Pascal Steiger15 min read


Hello Pascal! Could you introduce yourself?

Hi there! I’m Pascal Steiger. I’m a landscape photographer from Switzerland. I started taking photos in 2018 because I realized how beautiful our planet is. That might sound cliche, but I often tend to forget about the stunning environment and diversity we live in during my daily routine. With photography, I want to express the beauty of our lives. Our lives have so much to offer.

I currently shoot with my first ever camera, the Nikon D500. The D500 is a very robust allrounder, which is quite heavy for an APS-C DSLR. This Camera is more than enough to get started in photography. Even though it doesn’t perform as well as others in low light conditions, the image quality is simply amazing. 

Recently, I captured my new favorite image; It shows a lake at sunrise, and it really stands for my work. I try to transport emotions using the colors I show in my pictures. This one shows the warmth and the love you receive when growing up in a loving family.

Shot by Pascal Steiger

Tell us about your first introduction to photography, what’s your backstory?

Well, my decision to start photography grew while I was traveling. I just finished serving the swiss army and took a grasp of what the world has got to offer. It was the first time after school, where I could make my own decisions. I came across so many beautiful sceneries while traveling and hiking that I wanted to capture somehow. 

A friend of mine bought a camera that summer, and I’ve got to try taking pictures with it. What can I say – it was awesome! I got a lot of joy out of taking pictures, and I loved the challenge of getting the best possible shot at any given location, so I started to research which camera would be the best fit for me.

After more than half a year of contemplating (Yes, I’m very slow with decisions!), I decided to invest some money in a Nikon D500 with a Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens and a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. For the budget that I had, that was quite a large investment, so it was important to take my time.

As I got my camera, I quickly learned that watching tutorials didn’t prepare me too well to get started. I was worried that I’d be a bad photographer if I wouldn’t focus manually. In a matter of days, I realized that I need to go out and shoot as much as possible to practice. To improve, I often just went for a walk in the forest where I’d take pictures of everything I thought could be a good picture to learn how to edit in Lightroom.

During that time period, I also realized that landscape photography was a great place to start. I love nature, and I have time to control the composition, double-check the focus, and so on. It was also around that time where I got the first photos that I’m proud of.

Shot by Pascal Steiger

Since starting, how did you develop your style? 

I’ve been heavily editing my pictures in the beginning. It took me quite some time to figure out how I can use colors to express emotions. Once I realized I pumped way too much saturation into my images, I started by turning the saturation of all color-channels to the minimum and added the colors for the mood I was trying to achieve.

By doing that, I started getting more and more control over the colors that show in my images. I then realized how much impact daylight has on colors. Nowadays, I almost only shoot during golden and blue hours as a direct consequence. With the little amount of time I have to get out and capture images, I need to make sure the light is on point.

It turned out that I really love it when colors are simple and less saturated. It’s crucial not to shoot in harsh daylight to achieve that look, something I didn’t know at that time. If you shoot in harsh daylight, harsh and saturated colors will be the result. Skies become useless because there’s always that one big, white dot.

I also started working on my compositing by watching YouTube videos about the topic. I noticed the mistakes I made in the past and implemented my newly gained knowledge into my work. I’m pretty proud of the progression I made in this regard.

If I have a specific subject for a photo in mind, I mostly try to enhance the subject’s detail to the max. Of course, a prime lens like the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 really helps in that regard. 

Pro-Tip: Whilst shooting objects, it’s also a great trick to get on the ground or move in general to get various perspectives.

Since starting, what has worked to attract fans and followers? 

Because I don’t have much time on my hands, I don’t really focus on growth just yet. The most important key for growth on Instagram is to post great content daily. I can’t fulfill that just yet, so I don’t invest too much time on PR-Stuff.

