ll reap the rewards.

Digital cameras are a fabulous learning tool however more often than not people “stick it on auto” and let the camera make the decisions for you.  By doing that you’re losing control of how the image looks, learn about each component of photography and you’ll open up a huge can of creativity.


5.) In your opinion what is the best picture you’ve ever taken and why?

Ooooooft, that’s a very hard question!  I go through phases of loving colour in my images then loving black and white.  The images I find myself drawn towards are always those with some emotion and feeling to them.  For me I’d rather an image with a highlight slightly blown out over an image which is 100% technically correct but with no feeling.

I don’t think I can answer the question, sorry!


6.) What would be your top 3 bits of advice you’d give to students aspiring to break into your industry?

Get to know your stuff – learn learn learn.  Everyone has five minutes to spare. Familiarise yourself with the camera and it’s controls.  This will make shooting much easier.

Get out there – shoot shoot shoot.  Practice makes perfect.  Don’t delete your mistakes, you’ll be able to look back and see just how far you’ve come.  Aim to look at the subject you’re shooting properly before pressing the shutter, think about composition, exposure, is there a tree coming out of someones head, how you want the image to look.  For those who love a zoom lens, remember you can also move your feet, just because you have  telephoto capabilities, you don’t have to use it

Find your own style – take inspiration from other photographers who’s work you admire – but don’t copy!


Interview with Esther Ling
You can follow Esther on Twitter & Instagram @estherlingphoto