When music and photography come together

Miro Maršík, music composer and producer, started using his images as covers for his music. Photography quickly became a passion, and with his X-T4, he captures wonderful landscapes and city views. In a way, all creative activities go hand in hand.

Hi Miro, please tell us a bit about yourself!
Hey everyone! My name is Miro and I live in Prague, Czech Republic. I was born in Slovakia, in a small village in the High Tatras. At the age of 18, I moved to Prague to study and I stayed here since then. Now I work as a software engineer, I play the guitar in a pop-rock band, compose music and also make photos and videos.
How did music come into your life, and when did you realize it was what you wanted to do professionally?
I started to play the guitar relatively late, when I was 26. It was after my studies that I finally had the time, and also the money, for new hobbies. I always wanted to play the guitar and I also had an acoustic guitar at home before, but I never learnt to play it well, just a few chords. When I rediscovered my passion, I realized, that’s much easier to learn to play the guitar now. There are plenty of YouTube videos and tutorials.
After 2 months of self-practising, I found a drummer and then together we found a singer. We were total beginners, but after another 2 months of playing cover songs, we founded a pop-rock band Instinct. We started to compose our own songs. Our dream was to make music that would be played on the radio. It took 4 years and the first radios started to play our music. Now we play a lot of gigs every year. In addition, I started to compose cinematic music. Because I love movies and everything about them.
From Music to Photography – what does photography mean to you?
I think the photos are the contemporary means of expression. A good photo is the biggest eye-catcher on social networks. You can get attention. And it’s really valuable these days, when there are tons of content out there. For example, when I compose music, only a few true fans will listen to it if I don’t make a good cover. When I started to publish my cinematic music on Spotify etc, I started to make covers using my photos. And now I started to make videos, too. Because video supports the music even better than a photo, and also music supports the video.
Is photography a hobby and for social media purposes, or do you also shoot commercial work?
Most of the time, it is a hobby and I like it as it is. I have commercial projects, I don’t say no to opportunities, but I am not active in looking for commercial work. Above all, I like to make my own projects. You know, when you start to make something commercial, it could happen really fast and you start to work on projects that you don’t like very much, only for money. I don’t think it’s the right way. I don’t want another “work”. I want to keep the passion. Because passion can bring big things. So, I am open for commercial work, but I don’t want to be overloaded by it 🙂
What was your first camera, and what influence did it have on your passion for photography?
To be exact, I made my first own photos with an old Nokia mobile phone 🙂
I bought my first digital compact camera maybe 14 years ago. It was a Nikon Coolpix, I don’t remember the model exactly. I was using it only for holiday photos. But when I bought my first smartphone, I began to make photos only on the smartphone, and I sold that camera. I think my passion started when I discovered Instagram and I started to share my photos.
When I realized that people like my work, I started to care much more about composition, colouring etc. I wanted to be better and better. And I also think this passion is so strong because my wife is also a photographer. Most of our photos are from our trips. We always discuss about our photos together, too. I always ask her, if she likes the composition and colours before I share the photo. And the bonus is, that we both have Fujifilm cameras, so we can share the lenses.
Since you take pictures with both a camera and a smartphone, what is the main difference you find between them?
I used to say, that the biggest advantage of a smartphone is that you have it always with you. But it’s not true for me anymore. I almost always have the camera with me now. You never know when you will need it. I think the biggest advantage of the camera is the lenses. The quality of smartphone cameras output is really fascinating now, but it still can’t beat the output of a true fast lens. And nice bokeh is an eye-catcher. However, there is something interesting in smartphone photography, and I think I was much more creative in postproduction at that time.
Forests, lakes, mountains, bridges… Could you name some of the amazing places you photographed, and share some tips on how you scout the locations you want to shoot?
I love nature in my home country Slovakia, and I travel there a few times a year. The High Tatras are really beautiful mountains.
There are so many nice places in Slovakia. I love mountain lakes, roads, viaducts and sunset views in the mountains. Another category is the cities. I love street photography in big cities, architecture, trams… and I also love travelling, I would like to repeat my trip to the US west coast. I was there only for a short time and only with my smartphone camera, so I would like to make that trip again, for longer and with a real camera. 
Most of the locations on my photos I find near where I live. I love walking in Prague and making trips here in the Czech Republic. I often find inspiration on Instagram as well. 
What is your favourite time of day to photograph?
I love the golden hour and nighttime. I love sunrises the most, but I am too lazy to wake up, so 95% of my golden hour photos are sunsets. And I love night photos, the stars, light trails, and especially city nights during rain, when all the lights reflect everywhere.
What camera system did you have previously, and what were the reasons that led you to buy the X-T4?
I had an X-T30 and I was really happy with it. But there were few reasons to upgrade. The main reason is IBIS. I wanted to start making more videos. And I hate gimbals. There is often a situation when you see something interesting and you want to capture it quickly. There is no time for gimbal balancing. And I also hate tripods, for the same reason.
Making photos with a tripod is really slow for me. I want to be flexible and find as many good compositions as possible, not to spend my time setting up a tripod. And IBIS helps with this a lot, especially in night street photography. The second main reason is weather resistance, because I love making photos in bad weather. And there are more reasons, like a bigger battery, better handling, etc…
What is your opinion about the X-T4 so far? Could you describe the advantages and disadvantages of this camera for the type of work you do?
I love it. It has everything I need now. IBIS for quick videos and low light photos, excellent handling, weather resistance and of course it looks really nice, and it’s not very big. Maybe only IBIS for videos could be a little bit better, but I know that it’s not a gimbal.
What are your favourite lenses?
I love extremes. So I almost don’t shoot in the 18-50mm range. I really love my 16mm F1.4, and when 16 is not enough, I use the Samyang 12mm F2. However, most of the time I have on my camera the 50-140mm F2.8. You know, if you have something interesting in front of you, a wide-angle lens is the best. But the tele lens makes interesting almost anything. And I can’t forget, my favourite lens all-time is the 56mm F1.2. You can make miracles with that lens.
What software do you use for post-processing and why? Could you briefly describe your post-processing workflow?
For photography, I use Adobe Lightroom, because I like the freedom of the cloud. I upload my photos on my computer, then I can edit them on my tablet and share them on social networks on my phone. Or I can upload it directly to the tablet when I am travelling. So I edit my RAW photos in Lightroom, I don’t use any presets, I like the editing process, so I always edit a new series of photos from zero. I also love using profiles, especially the Fujifilm simulations.
When I need to remove something from the photo, I use Photoshop or Retouch app on mobile.
I also like the filters of ProCamera and Mextures mobile apps. I was using them a lot when I was shooting on my smartphone only, and I still use them to add some final touch to my photos. And sometimes I add the very final touch directly in the Instagram app, and I often use the “Lux” function or add some final brightness or temperature.
And for videos I use DaVinci Resolve, it’s a great free tool, especially for colouring.

Born in Slovakia but based in Prague, Czech Republic, I am a music composer and producer, guitarist, photographer, video maker and software engineer. I love everything about cinematography. My dream is to work on world top movies, as a music composer or director of photography.

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