When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear

My name is Georg-Sander Männik but my friends call me either Georg or GSM. I live in Estonia, a little country in northern Europe. I’m a fulltime video and photographer. And on weekends a roadie + pyro technician in the estonian most famous rock band Terminaator (with two “A’s”).

Photography has been my passion since I was a little boy. At the age of two I played with my fathers cameras and kind of destroyed them. Few years later I discovered what those “things” really are ment for and so I took my first photos. Those were landscapes during the sunset. So it started – I fell in love with photography and started practicing with my moms analog camera.

On summer holiday in 8th grade I went to my first real kind of job to earn enough money to buy my first digital camera. It was some sort of Olympus mirrorless camera with macro settings and all.

In highschool I had some more serious jobs as a photographer. On weekends I worked at a local nightclub and during school days photographed my friends and also for school newspaper.

I have alway been a self-taught person. Before youtube I just experimented and nowadays if I wanna learn something new then I use youtube of course.

I have always been a Canon-lover – bigger is better. My first camera was the Olympus, then came the Canon EOS 300D, 30D, 7D, 5D mark III etc. I had big DSLR cameras, tele lenses and so on. But two years ago as I worked in photo gear rental my friend showed me his Fujifilm X-T2 and I fell in love. It was small, light, comfy and did a amazing job.

So it happened – I sold all my Canon gear and moved to Fujifilm and I don’t regret it.

Currently my camera bag includes:

  • Fuji X-T2
  • Fuji X-H1
  • Fujinon 18-55mm KIT
  • Fujinon 35mm f1.4
  • Fujinon 56mm f1.2

For portraits I use the 35mm and the 56mm and for boudoir and food the 35mm. But yeah – my favourite lens is still 35mm.

As far as lighting is concerned, it totally depends on the photoshoot but I love to use natural light as the main source. But when I do some urban portrait shooting then yeah I mix natural and city lights.

When shooting portraits I always direct the models because they can’t see themselves. Sometimes, when a model has her own idea of what kind of shoot he/she wants to do, I see their sample images and then I evaluate if those poses work on them.

As an important tip for all the ones starting this kind of photography, RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN – you don’t always have to follow the rule of thirds etc. Feel free, experiment, become one with your camera.

Always learn your environment – it doesn’t matter if it’s a bedroom, forest, countryside or street. It’s your studio. You should know all opportunities to get the best shot.

Regarding the workflow for post processing my work, I first import the images to my Macbook Pro. Then just basic editing in Lightroom and after that I move to a more advanced one in Photoshop if needed. Once again it depends on the photoshoot.

Georg was born in Tallinn, Estonia. He has been passionate about photography since he was little boy. Mainly he shoots lifestyle portraits, boudoir-nude and food. He's totally open minded and always ready for adventures and challenges.

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