I still have some tips for you that I learned, but I can’t tell you if they work because I didn’t use them so far:

  1. Post daily. People need to get familiar with your content and need to see it as much as possible to connect with your posts.
  2. Engagement. Use captions that motivate people to interact with your posts. Also, follow hashtags to see the content of new photographers daily and interact with them. Try to establish a personal connection by using their real names.
  3. Use Reels. Reels and other new features are promoted more likely by Instagram because they want to make it more well known. Use it to your advantage!
  4. Get your own style. This is the only tip that isn’t just the time you should invest. I’m not really as far as having a unique style, so if you get to this point: Hello, I’m stuck here too. Time and practice will get us out of here; trust me.

As you noticed by now, I don’t do anything close to what you should do to grow on Instagram. I don’t really want to play by Algorithms’ rules because it is my content, and I want to post what I want. I want to be myself on this platform. Your love for photography should be bigger than a platform. Keep that in mind.

Shot by Pascal Steiger

Through starting as a photographer, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Preparation is everything! Really!

In landscape photography, you need to be at the right time at the perfect spot. Calculate enough time for hiking/driving to scout the best possible spot in the area. You also want to have time to enjoy the moment and the general feeling.

Check your settings. I once did four hours of hiking and spent the night outside and realized that my shots weren’t 100% sharp in post-production. I also forgot to turn on autofocus on the lens the next morning and ruined my morning shots. Not my proudest experience.

Get out and shoot. It doesn’t always have to be banger locations with incredible results. It’s enough to get more used to a shooting routine and getting more familiar with your camera. You want to get faster handling it, switching settings, and getting all the shots you need.

What’s your biggest achievement so far?

My path in photography is still in its baby shoes. 

I only take photos in my free time because I can’t invest as much time as I’d like at the moment. Nevertheless, there are some achievements that I have already made. In my personal environment, people know that I do photography, and they also like to come up to me to see my latest work. 

Another great achievement is that I can make other people happy by sharing my latest photos. Although I’m not currently planning to pursue photography as a full-time job, it would be great if this would happen at some point.

Another achievement is, of course, each of my photos, which I like and am proud of. To be able to see my work’s results and be satisfied with them is a fulfillment in itself and a great feeling.

A good example of this is the photo of a church in Lofoten, where I’m just super satisfied that I had the eye for that composition. I drove to the side of the road and found the perfect composition over the trees. The weather conditions were perfect, and the image exudes a lot of strength and tranquility.

Shot by Pascal Steiger

How are you doing today, and what does the future look like?

Unfortunately, I can’t report anything exciting here.

I’m currently in the middle of the exam season at university and preparing for my exams. At the end of January, I can finally get out again and go on the hunt for new motifs. Unfortunately, I already missed a big part of the winter because I had to go into quarantine in December due to COVID cases in my family and couldn’t go out anymore. I’m curious if I can still capture a bit of winter feeling with the camera at the beginning of February.

In the future, I would like to see more of my work in print. What this means exactly, I do not know yet. I want to work with companies that stand for nature or adventure. Discovering our planet is in our genes, and I always like to capture that feeling with my photos.

When I’m done with my studies, I’ll surely invest more time in photography and see what this triggers in my work and what emotions it reveals in myself. It’s quite possible that one day I will fully concentrate on photography. Nevertheless, this is wishful thinking for the time being. 

My studies come first at the moment.

What’s in your camera bag these days? 

First off, I got a huge camera bag where everything fits in. It’s the F-stop Tilopa. In there I can easily fit my whole camera equipment:

I have a telelens from Tamron, and it might be my favorite lens because it allows you to get so many creative shots. You are really free to get the composition you want. Because of the APS-C sensor of the D500, I can zoom in even further.

I also really love the Nikon 50mm prime because it’s such a simple lens; The lens is really light-weighted, and you can get any shot if you move your perspective enough. An absolute must-have if you want to get creative with your shots.

Sometimes I also bring my FPV-Drone to bring my backpack to its limits. The FPV-Drone requires a lot of space because you have to bring a lot of gear along the trip. I haven’t used my drone that often yet; It’s one of those things I want to learn better in 2021.

