Daniel Ernst is constantly on the road, but we managed to chat with him about his photography work and why he loves to travel.
Your Instagram feed is a collage of some of the most amazing places around the world. Where are you right now and what projects are you working on?
After Patagonia and some weeks shooting in the Alps, I decided to take a break for around two weeks. So right now I’m at home spending time with family and friends, going to the local bike park, and simply relaxing. But, the next projects are around the corner and the next three months will be super busy.
To gain some perspective, when did you start shooting and how did you gain the following you have?
I started with photography back in 2013 and Instagram wasn’t something I knew about until April 2015 when I attended a workshop on how to use it as a marketing tool. At that time I was in New Zealand and I started uploading some photos of the landscape as well as of my life as a backpacker.
We’ve seen your work on so many Instagram feature accounts as well as your long list of clients. What has been the most rewarding project you’ve worked on and why?
All projects are rewarding in some way. I always learned something from each, so it’s really hard to point out just one!
In terms of group dynamic and fun, my favorite was definitely the #MBDolomates project that a bunch of friends and I worked on last year. We were a group of six photographers and friends who had the client’s blessing to do anything we wanted. With that, it almost felt like being on a private trip with friends, which are often the best ones.
You’re part of a group called the German Roamers. How did that project start and what do you value most about that group of rad photographers?
The group was formed roughly a year before I joined, by our founder whose name is Jo (@pangea). The idea was to build a community with people who shared the same passion regarding photography and lifestyle. This quickly became Germany’s biggest collective, and right now companies and brands are jumping on the idea as well.
Apart from that, I love being with the group as they are people like myself, and you can always reach out to the community and find someone who is ready to go on a trip. Also, the idea of sharing experiences with clients, gear, places, and experiences is a great benefit for everyone in the group.
For those photographers who are trying to start working more with brands, how do you navigate relationships with clients?
You should always have a clear idea of what your proposal to a potential client will look like, so my first step is to look at their previous campaigns or collaborations to get a rough idea of what they are after. Next, I start formulating the idea and look for a time frame in my schedule that would work out for me. Then I send the email. In the best case scenario, the client simply gives me a yes and we start talking about a budget.
You’re an inspiration to so many photographers around the world. Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
Everyone I follow is kind of an inspiration to me — either I like their edits, their lifestyle or the places they go.
To point out a few: I love the way Benjamin Hardman’s work looks, and I love Bruin Alexander’s writing and photography. Last but not least: Hannes Becker, who is a big inspiration and helped me a lot with understanding social media.
Hannes Becker is always popping up in your feed. What do you love most about collaborating with him?
He’s a big inspiration and a good friend — I love going on trips with him because it’s always very easy and uncomplicated. We both have the same idea about road-tripping and living on the road, so there is never an issue between us. Even when we live cramped in a VW Golf for weeks there was always a lot of laughter, good times, and dozens of good photos. He also lives close to me, so traveling with him is easier, as we can just meet up and go on a spontaneous trip.
Sunrise or sunset? Why?
Definitely sunrise — it’s harder to get yourself motivated to get up in the morning, but there will be less people (especially when you go to popular place). I also particularly like the mood at a sunrise — it’s a silent and peaceful atmosphere while the world is slowly waking up.
What’s on your list of places to go next?
I’ll be going to Southern Germany and Switzerland next, and later this year I’m planning on Slovenia, the Faroe Islands, and Norway.
Any last advice to the photographers and travelers in our community?
Even if you get involved with collaborations and clients’ projects, you should always keep in mind why you started — the fun and enjoyment of photography and community should always come first.
Check out more of Daniel’s work on his Instagram and Website.