Mitchell Franzi is a photographer who has inspired us with his beautiful landscape photos of the Coffs Coast and beyond. His passion for Mother Nature is evident in each photograph. He also shoots a variety of different subjects and styles, and he is clearly someone who will always continue to learn and develop his skills, making him one to watch.
Hey Mitchell; what brought you to the Coffs Coast?
I was born in Cairns, Queensland. I moved to the Coffs Coast with my family when I was at the ripe age of five. I have now been here for about 20 years, and I absolutely love it.
Where did your journey behind the lens start?
My journey began during an apprenticeship at Giant Media in Coffs Harbour, studying graphic design and pre-press, which had a photography module within it. Although most of it was theory, it was intriguing to learn how cameras work and what you can create with them. This tiny little module within a four year course had me hooked. Almost immediately after this, I got my first camera, which was a Canon 650D. After two years of discovering what I loved to shoot, which was mainly landscapes, I upgraded to a Canon 70D, and I have just recently upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark IV. Also, around one and a half years ago I purchased my first drone (DJI Mavic Pro – a great beginner drone) thinking it would just be a gimmick and nothing would come of it, but it’s turned out to be a vital part of my journey and business. About 50% of my work is now using the drone. Taking photos from multiple different angles is now a crucial process to almost every shoot I take part, in which wouldn’t be possible without it.
What makes the Coffs Coast and surrounding areas such a hotspot for landscape photography?
The Coffs Coast is most definitely a hotspot, with all of the pristine beaches, never-ending landscapes to discover in the west, and with everything within a 10 – 30 minute drive of home – the possibilities are endless. The trick is to not get caught up on the same location; keep things mysterious, discover new things, new people and new skills.
What have been some of the biggest learning curves for you when it comes to photography, and what challenges did you face when learning the art of photography?
The biggest challenge for me in photography has been moving out of my comfort zone; for example, for the first couple of years in my journey I would limit myself to only taking landscape photos. I have since expanded into many different genres and styles of shooting. I have ventured into real estate, portraits, commercial/industrial, food and slightly touched on weddings/events.
One big learning curve within each style of work has been lighting. From speed lights and bulb flashes all the way up to studio strobe lights, each has its own purpose, and what you can create with them comes down to how creative you can be as a photographer.
You have quite a variety in what you shoot. How do you ensure you are prepared for the different styles of work?
The main thing is to keep all gear on you or keep it accessible at all times; you never know when you may need it. You need to be organised and keep a schedule of what work needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. Google Calendar is a life saver; set reminders, show up early or on time to jobs, and keep a clear and creative mind ready for when you need it.
What is your favourite subject to work with?
My favourite subject to work with is undoubtedly Mother Nature. No matter what it throws at you, you just keep coming back for more. I love shooting at all times of the day, but mainly at sunrise, with the pinks and yellows shining over the ocean straight into the lens. I haven’t got a favourite location around the Coffs Coast to shoot, as they are all amazing, although Red Rock is definitely a stand out with all of the colours and textures on offer.
Photography is so much deeper than some people may think. How much time goes into the post and pre production of a shot?
I see post production as the major part to completing an image. When shooting landscapes, sometimes the image that comes straight from the camera is great as is; spending a good 10 minutes on that same image may be the difference between only selling the image once, when it could’ve been sold 50 times. With real estate it may take up to 15 minutes just to edit one image, when lighting is not on your side – that’s when things can take time. For example, you’re in a level 10 studio apartment with ocean views, but when you take a photo it’s either too dark inside or too bright outside. What you can do in the post production stage is blend lighter images with the darker images and then you are left with one final image, neither too dark nor too light, just right.
How would you describe your ideal shoot?
My ideal shoot would be to travel around the world shooting for a travel company (or any company, really) showing what different places have to offer. Although it’s a long shot, it may happen one day. Never say never, right?
What is your advice for the emerging photographers out there?
My advice for anyone emerging into photography is to travel to as many places as possible, learn from as many people as possible, always take advice if it’s given to you and experiment. How I learned was almost all from experimentation; if you have the equipment, experiment with it, try different styles but once you find a style you like, don’t get stuck on it. Keep pushing yourself to try new things, and that’s what will make you a great photographer.
Where can people see more of your work?
I have my own website at franziphotography.com.au where you can purchase prints from around the Coffs Coast, or you can find me on Instagram at @mitchfranzi (landscapes) and