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A Talented Young Photographer in Neon Lights: Carter Baran

Who is Carter Baran? Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I am an 18-year-old from Canada, BC with a deep love for photography! I enjoy hiking, longboarding, and travel of all kinds. I am still new to the world of photography but I plan on continuing down this path for the rest of my life!

When did you first start photography? How was the process of getting to where you are? What was the first photo you said you're talented at? What, who or where did you shoot?

I always had a difficult time figuring out what I wanted to do when I was younger, until I met my girlfriend of over two years now, Katy. She shared her passion for taking photos with me, and my obsession sprouted from that!

My first few cameras were Canons. I had the Rebel t1000 and later upgraded to the eos 80D. After months of bringing my camera absolutely everywhere and trying out every kind of photography I could, (Still life, Portraits, Wildlife, Landscape) I noticed my favorite pictures were these minimal, clean images.

Over a year after starting my journey, I had now moved onto my third, (and current) camera; the Sony a7iii. Because of its low light capabilities, I decided to try my hand at night photos. At the start of 2021, I bought a fog machine and some lights. This was the first photo that I can say I was truly proud of.

The setup wasn’t anything special. I just fogged up my bedroom, set a timer on my camera, and let a street lamp outside shine in through the window. This was my first successful self-portrait, and it sparked the beginning of the style I have today!

Where is photography in your life?

Photography IS my life. I find it is the one thing I can never get tired of, no matter how much I do it. Currently it is a side job, but I hope one day I can turn this passion into a full career!

You work very artistically in your photos. Sounds like you want to tell a story. What is this story?

I don’t believe there is any single story I am trying to tell with my work, it is more of an escape from reality. I find myself getting bored quickly of day-to-day life, so I build these dreamscapes where there are no limits or rules.

As with any artist, there is a feeling, person, object, or place that inspires. What is yours? Can you share with us?

I find most of my inspiration in the world around me. I constantly find a location and ask myself “how can I make this glow?”

What type of photography do you enjoy taking the most?

My favorite photos tend to be unorganized. I will sometimes just set up my fog machine and some lights in my own house, and see what kind of interesting compositions I can find!

Does the photographer catch the emotion? Does it give emotion to others?

I would like to think my photos leave an impact on those who see it. I like to use certain colors to mimic feelings. For example, in the photo below, I wanted to imitate a pocket of comfort and warmth in a cold world. I attempted this using red lights at night time.

Where do you see about your photography in the future?

In the future, I hope to be able to financially support myself and my family, solely off of my photography. That's the dream!!

Do you agree with the famous Turkish photographer Ara Güler 's statement that " if the camera took the best capture, the best novel would be written by the typewriter " What is your opinion? Is good equipment necessary for a good photo?

I agree whole-heartedly with this quote. I think there is a big misconception in the photography world on what it takes to make a great image. Because of the world we’re living in, people will always try to sell you on the most expensive gear, even if it may not be necessary for what you want to create.

I have seen incredible photos taken on phones, go pros, budget point and shoot cameras, the list is endless. The important part will always be the mind behind the camera!

What would be 3 pieces of advice you give to those who want to take a good photo?

1-Take your time, and try everything!

I like to focus in on the nuances of my shot and triple-check my composition and settings to make sure I'm not missing any small details. Also, with any photos where the lighting is artificial, you have 2 variables to think about. Firstly, the position of your camera. Secondly, the position of your light sources! I like to walk around and move both as much as possible before I finish a shoot.

2-Shoot in RAW

RAW files hold so much data! if you accidentally under or overexpose your image, you will likely still be able to recover the photo and get it to where you want it :)

3-Learn your exposure triangle!

Shutter speed, ISO, and aperture are the three points in the exposure triangle. Depending on the light level in your image, you may need to adjust each of these settings to “balance” your exposure. I highly recommend shooting on manual. It really helped me learn where my settings should be, and this knowledge really has helped me for troubleshooting during my photoshoots!


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