Interview with Russian Photographer Johan Lebedevski

Bio Info: Johan Lebedevski

Travel & landscape photography guy from St. Petersburg, Russia

Who or what got you started in photography?

Well it may sound boring and trivial but in 2008 I worked in an electronics store when Canon released it’s 1000D camera – most affordable DSLR at that time and I just decided to try it out. I also had two friends (they both now work as a photographers btw, one full time and one part time) who were more experienced than me and who gave me my first lessons.

How long have you been a photographer?

I’m calling myself a photographer, hmm… let me think, maybe a 4 ye ars now. The first four year’s works were childish and not very interesting.  Sometimes I made great shots but not even a two in a row.

Is photography your full time business or something you do on the side?

No, it’s not a full-time job, sometimes it’s still like a hobby, but I have some income from selling my photos on shutterstock, shooting weddings for my mates and my mates mates, shooting food, things, interior and other things to shoot for my local city clients. Once it was a wedding photography day in a neighborhood in Finland. Even though I make a lot of travel photos when I’m on vacation, I still haven’t sold any print or rights for any of my works but I think that I just started my way.

I work in a theater in St.Peterburg, Russia as an IT engineer, that’s what I do for a living. Not the best job in the world but surely not the worst. Maybe one day I’ll change it to full-time photography.

How would you explain your photography style?

Good question. Until now I didn’t even think about it in any way. Well, in travel and landscape photos I’m trying to capture the spirit of a place I’m photographing, trying to make a viewer feel what I felt.  And in wedding photos it’s all about romantic and emotions.

What kind of gear do you use?

  1. Camera Body: Canon EOS 6D, thinking of a switch to 5Dm4
  2. Lens: Sigma Art 24/1.4, Sigma Art 50/1.4, Sigma 105/2.8 Macro and all what I can borrow from friends or rent for a specific shooting.
  3. Tripod: Ye olde Manfrotto 7301YB.
  4. Filters: Cokin gradient gray filters, Hoya C-PL and ND filters.
  5. Flash: Canon Speedlite 580EX II for the last 4 years, and my new Yongnuo YN-600EX-RT x3 and YN-E3-RT transmitter are on their way to me.
  6. Camera Bag: Just my own Deuter Trans Alpine backpack which I use for travelling and EDC. Camera is in the noname cheap camera-only bag inside the backpack, lenses above in their soft coffers. Redneck style.
  7. Others: My enthusiasm. Big part of any production.

What kind of tools do you use for post-processing?

That’s simple. Lightroom for catalogization and color management, Photoshop for minor editing, sharping, retouch etc. PTgiu for panorams, Zerene Stacker for astro and macro such as a Photoshop too.

What is your favorite photo that you have taken?

And that’s the hardest question I’ve ever been asked. Let’s say I have more than one good photo, but all of them seems good enough only for a small amount of time. I grow. I shoot. I evolve. I teach myself to see. So I think that my favorite photo is far far ahead. Also since I shoot not only portraits or astro or landscapes I can’t even choose just one from every category. Some of them great about light and composition, some great because of captured moment and some are great for me because they reminds me feelings I had capturing them.

If I still have to choose, I’d say that my panorama of the Yokohama city ( and that lovely tram from Hong Kong ( are my favorite photos for now.

How have you/do you educate yourself to take better photos?

Simple: practice. If you need more than boring shooting every day for no reason there’s one recipe. Practice, travel, practice, try new style and objects of shooting, practice, steal ideas(for practice) and try to copy something/somebody’s style/work, get inspiration from people you found in Instagram, Flickr and other places in Internet. No pain no gain.

Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking?

I can tell, that most influence came from seeing works of Daniel Kordan, russian self-made photographer and traveler. His photos are awesome and places he visited attracted me as hard as I couldn’t think about not getting there.

There were not only photographers but that awesome people from all over the world, who posted their videos and photos in all social media. They inspired me for travelling, travelling inspired for taking photos. Tons of tourists in every landmark in every place I’ve been to inspired me to wake up early :). That’s my way of thinking.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

If you start your way with cheap/old gear, double check that awesome super photo you’ve just taken. Just zoom it to 100% at your camera to ensure that it’s not out of focus or done with proper exposure and aperture value. A lot of good photos ended their way being deleted just after being transferred to my computer.

And for sure, if only I could think of amount of editing photos and going through raw material, maybe I`d change my mind 

Any additional tips, advice, or info you’d like to share?

Well as I said earlier, work a lot, the more you shoot the greater shots you get. That’s the secret.

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