Antti Karppinen is an Internationally awarded commercial photographer, digital artist, photographer, retoucher and educator from Finland and he belongs to a new generation of image artisans, to whom all things are possible. In the digital era, the most powerful stories will be told in pictures.
DIYP: Tell us a little about how you got into photography, and who your influences are.
AK: Before the photography career I worked as a creative director, art director or graphic designer in companies that founded together with my friends. Retouching has been always a big part of my interest so around 2009 I decided to leave my company and pursue this career as a fulltime photographer. Before that, I had already funded all my gear shooting stock images. I started as more of a portrait guy shooting everything from kids to graduations and weddings, but then slowly shifted to the commercial side where I could use my past profession to my advantage to create visually interesting images with full of story.
Early stages of my career I looked up Jim Fiscus, Dave Hill, Joel Grimes etc. big names in composite images. And slowly tried to develop also my own style combining lighting, photography and retouching.
DIYP: Your body of work has amazing diversity, from fantasy cosplay to commercial portraits…which style do you prefer the most?
AK: I enjoy the most projects (commercial or my own) where I can tell a story. I sketch out ideas and try to pre-visualize everything before the photoshoot. Fantasy and cosplay shoots are my own thing as I really enjoy the visuals of games and movies, and that style then transfers over the commercial side when the right clients want something along those lines.
DIYP: With such varied work do you find it easier, or harder to get clients?
AK: I think I have somewhat distinct style and I also show only that kind of images on my website that I would like to create so the clients that contact me usually wants me because of that style, concepts or theme. Im spending lot of time educating all over Europe and also concentrating pushing online workshops to the market so Im really happy at the moment with the rate of photoshoots I have. I can choose my projects and wont jump on every project.
DIYP: For anyone starting out with the desire to create images like yourself, what advice would you give them about finding inspiration?
AK: Inspiration is a thing that is everywhere, you just need to start looking for it. And you also have to accept that you will end up stealing ideas. In my mind stealing is totally another thing than copying. SO that is why I steal ideas everywhere, smack many of those stolen ideas together to create something totally new. You just need to start seeing those ideas and inspiration all over you. Not just images, blogs, texts, movies, music, lyrics, articles, surroundings. So steal those ideas, but “Steal like an artist”
DIYP: How important is Photoshop in your workflow, would you be able to create your images without it?
AK: Photoshop is a really big part of my workflow, so don’t think I could or want to do images with out it. Some images are lighter to retouch than others, but for me, Photoshop is a tool that allows to create the images I want to create without any compromises.
DIYP: You also have your own youtube channel and dedicated website teaching various Photoshop techniques. Do you see yourself focusing more on being an educator in the future?
AK: At the moment Im doing both, education side is taking more and more my time since I enjoy doing that and sharing what I know. That allows me also to travel and meet amazing people. So the education side might take more of my time in the future, even I really enjoy doing images. Just have to find the balance and also learn new things myself.
DIYP: Out of all your projects, which had the most impact on your life?
AK: I think it has to be my picture “Endless”. The image features my son as an angel boy in this optical illusion endless river. That image won me World Photographic Cup medal and it is a picture I could never hang on my wall. I have written a blog about this also, telling the story behind the image. It is definitely my most important picture.
DIYP: If you were only allowed to give one essential piece of advice to a beginner, what would it be?
AK: Don’t give up your dreams. We all have ups and downs and we have all been beginners. Have goals but don’t let them define you, just concentrate on your behavior to allow yourself the possibilities that the future will bring. And always share and help others the way you can, there are no secrets in this industry, so helping others will get you far!
DIYP: What cool projects do you have lined up for 2018.
AK: At the moment I have fa ew interesting projects in sight. One involves a visualizations of one big company and their future, few really amazing trips coming up as educator plus Im developing a mobile app that will hopefully change how we learn photography :D So interesting year few months coming up!
DIYP: Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years time?
AK: 10 years is a loooong time. I really hope that I still have a passion to create and share. Lot of my own projects, a lot of education and traveling. And I hope I still have the feeling that I have not worked a single day as everything comes from the heart.