In a Q & A with award-winning fine art photographer, Nate Zeman, known for his beautiful nature, wildlife, landscape and travel photographs, he shares what inspires him, his most rewarding and challenging experience — and he offers tips on how to select and display photographs at home.
Zeman captures majestic and wondrous photos of our world. His photos of wildlife in their natural habit are dynamic and create deep emotion.
Q & A with fine art photographer Nate Zeman
13 Questions for Fine Art Photographer Nate Zeman
Barbara: Your photographs of nature, wildlife and the world are beautiful. How did you get started as a photographer?
Nate: From A young age I always had a fascination with nature, and the natural world. In high school I spent a lot of time in the dark room learning photography. In my early 20s I moved out west to be closer to the mountains. Naturally, my interest in photography and nature collided and here we are today!
Barbara: What’s a typical shoot like?
Nate: I’m not sure any of my shoots are ever “typical”, which is why I love this type of photography so much. I pack my gear and I have a basic idea of where I’m going and what I’m looking to photograph. I’d say about 9 times out of 10 those plans go out the window and I end up doing something completely different. That’s all part of the fun and excitement of nature photography. I might head out to photograph a landscape and end up tracking a moose through the woods, or one of a million other scenarios. You really never know what you’re going to get yourself into and that is exactly what I love about it.
Barbara: It must take an extreme amount of patience and persistence to capture the perfect shot. What’s involved in capturing your extraordinary wildlife and nature photographs?
Nate: Haha yes! Patience and Persistence two of the most important attributes you can have as a nature photographer. I would add passion to that first part too. Patience, persistence and passion are all key traits to have. When it comes to wildlife photography these traits are an absolute requirement. I’m not sure they can be taught though. You have to want to be out there as much as possible waiting on those rare moments. For me that’s the entire point. I love the challenges and the rewards.
Barbara: What inspires you?
Nate: When I’m looking for inspiration I always look for someone who’s passionate in what they do. When someone is passionate about something that absolutely inspires me. It doesn’t have to be photography related. It doesn’t even have to be passion about a shared interest or even something I understand. I just love to see other people out there pursuing their passions.
Barbara: Are you a solo photographer? Or do you have assistants?
Nate: As far as from a professional perspective I’m a solo photographer, in that I don’t use assistants and I rely solely on myself for the photographs I take. I would add an exception for any time I’ve used a tracker / guide. In certain situations they are absolutely critical and I consider that a team effort.
Barbara: What are your favorite photographs that you’ve shot? Why?
Nate: For me, the type of photographs I wish to capture the most are the ones that portray an animal in their environment. Basically a photo that could stand on its own as a landscape photo but also has an animal featured in it. These are the hardest photos to get simply because of how many elements need to come together at the same time.
Barbara: What’s your most challenging experience as a photographer?
Nate: One thing I find really challenging about being a nature photographer is that you can’t just go out and take a photo of exactly what you want. In other words, if I was a painter and I wanted to paint a winter scene in July I could do that. I could paint anything I want. I often times feel really frustrated when I’m dying to get out and take photos and its not a good day for it, or not the right season etc… you’re completely at the mercy of nature, and that one aspect that I love so much about the type of photography I do, but it can also be very frustrating.
Barbara: What’s your most rewarding experience as a photographer?
Nate: For me the most rewarding experience is just being out there and experiencing nature. Photos are great and if I come away with a great photo then thats a huge added bonus, but for me it’s all about being out in the field. More often than not I come away with no photos. Many times the camera never comes out of my bag. I’ll also say that it is highly rewarding to finally get a photo you’ve been trying to capture for a long time.
Barbara: Where’s your favorite place to capture photographs?
Nate: I’ve photographed places and animals all over the world, so thats a really difficult question, but if I had to pick only one I would go with anywhere the Rockies. That’s where I cut my teeth with photography, and the place I’ve made the most memories.
Barbara: What are three places on your destination bucket list?
Nate: 2020 has been the year that I’ve least traveled in the last 15 years. Right now, I’m just hoping for the world to get back to normal so we can get back out there again! With that said three places that come to mind Rwanda to photograph mountain gorillas, tigers in India and also polar bears are very high on my list.
Barbara: How do you display your photos in your home?
Nate: I don’t have any of my photos on display in my own home. I have a lot work by other photographers and artists.
Barbara: What should people keep in mind when selecting artwork/photography for their home?
Nate: A lot of the process of picking out art is subjective. Tastes run the spectrum and I would say the most important aspect of selecting art is to pick something you love. That sounds obvious. However, a lot of people end up obsessing over artwork matching their furniture or other home decor and they end up discounting pieces they may love because they think it won’t fit in their home. I’m a firm believer in picking something you love first and then worry about how it will fit you room after. Keep in mind that if you absolutely must have art match your furniture you can always go with a classic frame and have the frame match your furniture.
Barbara: What’s the best way to display photographs in a home?
Nate: There are a few things that should be considered when hanging photographs in your home. I prefer for a wall to have one large piece on a wall as opposed to multiple small pieces. That’s not to everyones taste but thats what I prefer.
It’s important to hang your art at the same height around your room whenever possible. Most of the time somewhere around 60 inches from the floor to the center of the artwork is the best height to hang at. Obviously if you’re putting something over a tall piece of furniture or a mantle or something like that you will not need to use this rule, but in general all photos should be hung the same height. That means when you look around a room at all walls, ideally all pieces of art should be centered at the same point.
When it comes to hanging artwork (and photography especially) lighting is maybe the most important thing to consider for your home. For instance, if you walk into a gallery with professional lighting and expect a photo to look the exact same in your home with no lighting you’ll most likely end up disappointed. Hanging a photo in an area with good lighting or adding lighting to an area you wish to hang your photo will make all the difference in the world.
Glare is another important issue to think about. If your photo is going to go on a wall with a lot of glare you might want to consider a different type of display option like a matte finish or better glass that reduces glare. Of course though, above all, it’s your home and you should display things exactly the way you want!
In conclusion—Nate’s passion, persistence and patience are evident in his stunning photography. He’s an artist, a storyteller and fine art photographer. In addition, he also offers great advice on selecting artwork/photography and displaying it in your home. I couldn’t agree more when Nate says to choose artwork/photography you love.
Most importantly, when it comes to designing your home–embellish it with things you love. Give your home a healthy vibe.
Make your home an oasis. Create a quiet beauty with things you love. Create harmony and balance.
Thank you Nate Zeman, nature, wildlife, photographer for sharing your expertise and your beautiful photos.
Discover Nate Zeman’s stunning photography here:
Website – www.natezeman.com
Twitter – @natezemanphoto
Facebook – @natezemanphoto