Martin Podt is a landscape photographer based in the Netherlands.

Tell Us a Bit About Your Background

I was born on a farm in the eastern part of the Netherlands, which is a rural area in which I still live. I have a Ph.D. degree in applied physics. Along with my job as an R&D engineer, I have a passion for photography. My main subjects are trees and forests. It is important to me that photos express a certain mood as well as evoke emotions and feelings. For this reason, photos of misty tree-lined roads are my favorites.

I became involved in photography as a child through my father, who let me take photos with his SLR during our holidays. In this way, I grew interested in landscape photography. Through photography, I have gained a great appreciation for the Dutch countryside. However, the forests in my area are a continuous source of inspiration for me.

What Is the Most Important Element of a Good Landscape Image?

I would say depth. The light conditions must also be right, but just great light is not enough. In my photos, I always try to create depth. I want the viewer to feel that they are actually in the scene.

How Do You Go About Creating the Perfect Image?

The best time to shoot forest photos would be in the morning, just after sunrise. If I plan to shoot at a location further away, I carefully check the weather forecasts. But when it comes to shooting closer to home, I just go and shoot when the conditions are right and I have some free time. I always take my camera with me to ensure that I never miss a special moment. I mostly shoot using a tripod, so that I can use a low ISO. To me, post-processing is also an essential part of creating the perfect image.

How Do You Find Your Locations or Do They Find You?

Most of my photos I have shot close to my home. But I have found many locations by riding around on my mountain bike. For the rest, I choose locations mainly for their forests. It has been scientifically proven that being in forests can decrease stress and potential burn out. I would agree with this, as I have come to realize that it works for me. Being in forests makes me happy and therefore my main reason for liking forest photography so much.

How Do You Go About Choosing the Award Winning Image for a Competition?

For a contest, I simply choose the photos that speak to me, which is probably easier said than done. I think that if you want to improve your skills, being able to select your best photos is a very important skill. I am very critical of my own work. Sometimes my perfectionism can almost drive me crazy. There are moments I hardly like any of my photos. But, I do think that my perfectionism also helps me to push my limits and improve my skills.

Can You Share Your Insights on How Other Photographers Can Grow Their Social Media?

Although I do have many followers, I am not focussed on gaining followers. In general, to be successful you should follow your heart and do what you like. Spending a lot of time on social media can help to gain followers, but I think that approach is unsustainable and pretty useless in the end. I think the best is to do what you really like, then your skills will improve automatically and success will come. Don’t listen too much to others. Be yourself and don’t let others tell you what to do. Never stop improving yourself.

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