Interview With A Photographer | Jordan Robbins

Where’s home?

Jervis Bay, a small coastal town located on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia.

What is the favourite place you’ve travelled to?

The Great Barrier Reef, with its tropical climate, numerous coral atoll islands, crystal clear water and rich biodiversity of marine life, it is the perfect place for underwater photography. Days here are spent immersed in the warm waters surrounded by Sea Turtles, Manta Rays, Reef Sharks and tropical fish species, it is basically a real-life aquarium.

How did you get started as a photographer?

I have always had an appreciation for photography especially underwater photography. During my teen years I worked at the local dive store as a scuba dive guide. On each dive, I would take my GoPro with me capturing images of the beautiful underwater world that lies beneath the ocean’s surface.

On the dive boats, I would always admire the underwater photographers with their crazy, oversized underwater camera set ups which made me dream of one day being an underwater photographer.

It wasn’t until my 21st birthday when my parents were kind enough to gift me with my first DSLR camera. At the time, I was studying a marine science degree at the University of Wollongong and with little to no idea on how to use the camera I took up and introduction to photography subject. This subject taught me the basics of photography and is when the love and passion for photography really begun.

After months of tireless working and saving, I had saved up enough money to purchase an underwater housing for my camera.

I have now been shooting in the water for the last three years which finds me where I am today specialising in underwater and ocean wildlife photography.

My favourite style of image to capture is the “over under” which is a style of underwater photography where you can see above and below the water, captured in a single exposure. My favourite time to shoot “over unders” is on sunrise or sunset, capturing atmospheric skies paired with the marine life lurking beneath the water’s surface.

What camera equipment / software / tech do you use? Any must haves?

I currently shoot with a Canon 5d MK 3. Lenses in my kit include 16-35mm f/4, 8-15mm f/4 Fisheye, 50mm 1.4.

For my underwater photography, I have my camera enclosed in an AquaTech water housing, with an 8” dome port.

For underwater photography, the 8-15mm f/4 fisheye is a must have lens. It is the perfect lens to shoot ultra-wide seascapes and shooting “over under” images, an image where you can see above and below the water. For shooting “over unders” an 8” dome port is a must have in your kit.

Having strobes or an underwater flash is highly recommended to help bring back colour especially if you are photographing deep below the water’s surface. Strobes or an underwater flash is also a must have if you are shooting “over unders” in low light, such as on sunrise or sunset.

I often take a white balance card with me when I am shooting in the water and take reference shots to get the correct white balance when editing.

My editing is absolutely minimal, I try my best on focusing to capture everything in camera as I would rather spend my time in the ocean, not in front of a computer screen.

The software I use is Adobe Camera Raw, which is basically the same as Adobe Lightroom.
Full List of Equipment:
- Canon 5d MK 3
- Canon 8-15mm f/4 Fisheye
- Canon 16-35mm f/4
- Canon 50mm f/1.4
- AquaTech 5D3 Elite Underwater Housing
- AquaTech 8” Dome Port
- AquaTech PX-30 Port Extension
- Canon Speedlite 580EX II
- AquaTech Speedlite 580EX II Flash Housing
- 2x Inon Z240 Strobes

What photographers have influenced you, how you think and shoot?

Ocean wildlife photographers Paul Nicklen, David Doubilet and Brian Skerry have had the greatest influence on my photography. They have been at the top of the game for such a long time and document the incredible raw beauty of the marine environment like no one else and are all such great advocates for ocean conservation.

Any top tips for Instagram?

In this day and age Instagram is a great tool for getting your photography out into the world to be seen and is also a great tool for meeting and interacting with likeminded photographers. Collaborations with photographers who shoot a similar style to you is always a great idea and can help develop your photography further.

Post content that you are passionate about that expresses you’re creativity as an individual. It is also important that we don’t get too caught up in thinking that having a big following and getting thousands of likes means someone is a good photographer. Some of the most successful photographers I know aren’t even on Instagram. It is always a good idea to put the phone down for a moment and enjoy the true beauty of the world through our own eyes, not through the screen of your phone.

What are you trying to communicate through your photographs?

With my underwater photography, the key message I am trying to communicate is for individuals to become more aware of the marine environment and to make more environmentally conscious decisions that will help to reduce their impact on the marine environment.

The ocean provides me with so much enjoyment and I want to make sure that we can protect it so that it is there for future generations to enjoy as much as I do. With my underwater photography, I also want to share my experiences I have in the ocean with people who may not live near the ocean or have never had the chance to explore the beauty of the underwater world.

What motivates you to continue doing what you’re doing?

For me the ocean is a place where I am relaxed and at peace, free from the stressors of day to day life. When I am out shooting in the water I am truly present in the moment. Each time I step foot in the ocean there is always a great sense of excitement as you never know what marine creatures you might stumble across. This sense of excitement is what keeps me motivated as I want to be there in the water with my camera ready to capture that special split-second moment when it occurs.

Are you a bathroom singer?

Not much of a bathroom singer I am more of dance around the house in my undies kind of guy.

Do you have any advice for young aspiring photographers?

My best advice is to go for it and pick up a camera and shoot at every possible opportunity you get, as you never know when that special split moment might occur and you want to be there with your camera in hand, ready to capture it.

Photograph something that you are passionate about and develop a style of photography that reflects your creativity as an individual. Don’t be afraid to experiment or try something different as there are no rights or wrongs with photography so you can get as creative as you like.

What are your goals for the future, regarding your work?

My main goals for the future is to keep evolving the way I shoot in the water and to try to create unique images of the marine world as I see it through the lens of my camera. I intend to do a lot more travelling to some less travelled to locations to try and capture something different.

The main goal I am working towards is to be able to one day call myself a full time underwater photographer.

Jordan Robbins2 Comments