Hello! My name is Lárus Sigurðarson and I am a freelance photographer from Reykjavik. Not to be confused with the former football player and coach of the Icelandic football team Þór Akureyri! So a bit about me - As with most professional photographers, especially those who mostly photograph people, I am pretty open minded, flexible and outgoing. You kind of have to be, you can't be shy when you are expected to work with people who often are not experienced models, and since probably 3/4 of all photoshoots I do are either outdoors, or on location and not at the studio, you also have to be flexible. I am however also very organized, as I am my own boss, and I photograph a lot of weddings. Even though it has never happened, I understand that people wouldn't really "be cool" about me double booking myself on their wedding day for example!
So what made me become a photographer? Well, I got into photography pretty late in my life, I am 39 now, and I only got my first camera when I was 22 and had never been interested in photography before then! It was a simple point and shoot digital camera, a very basic model compared to today's standards, a 1.3 megapixel Olympus with no zoom lens vs. most smartphones today produce much higher quality photos! However it got me started, but then when my son was born in November of 2002, I spent four months with him on paternity leave from May-August 2003, and that is when my photography passion really took off. It was just him, me, the stroller and the camera walking all over town while he took a nap, and me taking photos all over the place. It snowballed from there, people saw my photographs and asked me about photoshoots, and ever since they, I have been doing photography full time professionally!
I love everything about photography, and that's the only way anybody would ever last in this profession. But, what I love most is meeting new people, going to new places and trying new things during photoshoots. Although I don't dislike anything about my job, seriously, I guess my least favorite part is answering emails or facebook messages, stuff like that. It's not that I dislike communicating with people through emails or text messages, but I think it tends to be so impersonal, and I guess I am old fashioned and like talking to people face to face or on the phone instead, but in todays society that's not really an option most of the time, as emails "make more sense", as they are less intrusive, as people can reply to them when it best suits them.
One particular moment as a Photographer that I would love to share with you all would be Tuesday of last week. I was in the southeast of Iceland and was exploring an ice cave with a company called local guide. It was a solid 6 hours of walking around and inside a glacier + 2 hours driving there and back, and vast ice caves formed naturally by the glacier. I have been in ice caves before, but the day was absolutely beautiful, cold with clear skies, good weather, and very good light, and those tunnels were amazing, and while I got some cool photos, I was mostly in awe of how these caves are formed, what mother nature can produce! If you want to check out my work and/or make any bookings feel free to check out my website right here
Before we delve into my 'Day in the Life', one thing I would tell all travelers visiting Iceland is to DRESS WARM! Right now, it's December, winter, so remember, this is Iceland, with an emphasis on the ICE. It isn't maybe as cold as most people think, January is actually the only month of the year where the temperature is on average below freezing. But, it's still cold, so dress well, it's the windchill that usually surprises people, they look at the temperature and think that is it. While we Icelanders look at the wind, I personally would prefer a cold -5°c and no wind rather than +5°c and wind, as that can feel much colder. Another advice is that don't hire a car - If you are visiting Reykjavík, then dont' bother getting a car. But, if you are visiting Iceland, and plan to get around at all and take a look at the landscape, you most definately should hire a car to get around, as public transportation outside the city is pretty much nonexistent. Just thought to clarify that, as it's potentially bad advice, depending on if people are visiting Reykjavík, or want to get out of the cit
9 AM: I usually set my alarm for 9am, I like to sleep in a bit, as I am often up late, I am a late night person, and fortunately my kids (15 and 12) are old enough to take care of themselves, make breakfast and get to school. I don't snooze however, but get up right away at the first alarm!
9:15 AM: Turn on the computer, answer emails, check social media, facebook, instagram and so on
9:45 AM: Go to the gym, I am not a "gym rat" by any means, but do try to get in about 20-30 min of cardio and lifting weights, 3-4 times a week. Makes a big difference once you hit your late thirties, trust me kids!
11:00 AM: Back home, I have an office at home where I do post processing work, usually while "watching" documentaries or something like that on a second screen, out of the corner of my eye. Some people find that distracting, but I find it helps to keep me in the chair
12:15 AM: Lunch meeting downtown, to discuss a photoshoot, in this case a wedding I am photographing 11 days from now. Fortunately Reykjavík is not a big city, so even if I live in the suburbs, getting downtown only takes 10-15 minutes, depending on traffic
1:15 PM: Since I am already downtown, I swing by a friend of mines office, he's a graphic designer who I haven't seen in a while, and there wasn't time to swing back home before a photoshoot.
2 PM: Photoshoot time! The days this time of the year (December) are extremely short, only 4, maybe 5 hours of useable daylight if it's clear skies, and I am photographing a family portrait outdoors, an Icelandic couple and their children, a 10 year old girl and a 7 year old boy. This time of the year I do a lot of family portraiture, for Christmas cards, or presents for grandparents. Weather is good today so we are outside, down by the ocean, we originally planned to be in a park, a bit more shelter from potential wind, but we decided last minute to go down to the ocean instead
3:15 PM: Photoshoot is done, but I have another one at 4pm, so since I have time to kill I swing by a store at a local mall to pick up cat food, we have two cats. I don't like to book two photoshoots too close together, as something might always come up, although things usually always are on schedule
3:45 PM: Get down to the studio and start setting up lights and the background for the next photoshoot.
4 PM: Second photoshoot of the day, this time at the studio, as it's a family of three, young parents and their son is only 7 months old, so of course not taking photos outside this time of the year!
5:15 PM: Second photoshoot is done, and I am packing away the lights and background before I leave the studio.
5:45 PM: Finally home, even though there isn't that much traffic in Reykjavík compared to other cities, at "rush hour", which is at around 9 am and 5-6 pm, it usually takes double the time to get home vs. when there is less traffic. I just take it easy with my wife and kids until dinner
6 PM: Me and my wife take turns making dinner, and this time it's her turn, she is making home made pizza, so I am helping my daughter with homework, mostly just listening to her read to me. She has a beautiful voice so I almost fall asleep on the couch!
7 PM: Dinner! Pizza tastes great, good thing about homemade pizza is everyone gets to pick their favorite toppings!
7:15 PM: Close to the end of dinner, I get a weird phone call from someone who is frantically searching for a photographer immediately leave for a photoshoot under the northern lights. I tell them I only do professional photoshoots outdoors during daylight hours, as there is simply too much out of my control after it gets dark. The northern lights have to show up, it has to be clear skies, and there has to be very little wind. And as I have no control over these three things, I simply don't do photoshoots after sunset, because during daylight hours I can always guarantee some cool photos, but can't guarantee anything after it gets dark. Even though of those three things seem to be in order tonight, I am not about to run out at dinner with my family.
7:30 PM: The other reason I didn't want to break my rule of "no professional photoshoots after sunset" I have a lot of photos on my hard drive to go through before Christmas, so I want to get a couple of hours of post processing of photos done before settling down over TV, so I am back at the computer
8:15 PM: I get a text from the same guy asking me again to come out to photograph them tonight. I tell them sorry, but I am not interested, and I keep on with my post processing.
10 PM: I take a break from working and watch an episode of Sneaky Pete with my wife, she usually goes to bed around 11pm, she is a teacher so has to get up earlier than I do.
11 PM: I continue with my post processing, this time, "watching" an episode of Star Trek:Enterprise on the other monitor, while I work
12:30 AM: Suddenly remember I forgot to do this interview and get to work on it ;)
1 AM: Off to bed, I usually go to sleep around this time, as I like staying up late, and knowing I can sleep-in till 9 am