The Collection

Respect the Shooter

Today I'm thrilled to present another extremely talented artist. This featured artist is Tim Kainu, a photographer out of Michigan. But Tim's not just a photographer, he also runs his highly acclaimed photography website where he provides photography-related tips, reviews, and even host contests. Read his interview below.

(All images contained in this article belong to Tim Kainu)
James Elliott: As far as photography is concerned, how did your story begin?

Tim Kainu: It began when I bought the first digital camera back when I was 16 I think. It was a Nikon Coolpix 4300. I even remember the first photo I took. It was a photo of a yellow flower from my back yard. I was hooked on taking pictures. Especially since people really liked the photos I took back then. But I was never serious about photography until about two and a half years ago when I bought my first DSLR. A Nikon D50. That’s when I was REALLY hooked. I was simply astonished by the image quality! I wanted to see how the camera handled every different light I could throw at it. I simply loved using it. 

JE: Where’s home?

TK: Home for me right now is a little town called Berkley in southeast Michigan. I grew up in Florida for about ten years before moving to Michigan. Going from year-round warm weather to year-round cold weather kind of stinks. I want my warm weather back!

JE: Your website goes far beyond just a personal portfolio, what was your inspiration for such an expansive site?

Before I was into photography, I was into creating small websites for my church and friends. I’ve always loved web design. I would always search the web for great websites that looked cool. I love good design, though I’m not great at it myself. So when I got into photography, and as I started getting more popular as a photographer, I figured creating my own website would be worth all the time, money and hassle. 

JE: Who are some of your favorite artists, photographers or otherwise?

TK: Three come to mind right away: Joshua Hoffine, Dave Hill and Peter Lik. Those three photographers are my favorite by far. Dave Hill was the first photographer who really inspired me. I love his style.

JE: Nikon or Canon?

TK: I shoot with Nikon because of their ergonomics. I like the way their cameras feel when I’m out shooting. But I love both Canon and Nikon, actually. I’m not biased towards either. Canon has some great cameras, such as my dream camera, the 5D Mark II. I’d have gone with that if I was starting from scratch today!

JE: Do you have a favorite subject to photograph?

TK: Landscapes. Definitely landscapes. On the few trips I went on, looking and searching for stunning light that sculpts the land was so cool. I love surreal looking landscapes taken with wide-angle lenses. Gives the photo a certain “depth” to it.

JE: Any 2012 resolutions?

TK: Take more pics.

JE: What do you do when you’re not running your site or out shooting?

TK: I play a lot (well, used to) of video games. Mainly FPS, such as the Call of Duty series and the Battlefield series. Right now I’m into playing Battlefield 3 for the Xbox 360.

JE: Favorite Film, go!

TK: One of my favorites is The Dark Knight. Stunning visuals in that movie and awesome style. War of the Worlds is sweet because of the visuals, and the new Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was awe-inspiring when watching it at an IMAX theater.

JE: What does your usual workflow look like?

TK: After taking the photos in RAW format, I use Lightroom for the bulk of my editing. Once the photos are imported into Lightroom, I usually adjust the basics first, such as exposure, white balance and contrast. Once I get the basic exposure down, I will sometimes use the adjustment brush to “dodge and burn” the photo where necessary. The adjustment brush is my friend. Then I move onto color. I usually change the hue in all my photos to give it my own style. I like color that is a little more “surreal”. Then I sharpen the photo within Lightroom and export it as a jpeg. I’ll only bring the image into Photoshop if I’m doing some crazy masking or photo composite.

JE: Three words to describe your style.

TK: Modern, trendy & different.

JE: If not a photographer you would have been?

TK: Web designer. Or a 3d artist. Or a graphic designer. Kind of funny how they’re all in the same creative field :P

JE: Favorite photograph that you’ve taken.

TK: “Red Light” because it was actually taken through the window of my car while stopped at a red light! It was one of those photographic moments I’ll never forget. The image was also published on, which got me super stoked because I love 1X
"Red Light" captured by Tim Kainu
JE: Final question, where do you hope to be in 5 years?

TK: Hopefully I’ll be doing my dream job, which is traveling around the world taking photos of some of the most beautiful places on earth. I can only dream ;)

It was a great pleasure to interview Tim. I highly recommend you check out more of his work and website. To do so visit his website at

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