I have been following Alen Palander on Instagram for years! (You should also check out this Youtube channel if you haven't already). He is an extremely talented content director and photographer. I initially fell in love with how he captured the city of Toronto and its architecture but he has evolved so much more since then. I especially like how he uses lines in his photographs to draw your eyes to the subject and his editing style is on point. I also really enjoy how he uses the Stories feature on Instagram to tell a story about each one of this trips.
Alen was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to allow me to interview him. I hope you enjoy his answers just as much as I did.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m a professional photographer and creative director currently based out of Toronto, but constantly traveling for work. A few years ago, I finished my studies in urban design and was about to pursue my long-awaited degree in Architecture, but my love for photography and current career opportunities took centre-stage, and I decided to do that full-time instead.
When and how did you develop your love for photography?
I think it was around the same time that I started university back in 2010. I was doing a bit of traveling before going back to school, but didn’t have any great ways to capture my journey. I finally got myself a DSLR and found that I was able to use photography as a great way to transmit emotion and feeling of an experience. I think being able to share those photographs on platforms like Instagram really helped me learn how to curate and exchange inspiration as well, allowing me to further grow as a photographer.
What was your first camera?
My first DSLR was the Canon 60D, a really great piece of equipment for all skill levels.
What kind of photography do you enjoy the most?
I’d say my first love is travel and urban photography with my affinity for discovery and architectural design, but I’ve always enjoyed pushing my boundaries, and love when I have the opportunity to capture emotion through portraits as well.
I see that you travel a lot - What are your top three places you have traveled to?
Haha, narrowing it down to just three is a big ask, but I’d have to say Hong Kong, Barcelona, and Iceland have probably inspired me among the most.
What was your “big break” as a photographer? Was it a particular project you worked on?
I’d have to say that working with big clients like Mercedes-Benz and Air Canada have been monumental points in my photography career. I’ve done so many amazing and exciting projects for MB now, but I can hardly imagine how that became possible. I’ve said this briefly, I have to admit that being on social media really allowed me to springboard my career by further allowing me to develop more connections and be discovered by more brands.
Do you think social media has elevated the importance of photographers?
Social Media has definitely become one of the biggest ways for utilizing photography as a means for marketing, and with that obviously increases the need for photographers. I think it also means that a lot more people end up becoming their own photographers, creating all of the content themselves, or not thinking critically about how they curate it. So, I think there are two sides, but in general, the photographers who have been able to use this shift in the advertising market to their advantage have become successful.
What advice would you give amateur photographers in terms of gaining an audience?
If you’re just starting out in photography, trying to find your own style and develop a presence in your community or online, my advice would be to start sharing your work to get feedback. This could be with other photographers you meet along the way, on social media, or even events or shows. Get your work out there, not just to promote yourself, but also to get feedback. Be sure to take that feedback seriously, adjust, and move forward, this is the number one way you’re going to grow in this creative field.
I watched your video on working with your dream client - If you could photograph any one person or place in the world, who/where would it be?
Not sure, I like not knowing what comes next.
And that's it.
Alen Palander owns the rights to all images in this post.