Find Your Shot with Photographer Max Muench
We caught up with photographer Max Muench to share his thoughts on finding inspiration in everyday life. Follow along below, and download his six free Lightroom presets here.
In the monotony of everyday life, how can you find creative inspiration? New angles, subjects, and stories to tell are often lost in our day-to-day. But according to photographer Max Muench, you don’t have to search in distant places to find that inspiration. “You do not need to travel far — the most incredible places might be just around your corner. Usually, people long for distant places, but they have never explored their own backyard.”
Exploring your own backyard
Max is a Berlin-based photographer who has turned his passion for travel into a career, capturing the beauty in landscapes, adventures, and the outdoors.
Despite his affinity for grand beauty, Max doesn’t need to look too far from himself to be inspired. “My biggest inspiration is my imagination,” he says. “Whenever I go to a place that I have already been, I imagine that I have never been there before and that I’m seeing everything for the very first time. Seeing everything through fresh eyes always helps me to be inspired and to find new angles.”
So what does staying inspired in your own backyard look like? Max gives some insight into keeping things interesting: “I always find it interesting to limit myself. For instance, when it comes to gear, I only take my 35mm lens, so I will not be able to capture things that are far away or too wide. Instead, I have to work with the frame I have. That means I need to move closer or further away, I need to find an angle which makes the photo more interesting. This way I can focus better and find perspectives and details that I have never seen before, especially when it’s my ‘everyday place.’”
On composition and finding the right frame, it’s important to see where your eyes take you. As Max puts it, “I always look for something in the frame that calms my eyes. I find a subject that you instantly look at as soon as you see a photo, something that catches your attention right away.”
Standing out as a photographer
Many would argue that the world of photography is a crowded space, and finding your own distinct style is a challenge. Max agrees, “It’s tough to keep your eyes fresh and your ideas unique. There’s so much inspiration out there and great photographers who might take similar photos as you do. By finding a personal way to edit your photos, your work will differ from everyone else’s and will help you to stand out from the masses.”
To help get you started with editing, Max has offered six Lightroom presets to download for free here. Presets are a great way to find a starting point with a photo, and you can then apply your own individual tweaks to make the photo your own. Follow these instructions to install:
For Lightroom Classic CC (must have version 7.3 or later):
- Download the presets here.
- Unzip the zip file on your computer
- Go to the Develop Module with an image.
- Click on the + icon in the Preset Panel. Select “import Presets”
- Navigate to the downloaded presets from step 1
- Click “Import”
For Lightroom CC (must have version 1.3 or later):
- Download the presets here.
- Open Adobe Lightroom CC
- Select File > Import Profiles and Presets
- Select the downloaded preset file and click ‘Import’
- Open the photo you would like to edit, click the edit toolbar on the right-hand side of Lightroom and then you’ll find the imported preset when you select the ‘Presets’ button.
Check out a preview for each preset below, and try out Max’s five top Lightroom tips to make the photo your own.
Max’s top five tips for editing in Lightroom
- Less is more. Sometimes we tend to edit too much, too strong, too well-intentioned. It’s easier to move a fader than to leave it alone. Small (but good) and precise changes will enhance your photos already, no need to exaggerate.
- Play with gradients. This way you can adjust only parts of the image and darken dramatic skies or lighten up the shadows in a specific place. When the gradient is activated, you can click on the “brush” symbol and remove or add part of the image to the gradient.
- Play with the camera calibration. Is your blue sky too blue and you want it to look more interesting? Adjust the blue primary and you’ll be surprised.
- Sort your images in catalogs and collections — that way you can bring order to your everyday photos.
- Download Lightroom on mobile, too. You can take photos with your phone and edit them right away — perfect for when you’re out and about. And if you want to edit it on the desktop later, simply open Lightroom there and your photo will be ready, thanks to the automated synchronization.
Finally, Max’s advice for all aspiring photographers is simple: “Always try harder. Because you can.”
Keep an eye on Max’s Instagram over the next several weeks as he challenges you to use these tips to create your own unique angle for your day-to-day shots.