We are so excited to introduce Max to the AOV community! He took the time to share a bit about his life, his advice for other photographers, and his excellent editing tools.
My name is Max Ablicki, I’m a 20-year-old adventure lifestyle photographer based out of New England. I currently live in Biddeford, Maine where I study psychology at The University of New England and purse freelance photography and writing in my free time. My journey with photography started in high school, when I first got my driver’s license. Seemingly every day I’d find an excuse to go out and drive, every weekend I ventured a little farther and farther from home to scenic places and state parks. I began taking pictures of the places I went with this Jeep on my phone and sharing them online, and to my surprise quite a few people began to enjoy my adventure pictures. A year later I spent almost my entire summer’s earning on a camera, and from there on I’ve been hooked.
How do you keep the creative juices flowing?
Fast forward a few years, and while I don’t have my Jeep anymore (I miss it every day), I still adventure as often as possible, sharing and creating out of my love for adventure. We all know that creativity can be a blessing and a curse, and I’ve always struggled whenever I’m feeling a lack of creativity or if I lack the time or resources to complete something I’ve envisioned. To combat this I’ll usually go out for a drive like I did back when I had my Jeep or I’ll get on the phone with one of my friends who also lives the creative life.
What is your favorite thing about photography?
On the opposite side of the same coin, one of my favorite things about photography are the moments of sheer inspiration, the moments spent out on the road or in the woods just surrounded in things that inspire and intrigue. There’s no shortage of great photos to be had when you’ve been struck by inspiration. In fact, the first Art of Visuals feature I was given was a picture taken while I was standing on the coffee table in my room. I didn’t have a hardwood floor in my room however I wanted a wooden-floor effect…so I put my carpet on the table and stood on it. It just goes to show when inspiration and creativity are present, you can produce anything you want!
I hope you all will stay inspired and stay creative and continue to share with the world!
What advice do you have for taking the best photos?
In terms of shooting, if you’re a beginner, take pictures of everything and look everywhere for inspiration. When I first started using a camera I would even leave extra early for my job at a local coffee shop, just so I could take some pictures along the way. The more and more you shoot everything, you’re going to find exactly what you really enjoy taking pictures of and in exactly what conditions you like to shoot in. Not only does this give you practice in all aspects of photography, it’ll help you develop a style and help you find what you do best. From there on out, get picky…shoot when conditions are prime for you and when you’re feeling the most inspiration, and you’ll see tremendous results.
What advice do you have for editing the best photos?
In terms of editing, I pretty much have one golden rule: Never edit if you’re uninspired.
If you’re ever not feeling inspired or creative, the worst thing you could do for yourself is start editing your photos. I’ve found that if I edit uninspired and then return to the photos when I’m feeling a burst of creativity, I’ll find at least 10 things I could’ve done better. So why not do it right the first time? Creativity is currency; spend it on the things that matter. I often head over to my local coffee shop to edit photos, there’s usually always art hanging up and I find the busy atmosphere quite enjoyable. There’s lots of stuff to look at if you need a break or another jolt of inspiration, not to mention it’s nice to have a big supply of caffeine readily available! Get friendly with the staff at a local coffee place by being a regular and you might just have yourself a place to hang some photos as well!
What gear do you use?
Right now I currently use a Sony A7 as my one and only camera, my favorite lens currently being a 1990’s Minolta 35-70mm that I actually found at Goodwill, which I use primarily for most of my shots you see on Instagram. I also use the 70-210mm Minolta “beercan” lens for telephoto shots. I also still keep the original Sony 28-70mm Kit lens handy because it works great for flatlay images and portraits! In terms of outdoor gear, I’ve become a huge fan of the old-school folk vibe, so I often frequent antique stores and thrift shops in search of warm sweaters from Pendleton, Woolrich, and LL Bean. Not only do these items look great in pictures, but they’re also quite purposeful and can keep you nice and warm, as well as keep your wallet full for the real travel costs! As a bonus, whenever I stay in a cabin, I’ll take along my Polaroid camera and take a Polaroid to leave behind for the owners of the cabin with a hand-written thank you written on it! It’s a fun little gesture that often generates a great response and gives people something real to hold onto!
Why did you create this set of presets?
I was glad to have the opportunity to make these presets. I think it’s great to be able to share my little window of creativity with the world. There’s an unbelievable amount of ways to look at and edit photos, and each unique take on a photo is worth exploring! This preset pack is designed to be a great all-around pack for the adventure/lifestyle photographer, and will hopefully be a useful tool in the toolbox for any creator!
What do we get with your preset pack?
Cozy Cabin – The warm wool blankets, old wooden walls, late nights around the woodstove with whiskey, wine, and friends… hardy breakfasts and early mornings. Capture that true rustic cabin mood with the Cozy Cabin preset.
Flatlay – Show off your stuff…for real. A nice preset designed to give you the perfect starting point to a nice rustic looking flatlay image. Show off a product for your most recent project with this preset or simply toss all your stuff on a table and shoot!
Landscape – Crisp and Clean – The beauty is in the details, this preset brings out all the things that made you take the picture in the first place. Great for fine art prints and gallery shows, this preset will help your bring out all those sharp details in your landscapes.
Landscape – Mountain Mood – Inspired by a day in the mountains where we got caught in the rain, this preset turns weather that isn’t in your favor, to your favorite weather. Clouds, rain, and that soft natural feel we all love, captured in a few edits that’ll make your bad weather images pop.
Winter Freeze – Keep your winter game fresh like unbroken snow. Winter shooting isn’t easy; it’s cold, windy, and there are a lot of factors that’ll overexpose your image in a heartbeat. Use this preset to make those winter scenes pop without getting washed out.