Polish born photographer Piotr Kulczycki has been a professional photographer for 12 years. But he has been taking photos since he was young. It started with initially using a cheap compact camera on family vacations. He thanks his parents who took him to a different city in Poland for a couple weeks, every summer. He was hooked from the first trip and about 12 years ago he received his first DLSR as a gift, which led to his obsession of taking photos and traveling.
He says “I guess photography was always a very important part of my life and always will be. I can’t imagine going on vacation without my camera. From the moment I got my hands on my first DSLR camera I knew I wanted to focus on photography and become a professional so I spent all my free time traveling and photographing the world. If somebody told me back then that I would travel to almost 100 countries, I wouldn’t believe them”.
Piotr, where are you from?
I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Poznań, Poland.
Where do you currently live?
At the moment, I live in my home city of Poznań, in Poland. But I’ve lived in a few places. During my time at university, I spent the entire summer in the US, working and traveling and that’s when my passion for photography began. Then back in 2006 I lived in London for a whole year, working full time as a web designer and learning English. The main goal however was to finally come back to Poznań, where my roots are.
What genre of photography do you specialize in?
I specialize in travel photography. It’s basically the perfect combination of both of my passions. Taking photos and exploring the beauty of the world. There’s no better feeling than waking up with the sun and exploring new locations for the first time. It reignites my passion and inspiration for photography. Nature is the best model and muse at the same time.
Describe your style of photography?
I like to show the places I visit just as they are. Colorful and beautiful, but also poor and dirty – exactly the way life looks like in a certain place. But I always try to find the hidden beauty, even in the most unexpected places. I also tend to shoot places and monuments in a way that has never been done before… I mean, I don’t want to take just another similar view of the Eiffel Tower, like the ones you can find on Google. My goal is to show things differently.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I’m developing my own, new project – Photler, a website creator for travel photographers (www.photler.com). After my website, World In My Lens, gathered great recognition thanks to its design, I decided to give other travel photographers a tool to create their own website – just like mine.
I realized that despite there being so many web-builders, travel photography was overlooked and didn’t get the attention it deserves. Photler provides interactive world map which is an exclusive feature for travel photographers. It’s new way of travel photographers showcasing their travels.
We took quite a new approach to selling their photos as well. Every penny is important when it comes to traveling so at Photler, photographers can sell images on their own terms. They set the price and 100% of this money goes to them. Unlike other photography stock agencies, we don’t take any commissions on sales that they make. Combine this with Photler’s beautiful, uncluttered themes and their photos will be ready to amaze the world.
What is your next project or assignment?
Well… further development of Photler, of course! My team and I are doing our best to reach as much photographers as possible, so that their online presence gets better. As for my travels, my next destination is Chile. South America has been on my bucket list for quite a long time now. Finally, I managed to secure 2 whole weeks to explore this part of the world. It’s been a while since I felt such high level of excitement for a trip. I would definitely share my photos from there on World In My Lens & Photler after coming back, so do check them out!
Are there any photographers whose work/style you admire?
My favorite photographers are Chris Burkard and Sean Pavone. I like their style and I must admit they inspire me greatly. Their portfolios are my place to go when I need some photography inspiration. It’s almost like I feel challenged every time I browse their photos – challenged to become a better photographer and that’s an amazing feeling.
What is your favorite memory from your experiences?
Seeing Machu Picchu in Peru. It’s probably the most memorable place I’ve seen in my life. Machu Picchu has always been on top of my “To do” list and it didn’t disappoint! Getting to the Inca citadel wasn’t easy, but the whole journey was definitely worth it. I recommend it to everyone.
What’s the biggest photographic challenge you overcame?
Shooting in the heat of Dubai. I have to say; the city is simply stunning. But the camera doesn’t like the heat! And your hands become so slippery. I was so amazed by the views, but the temperature was hard to bear. Plus, the height of the buildings – luckily, I have a fish eye lens which did the job perfectly.
What’s in your camera bag?
I own a Canon 5D Mark III body, Canon lenses: 17-40mm f/4 L and 70-200mm f/2.8 L which are my favorite. I also shoot with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM and Samyang 12mm f/2.8 from time to time. I’m a huge fan of Lee ND filters. Couple of memory cards, a tripod, a backpack to carry it all around, a MacBook and iPhone are also always with me.
What photographic equipment would you never leave home without?
The body, the first two lenses I mentioned and the filters. And my iPhone. Batteries and memory cards are also on the priority list.
What advice you would give anyone who is starting out?
Have a professional website from the very start. It’s your best portfolio which you can show to anyone and everyone has it these days, so you have to stand out from the crowd. Plus, never forget that it’s a business. As far as photography itself goes, shoot, shoot and, one more time, shoot as much as you can. Find your niche, where you feel comfortable and stick with it. Find your own style, don’t try to copy other photographers. There are thousands of them but only one you.
Any pitfalls they should avoid?
Don’t underestimate the power of social media as a promotion tool. It’s the best way to let people know about your business. Your future and past clients are probably already on it and that is where a lot of contacts can be made. We tend to work with people we like and know so let others know you better.
Lastly… if you weren’t a photographer what would you be doing?
I’d probably be a managing director at a digital agency, just as I’m now. During my time in London as a web designer I fell in love with the job and that’s why I would stick with it. But the fact that I travel makes a huge difference and it’s a great way to rest from the office work.
To view more of Piotr’s work or get in contact with him visit www.worldinmylens.com or follow him on him social media channels:
Images by Piotr Kulczycki. All rights reserved. No usage without permission.
Interview by Kav Dadfar.