Pascal Steiger's camera bag
Shot by Pascal Steiger

What software and platforms do you use for your photography?

I import my shots directly into Lightroom and edit them there. Lightroom is a great tool for selecting the best shots out of a shoot, and it has some useful functions for organizing your shots. 

When I need to make more complex selections or do a composite edit, I switch to Photoshop because it’s got more tools, and it’s also outperforming lightroom with tools like spot healing.

My Portfolio is created with Adobe Portfolio; it’s super easy but lacks a few customization features. I host the webpage with a smaller swiss provider. 

Other than that, I’m just active on Instagram. I do everything by hand there and don’t use any analyzing tools or such things. As I said, I don’t want to play by Instagram’s rules.

What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?

The reactions when you hand over your work to people. A smile or a genuine compliment as a reaction is an excellent confidence boost and fills me with energy. There’s nothing as rewarding as getting praised for your hard work.

What is your favorite location to shoot? 

The Alps in general. Every valley comes with its own scenery. There’s so much to discover, and I probably will never run out of places to shoot. It’s really unique, especially because you can see some of the Alps’ highest peaks from so many different angles when exploring Switzerland. 

Also, there are so many lakes and rivers to use in compositions with their reflections or without. The Alps are also great to shoot the milky way due to the small amount of light pollution. I almost forgot the most important thing: The Alps are always good for great adventures.

Shot by Pascal Steiger

What is your best memory as a photographer? 

As a photographer, I’m used to getting up early. But motivating friends to come along is always difficult. So it was also this summer when I tried to motivate a friend on our Germany road trip to get up at 2 am to see the sunrise. Luckily he was adventurous enough and agreed to the plan.

So we got up at 2 am, drove 40 minutes to the parking lot. Then we hiked for 90 minutes without knowing the way for sure. It was starting to get lighter and lighter, and we were starting to get skeptical if we would make it in time to see the sunrise. Fortunately, it was enough, and we were even a few minutes early there. My friend was very impressed by the view, and I was delighted to know that it was worth it not only for me but also for him.

Shot by Pascal Steiger

What makes the difference between a good image and an iconic image?

A good image is one that represents what the photographer is trying to tell. Most often, it tells a story; the colors underline the emotions that the story suggests. The location never matters, but of course, it can help.

However, an iconic image hits the pulse of the time. Everyone can relate to the image. It really is a good image that everyone relates to as good. Also, an iconic photo isn’t planned since it captures a moment in time that represents a more general concept or feeling.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

As I’m a digital native, I’m not really into books. YouTube is the best platform for me. Of course, you can buy video courses, but you’ll find anything on YouTube that you need. You just need to search with the right terms.

If you require inspiration, I highly recommend checking out Morten Hilmer (a wildlife photographer) or First Man Photography (a landscape photographer) on YouTube. Both are very passionate about what they’re doing and always motivate me to go out shooting.

Advice for other photographers who want to get started or are just starting?

After about 3 months of regularly photographing different subjects, you should feel when you have the most fun. This helps you determine what to focus on next; Whether it’s landscape photography, astrophotography, portraits, or product photography. 

You can’t learn everything at the same time. You should always be aware of where you are and what your plan is. Photography is like a big skill tree where you can unlock different abilities; Here’s how to use light, for example, or more mundane things like organizing your photos on your own hard drives. Do one thing at a time, and do it right.

Something you should never forget is that it’s always important to keep your passion. And you can only keep it alive if you take photos regularly. So make sure you push yourself to go out and take photos.

Besides, stay yourself. It is your work. Don’t try to fit into another scheme. Still, I advise everyone to look at pictures of others and think about what aspects of that work you could try for yourself.

Shot by Pascal Steiger

Where can we go to learn more?

You can find me on Instagram or on pascalsteiger.ch to see more of my work.


Like it? Share with your friends!