Would you mind introducing yourself? Hello. I'm Justin Halbert - travel and hospitality photographer from San Diego, California. (@justin.halbert)
How would you describe your style of photography? I'd describe my style of photography as adventurous, clean, minimal and semi-surreal. Lately, I've been swimming and shooting a lot in the ocean and I want the viewer to feel like they're in the water with me.
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? I've always loved photography but really fell in love with it in college. I was taking art classes and learned all the same principles of art and design apply to photography - lighting, composition etc. Back then I was shooting film never really thinking I would be able to shoot professionally.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? I think our wedding was probably my favorite memory of being in front of the camera. My friend Sean Walker shot my wedding and it was hist first wedding ever. Now he's a very successful wedding photographer in San Diego. My friend Tom O'Hara also shot our wedding video. He and his team shot and edited it and added a soundtrack and then showed it by the end of the reception. We were blown away. He's also very successful with his businesses - West Coast Wedding Cinema and Thomas Wedding Cinema. Last year He and I started Salt and Light Visuals - a visuals company focusing on luxe-resort, travel and hospitality. We work with brands that include Jack Daniels, Estancia Resort and Spa, L'Oreal, The Lodge Torrey Pines, Alaska Airlines and more.
What inspires you to take these wonderful photographs? I'm very fortunate to be able to travel and shoot and to get paid for it. I'm inspired to create experiences that include my family and friends. I'll take my daughter to the beach, chase her around in the water and then shoot some photos or I'll take the family to Hawaii and let them relax at breakfast as I wake up for a sunrise hike and photo expedition. Life is better experienced when it's shared - that includes photos.
What kind of camera do you use? I currently use the Canon 7d mk ii for shooting in the water and the 5d mk iii for my typical shoots. I also shoot with the Sony a6300 but want to buy the a6500 soon. I also have access to the Canon 1dx mk ii.
What is your editing process like? What apps/programs do you use most often? My editing is pretty simple. I typically "crush" the highlights (lower them). This preserves a lot of color in the sky. I also like to overexpose the image to get a cleaner feel. Also, I shoot at sunrise or sunset to get the color pallet I'm looking for and I typically use the VSCO k2 1/2 preset in Lightroom. I export into the VSCO app and add the square white border and save to my camera roll. I usually post my photos on the VSCO feed as well and have been featured by them numerous times.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? I'd say if people want to shoot like me then keep the image simple, don't include too many things that are distracting. I typically focus on one thing, the sun, a river, a road, a set of trees, a surfer. I also expose for the foreground so that the sky is blown out. I don't typically shoot silhouettes, which is what happens when you expose for the sky/sun. And keep a simple, pleasing color pallet. It can be different than mine. If it's consistent then that's what matters.
What are some of your passions/hobbies other than photography? I am a classically trained chef and teach at-risk teens how to cook. I also help them get jobs in fine dining restaurants. I love to travel and eat. I also like to draw/doodle. My wife recently bought me a new sketch book and pens so that's been a recent passion. I also surf. Within the past few years though JiuJitsu has become more of passion than surfing and I spend a lot of time at the gym. I even compete in tournaments and won a tournament a few weeks ago.
Do you have any photography related plans for this summer that you would like to share? I'm traveling a little bit this summer. We have Hawaii planned and maybe Colorado or Washington. We usually travel to Mexico for a surf trip as well and camp at the local beaches.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? @dantom, @woodygphoto, @patricwithno_k - he's a local legend. Also @mattcbauer.
Are there any photographers here on Instagram that you love and wish more people knew about? Marcus Jew (@whatwouldjewdo) is really underrated on Instagram. He consistently produces amazing imagery. Same with Mathias Raggl (@mathiasraggl).
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? I've always dreamt of going to Bali because of the surf. But it seems like everyone is going now, which is kind of a turn off. I dream of a boat trip through Indonesia finding remote waves and shooting the desolate islands.
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? Fall in San Diego is our best season and my favorite season to shoot. The sun is at a different angle and the light it produces is warm and inviting.
Anything extra you would like to share? I typically write blogs on my website about my travels. You can follow along at www.justinhalbert.co/new-blog/ I've also created a Vimeo page for my other business, Salt and Light which you can find here https://vimeo.com/saltandlightvisuals.
Be sure to follow Justin on Instagram (@justin.halbert)