Interview with Niki Colemont from Belgium

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Niki Colemont

Niki Colemont embarked on his photographic journey by capturing an image of a squirrel just a few meters away. He aspires to impart his knowledge to fellow photographers.


Interview With The 2023 European Photography Awards Winner – Niki Colemont

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

Back in 2016, I was walking around at my girlfriend’s grandmother’s house. I was daydreaming and not paying much attention but suddenly a squirrel came very close to me, maybe a metre away.

I stood still while the squirrel did his thing. He wasn’t scared at all! I knew I wanted to get closer to these animals so I bought a feeder for the tree and filled it with walnuts. Then, I waited each day for the squirrel to come and eat.

I was spending all my free time observing the squirrels through a motion-detection camera and saw how they opened the feeder. I soon realised that I needed some equipment to capture these lovely animals so on my 30th birthday I bought myself a Nikon d5200 with a sigma 150 - 600 zoom lens and a camouflage tent to capture my first images of the squirrels and that’s how it all started!

2Where did you study photography?

I have never followed a course or attend a school to learn photography. I made many mistakes and learned from it, that is how learned photography!

Trial and error made me the photographer that I am today!

3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
In 2014, my first wildlife photograph that I captured was a photograph of a Great Tit tending to its nest and quickly took flight in search of food.
4What equipment do you use?
I had borrowed the Nikon D3100 and a Nikkor 18-300mm zoom lens from my in laws because I did possess any equipment of my own.
5What do you hope to achieve?
My aspirations include winning more photography awards and sharing my expertise with fellow photographers. Furthermore, I aim to inspire budding photographers to continue their journey, discover their unique subjects, and nurture their passion, much like how I discovered mine.
6What inspires your unique storytelling?

The personal challenges I've faced in my life serve as a source of inspiration for me to capture greater joy in my photographs. Having encountered numerous hardships, my desire is to motivate others to focus on the brighter aspects of life.

I try to capture the dark side of nature but I also try to capture moments of joy and positivity. It depends on my personal mood and share them with others. There are many ways to spread positivity and inspire others and I think I have finally captured the essence to portray all these powerful feelings through my photography.

7What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Captivating, funny and creative!
8Congratulations! As the winner of the European Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
Winning a photography competition is a great way to boost my confidence and to motivate me to enter more award programs as there is no better way to get recognition in the photography world!
9Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 European Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

When choosing my pictures to enter for the 2023 European Photography Awards, it was important for me to consider the theme and criteria of the competition. I wanted to make sure my work aligns with the requirements needed and to ultimately stand out from other entries.

I love to select unique and creative photos that showcases their individual style and perspective. By doing so, I can differentiate myself from other photographers and I hope to increase my chances of winning!

10How has winning an award developed your career?
I now have greater self-assurance in presenting my abilities to the world. Prior to venturing into photography, I had doubts about the quality of my work.
11Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Máté Bence and Heikki Put.
12What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
The best piece of advice that I ever received was to go beyond my comfort zone and this definitely gave me the courage to explore more themes and styles of photography.
13What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

Understanding the technical aspects of photography is definitely important if you want to take great photos. Exposure, aperture, and ISO are three key elements that you should understand.

In addition to these technical aspects, it's also important to understand how your subject behaves. Whether you're photographing humans or animals, knowing how they move and react can help you capture more spontaneous and natural-looking photos.

14What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Having a clear vision or concept for your photographs can help you create a cohesive body of work and stand out from others. Lastly, taking enough time on your subject and being patient can allow you to capture the perfect shot. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things.
15How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
To stay in a receptive space for new information and knowledge, it's important to have an open mind and be willing to learn. Keeping up with industry trends and advancements can also help you stay ahead of the game. Upgrading to a mirrorless system camera can definitely provide new opportunities for photographers, as they offer many advantages over traditional DSLR cameras, such as lighter weight, faster autofocus, and improved video capabilities.
16Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
If you want to become a photographer, try not to be scared of making mistakes. Even if you miss a shot, there will always be a next time to try again which is why you shouldn’t give up on trying to reach your goals. You can start small in your own garden or house, experiment with ideas. Every and any object can be interesting!

Winning Entries

Powerless | 2023


Fun story I was actually focusing on a different subject in the garden and suddenly in the background this robber ... (Read more at European Photography Awards)

Super Hero | 2023

Super Hero | Niki Colemont

I took this shot because I want to showcase the red squirrel expression when they leap through the air I ... (Read more at European Photography Awards)

Niki Colemont

Niki Colemont embarked on his photographic journey by capturing an image of a squirrel just a few meters away. He aspires to impart his knowledge to fellow photographers.

Read more about this interview with Reka Csulak of Three Pod Studio from Finland, the Platinum Winner of the 2023 European Photography Awards.